FARMINGTON The white-faced ibis, one of many migratory birds that frequent the Great Salt Lake, is the spotlight bird at the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival this year.
The festival, now in its 10th year, features guided field trips to birding hot spots in northern Utah. It kicks off May 15 and runs through May 19.
Some field trips include behind-the-gates tours to places the public doesn't normally get to visit.
Registration for those field trips begins March 4 at 9 a.m., and there are 63 to choose from.
Attendance at the festival's youth activities is free, but tours and field trips range from $10 to $85.
To receive a program booklet in the mail, contact Neka Roundy at 801-451-3286.
The festival also includes booths, vendors, food, art, and youth programs on May 16 from noon to 7 p.m. and on May 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Davis County Events Center, 151 S. 1100 West in Farmington. The May 17 youth programs include make-and-take bird houses sponsored by the Centerville Home Depot, crafts, displays and Scout badge information.
Each year, the festival showcases a keynote speaker and special guest. The 2008 keynote speaker is Bruce Thompson, director of education for Utah's Tracy Aviary. Author-photographer Rosalie Winard is this year's special guest and will talk about her newly released book, "Wild Birds of the American Wetlands."
Roundy said the bird festival hasn't always been this big or busy.
When it started 10 years ago, the festival was a two-day event with eight field trips. But since then, it has grown to a larger event with about 3,500 attendees who come from all over Utah and 19 other states.
In 2007, some attendees came from Mexico, Roundy said, adding that she helped Mexican officials start their own similar bird festival, now in its fourth year, in San Blas, Nayarit.
The Great Salt Lake Bird Festival belongs to a tri-national effort through Linking Communities, a conservation organization formed by the United States, Canada and Mexico to protect important shorebird migration routes.For more information, see the festival's Web site, www.greatsaltlakebirdfest.com.
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