April 5, 2002 - Audubon Festival

The rifles of winter are back in the gun rack, and the woods are filling with the folks who hunt birds with binoculars and cameras. The Tunica Hills are alive with the sights and sounds of spring -- and the birds.

Virginia Rettig of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service explains, "The first weekend of April is what we think of as the beginning of spring bird migration, and that is when all the birds which have been wintering in South America and Mexico start to make their way north. They hit coastal Louisiana, and they start working their way up the Mississippi River, which is exactly where we're placed."

A perfect place, a place where John J. Audubon painted a third of his bird masterpieces. "So why not have a bird festival to celebrate that?" asks Virginia, who manages the Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge north of St. Francisville.

The first ever Audubon Country Bird Fest is drawing nature lovers from across the USA into St. Francisville this weekend. "If you're new to the sport of bird watching," says Ms. Rettig, "It's a great opportunity to meet people who know a lot about birds and who can teach you what you want to learn about birds."

Bird watching expeditions will range through preserves, refuges and nature areas from Cat Island, Louisiana, to Clark Creek, Mississippi. The bird fest will include workshops on everything from bird photography to planting a bird friendly garden. For a complete schedule, visit the festival web site by clicking on the link attached to this page.