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Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival

2016 Special Festival Events


Friday, January 15         5:00-6:30 p.m.        Community Center

Evening ReceptionEnjoy wine and cheese and meet fellow birders in the Bird Festival Bazaar area. Browse through the vendor booths featuring binoculars and scopes, books and CDs, garden art, watercolors and nature photography, wood carvings, jewelry, clothing and more!



Saturday, January 16    7:00-8:30 P.M.        Morro Bay High School


Scott Weidensaul with HawkThis year, we were thrilled to have naturalist Scott Weidensaul for a lighthearted exploration of his many avian research projects, from banding hawks and tiny saw-whet owls to studying the migration of western hummingbirds that aren't supposed to be in the East in December (but are), and the biggest snowy owl invasion in a century. Best of all, learn how anyone with some enthusiasm and time can make important contributions to the science and conservation of birds, and have a great time doing it.

Scott Weidensaul is the author of more than two dozen books on natural history, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist Living on the Wind, about bird migration, Return to Wild America: A Yearlong Search for the Continent's Natural Soul, and Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding. His newest book, The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery and Endurance in Early America, was published in 2012.  Weidensaul is a contributing editor for Audubon magazine and writes for a variety of other publications; he lives in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania, where he studies the migration of hawks, owls and hummingbirds.


Sunday, January 17        7:00-8:30 P.M.       Morro Bay High School


Artist Shawneen FinneganFor 2015, we had our first ever Festival artist.

Her talk was about those reports of rare birds make birders do crazy things. Finding a rare life bird is even more intoxicating.  Join Shawneen Finnegan as she shares tales that include her own discovery of a Yellow-nosed Albatross that flew past her as she was driving up the Garden State Parkway. The bird and Shawneen were instant celebrities on ABC's World News Tonight. Who but a birder would take a vacation that included planned visits to dumps and sewage ponds hundreds if not thousands of miles from home? If a bird is rare enough, it suddenly becomes reasonable to make a 1500-mile round trip in a weekend just to see a single bird. 

Shawneen will have you scratching your head and laughing aloud as she recounts more than three decades of bearing witness to insane birding adventures.  Shawneen is a tour leader and has been a keynote speaker at other bird festivals.  She has the honor of being the MBWBF's first "Festival Artist."  Her watercolors and scratchboard illustrations have appeared in magazines, ads, identification videos, and numerous books and magazine articles.  To see samples of her work, visit

"FUN FOR THE FAMILY" DAY:  Birding and More

Saturday, January 16    9:00 A.M.-3:30 P.M.   Come back next fall to see the Family Day page for more information.