GREENWICH, Conn. – The weather has been fine, but for Greenwich Audubon and its many fans, this weekend is strictly for the birds.
Greenwich Audubon’s HawkWatch Festival & Green Bazaar at Audubon headquarters on Riversville Road is all about keeping an eye on raptors to help ensure the survival of all the species.
The festival features live bird events, music, exotic animals and more.
The event is being held in conjunction with Audubon’s observatory program, which is being conducted to count hawks and other raptors as they head south. “We want to help people become aware of the migration of the species and understand the factors for their health and habitat and what they need to survive,” said Karen Dixon, the Greenwich Audubon center director.
Luke Tiller, a member of the center’s staff who is working with the Raptor Monitoring Project, said the center has spotted 17,000 broad-winged hawks, osprey, eagles and other raptors so far and will continue monitoring their migration through Nov. 20.
A group of bird watchers gathered to assist the center in its count. Betty O’Leary from Leominster, Mass., said the windy weather Saturday would keep the birds lower and easier to spot.
Counting the migratory birds is important because, “If you start to see the numbers decline, you know there’s a problem. When falcons and bald eagle counts dropped it was tracked to DDT,” she said.
The count led to a reintroduction program for peregrine falcons that restored the population, Tiller said.
The HawkWatch Festival also features Jungle Jim Bigham’s Exotic Animal show. Bigham allowed children to hold his nine-foot Burmese python, which wrapped gently around their necks. “It won’t bite because it knows you’re not a rat,” he said.
Music came from guitarist and singer Nick Marino, who found a song about a hawk he was eager to perform.
The festival continues Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ticket prices are $7 for Audubon members and $10 for nonmembers.