Yakima River Canyon Bird Fest 

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KEEN's flagship event, Get Intimate with the Shrub-Steppe (GISS), runs concurrently with Bird Fest. When the birds are being coy or your arms are getting tired from holding up the binoculars, you can attend any of the free field trips offered by experts! Find out more here and visit the GISS booths in the Umtanum Creek Recreation Area parking lot from 9am to 1pm on Saturday May 12.

Come bird with KEEN for 3-days during the second weekend of May and discover the natural beauty of Central Washington State! The Yakima River Canyon is an Audubon Important Bird Area (IBA) with some of the highest densities of passerines
and birds of prey in the State.

The Yakima River Canyon Bird Fest offers expert-led field trips, vendors, extended field trips, keynote speaker, social events, and a plethora of bird watching during early spring!

Yakima River Canyon Bird Fest will be a family-friendly event targeting birders throughout the Pacific Northwest and from around the world. This festival in May is the best time to see colorful, diverse and rare bird species in the Canyon.

Yakima River Canyon Bird Fest will feature Friday afternoon registration at festival headquarters based in Helen McCabe Park. Most attendees will stay overnight in hotel rooms, camp in the Canyon, or stay at the Yakima River RV Camp. Grab your lodging early! Follow the link to the left.

Friday evening activities include owl hooting and music and drinks at a local venue in Ellensburg. Saturday morning will begin with very early field trips, and activities will continue throughout the day capping off the evening with our keynote speaker. Complementary Get Intimate with the Shrub-Steppe (another KEEN event) activities occur on Saturday as well. Sunday morning will have more early morning field trips and the festival will wrap up at noon on

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Bird Fest Program 2020 -
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Thank You to Our Sponsors!

Ornithological Summary

The extensive cliffs, shrub-steppe, and riparian cottonwood forests provide a rich mixture of habitats. Particularly important are the immense basalt cliffs and talus slopes interspersed with shrub-steppe vegetation, which support a diverse assemblage of birds associated with this habitat, including White-throated Swift, Cliff Swallow, Rock Wren, Canyon Wren, and 21 species of raptors. Ten of these raptor species breed in and around the canyon, including two pairs of Golden Eagles and five pairs of Prairie Falcons. The cliffs and shrub-steppe habitat also support dense populations of Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrels, and Great-horned Owls. Up to 20 Bald Eagles winter along the river, subsisting primarily on whitefish. The riparian habitats along the river and its tributaries support a high diversity and abundance of songbirds.

Mailing Address

414 South Willow Street

Ellensburg, WA 98926 


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