irds of every size, shape and color were featured at the annual Wings Over Weston children’s birding festival Saturday at Weston Bend State Park.
In addition to its focus on wildlife habitat and celebrating migratory and non-migratory birds, Wings Over Weston makes family-friendly activities a priority too. This year, bird experts from federal, state, and local agencies discussed how their proactive management of land helps benefit many migratory bird species.
Even the Department of Defense, the third largest land owner in the U.S., has changed the way it manages its natural resources to benefit bird species throughout the Western Hemisphere. In many cases, just simply monitoring the ecosystem and minimizing its negative impact on the avian population will help combat the dwindling migratory bird populations.
A local resource manager said a 300-year-old forest, located on Fort Leavenworth, truly supports the migratory birds found in Weston Bend State Park.
Birds, experts said, depend on this vast stretch of military land for nesting, breeding and feeding. Even Lewis and Clark wrote about the old forest during their journey up the Missouri River.
The public can request limited access to Fort Leavenworth and other military lands for bird watching or additional purposes.
In additional to the countless educational booths, Wings Over Weston featured many hands-on craft projects such as build your own bird house and bird feeder.
After spraying down with a little tick repellent and learning the basics of using binoculars, families took a guided birding hike near Bee Creek Shelter. Many participants were on the lookout for indigo buntings, hummingbirds and small warbler varieties.
Hundreds of attendees were eager to see the large birds of prey brought from the Lakeside Nature Center. Bird experts said turkey vultures are known to gorge themselves so much they won’t be able to fly. If a predator attempts to attack the vulture in its condition, it will throw up on the animal to fly away.