I’ve been to a couple festivals in California that were big, city-wide productions put on by big name companies and universities. Those were fun, but the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival in Cordova was really unique and inspiring to me because it was the first time I saw an entire community get involved to celebrate an incredible migration of birds that are no bigger than a ruler and a half. Like my father once said, “A lot of people make a big fuss when they see a great big eagle, but the distance that some of these little birds can travel is amazing.”
All of Cordova was buzzing with anticipation weeks before the shorebirds (and birders) came to town and it was such a sight to behold one they all arrived. Opening night of the festival features the Wetlands Ballet in which dancers, musicians and artists came together to interpret different features of the Copper River Delta into a musical production. It was intense to see the muskeg come alive to the soundtrack of bass drums and it was almost too adorable to watch toddlers do the baby swan dance.
I was still doing shorebird surveys throughout the festival but I still got a chance to participate in the festival. If anyone saw a human-sized Western Sandpiper dancing around town, it was sometimes definitely maybe me inside that outfit.
I was really excited for Tour de Peeps. The bicycle was always my form of travel and to a certain extent a form of independence in Los Angeles so I have a special fondness for bicycle events. Tour de Peeps was a bike, walk or run Orca Road to the end and along the road were stations in which different sea birds were highlighted. Although it was a rainy morning, the sun peeked out for a while and we caught sight of harlequin ducks and black oystercatchers. It was a successful event and a fun way to start the morning of the last day of the festival.