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Puget Sound Bird Fest will offer field activities with limited groups

17th annual keynote presentation will have rare look at a rare bird


Last updated 6/16/2021 at 12:55pm

Photo courtesy of Puget Sound Bird Fest

The Common Murre is a member of the auk family.

Edmonds' Puget Sound Bird Fest planning committee reports that, due to uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor activities such as presentations and workshops may be delivered online, while field activities will be offered in person with limited group sizes.  

The 17th annual Puget Sound Bird Fest is Sept. 11-12. All events were online last year. The Bird Fest website will be updated as the festival schedule develops.

Award-winning author Maria Mudd Ruth has been selected as the 2021 keynote presenter.

Her presentation, "The Not-so Awkward Auks," is 10 a.m. Saturday. Presentations and activities will follow throughout the weekend. 

The Salish Sea is home to a fascinating family of diving seabirds known as auks, or alcids. Though often described as "awkward" or "clumsy" in field guides, these web-footed birds are amazingly well adapted to life in the air, on land, and especially at sea. 

Ruth will talk about two of her favorite auks – the shy, cryptic, secretive, tree-nesting Marbled Murrelet and its clownish, extroverted, burrow-nesting cousin, the Pigeon Guillemot.  

"Auks are an exciting family of birds and there are a surprising number of them, including puffins, that can be found in the Salish Sea," said Jennifer Leach, coordinator of the annual event for the City of Edmonds.

Maria Mudd Ruth

Ruth is the author of more than a dozen books on natural history topics for children and adults, including "Rare Bird: Pursuing the Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet," a narrative natural history of an endearing and endangered seabird.

Her most recent book of nonfiction, "A Sideways Look at Clouds," was awarded the Nautilus Silver Medal in 2017.  

Other weekend activities include presentations throughout the day on Saturday and traditional favorites such as the Kid's Corner and the People's Choice Photography Contest.

Guided tours of local birding hotspots will be offered throughout the weekend by the Pilchuck Audubon Society, which also plans to host a native plant sale.  

"Auks of Puget Sound" is the theme of this year's poster Art Contest, and artists are reminded to submit entries of original artwork through June 25. 

Info: visit


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