WILDLIFE WATCHING -- Organizers have assembled a collection of field trips and speakers while nature is supplying the wildlife for the 16th annual Othello Sandhill Crane Festival. Sign up in advance on the website; many activities fill quickly.
Events kick off Friday (April 5) with boat tours on Potholes Reservoir and a “biking for cranes” tour.
- Dr. Richard Johnson, an ornithologist from WSU, is the featured speaker on Friday night.
Saturday’s events include tours of burrowing owl/ground squirrel habitat, tours that feature geology shaped by prehistoric flooding, tours of prime crane viewing locations, and dozens of lectures at Othello High School. Lecture topics this year will cover everything from crane biology to wildlife photography.
- Idie Ulsh, master birder and former president of Seattle Audbon, will be the banquet speaker on Saturday night during the silent auction.
Vendors, children’s activities, and the opportunity to view raptors up close and in person will be also available throughout the day on Saturday. More tours will be available on Sunday.
The Othello farming community plays a central role in supporting crane migration each year. Cranes and other migrating birds feast on corn and grain left over from last year’s harvest, and some fields are left open through the migration season to allow birds the chance to rest during their travels.