Things are starting to pick up for the 2018 Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival. Shorebird articles in the newspaper are coming out hot off the presses. Organizers are placing finishing touches on registration and events. Presenters are practicing their rhetoric and making sure their presentations are in tip-top shape. Visitors are eyeing their calendars and penciling in events. With the first day of the festival only a few weeks away (May 3rd), we wanted locals from Cordova to get excited for the Shorebird Festival. After all, the event is a celebration of shorebirds stopping in the area before heading up to their breeding grounds. One of the shorebird’s spectacular displays is the Shorebird Aurora, which is a term coined here to describe the undulating flights of thousands of shorebirds in unison. One reason that they do this is to confuse aerial predators such as Peregrine Falcons. It’s still mesmerizing in its own way. The waves formed reminded us of the “shore-ora birdealis” (actually aurora borealis but we wanted to make it pun-ey).

At any rate, the Shorebird Festival also celebrates birds and their conservation through speakers and the arts. We wanted to share this celebratory spirit with the public. One easy way to do so is through shorebird window painting. Simply put, we have begun painting shorebirds on windows of local businesses and offices. So far, painting has been a lot of fun. I do not have an extensive background with painting, but I do appreciate the craft and work put into creating a masterpiece. When painting windows there a few things you have to keep in mind, since it’s a differing media. I certainly had to learn these tricks along the way. Windows are smooth, so when applying paint make sure it is thick enough or the paint will just run down the window. Since you want to paint on the inside, you have to paint in layers in reverse so you can see the details on the outside. That is, you want to paint the outline and details first before applying the base coat. In addition, give yourself more credit when you’re finished; the birds may look blotchy on the inside but look wonderful on the outside.

After a while I became accustomed to this method and I have liked the results so far. My coworkers and I have had a lot of fun and it was really nice to have the opportunity to tap into my artistic side. The first place we painted shorebirds was the Chamber of Commerce. Next we will visit businesses and offices that showed an interest in having painted shorebirds. Perhaps upon other businesses seeing our wonderful creations, they will request them as well. Hopefully our passion and commitment to creating these shorebirds will be relayed to the public as well, and they will get excited for the Shorebird Festival. Surely, I am already excited for it and for the shorebird flocks to arrive!

Here are some examples of the cute shorebirds that we made:

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