Registration is now open for the 15th Annual Birding & Blues Festival, which will return to Pacific City in April.

Running from Friday, April 17, to Sunday, April 19, the festival aims to share the natural beauty and wildlife of the area while offering education and entertainment for visitors and the local community.

The three-day festival kicks off with two all-day birding excursions including the Three Capes Scenic Route and the Bay-to Bay Tour, offering views of the Pacific Ocean, bays, headlands, forests, rivers and pastures — each a unique birding habitat.

The opening day will also see free community events on offer at the Kiawanda Community Center, including a children’s art activity, live birds of prey exhibit and a show by entertainer and amateur ornithologist Tony Starlight.

This year’s keynote speaker is Janet Essley, a painter, muralist and teaching artist with more than 20 years of experience creating collaborative murals. Essley’s presentation will focus on the Red Knot, a large sandpiper that migrates to the Oregon Coast. The slideshow presentation explores the amazing natural history of these long-distance migratory shorebirds, spiced up with stories from human cultures around the world.

On Saturday evening, festival guests can boogie down as the Kiawanda Community Center hosts a live blues show from Billy D and the Hoodoos.

Throughout the weekend, additional presentations will cover topics including Oregon’s rare Humboldt marten, “Orcas, Wolves of the Sea;” and “Shorebirds: the elegant travelers.” This year’s field trip locations include Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Hawk Creek in Neskowin. Guests can also visit with local artists, take guided paddle trips and tour the Nestucca Rivers by dory boat, weather permitting.

For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.birdingandblues.org.

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