Poor ostriches. They can’t migrate to warmer climates like their lighter, more aerodynamic cousins. Perhaps they could run if they had to, and it doesn’t really get too cold where they live, but that doesn’t change the fact that they don’t wing their way through local skies, meaning you probably won’t see any at the annual Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival.
The celebration of all things avian (or at least all things avian that can actually achieve liftoff and make it to the Central Coast) is set for Jan. 18 to 21.
You can register online now to join the almost 500 birders who flock—ha!—to the area to find head-turning terns, to geek out over grebes, to peer at peregrines, and to look at larks. Assuming those birds actually show up. From common species to rare visitors, the sky is literally the limit.
Keynote speaker Alvaro Jaramillo will talk on Saturday evening at Morro Bay High School, using his “Birding Outside the Box: How Our Brain Identifies Birds” lecture to explain how anyone can train his or her brain to make “fast, accurate bird identifications,” just like the experts do.
Local bird photographer Dave Keeling will speak on Saturday night. “Enjoy the program as an ID challenge,” promotional materials say, “or simply sit back and experience the best birding the area offers.”
The Martin Luther King Jr. weekend typically marks the spotting of more than 200 species in Morro Bay, known as a Globally Important Bird Area.
Festival headquarters are at the Morro Bay Community Center, 1001 Kennedy Way. A bazaar on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday is free and open to the public (except during the Friday, 5 to 7 p.m., opening reception).
For more information about weekend events, field trips, or to register, visit morrobaybirdfestival.org. Call 1-866-464-5105.