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Saturday is for the birds at Tualatin River Bird Festival

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The annual event is held at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge off Highway 99W. Parking for the festival is off-site in west Tualatin.

COURTESY PHOTO - Great blue herons are among the most easily recognizable birds that feed and nest at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.Bird-lovers, rejoice: It's that time of year again.

The Tualatin River Bird Festival returns for its 21st year Saturday, May 20. Families and individual avian enthusiasts alike are encouraged to come celebrate wildlife and wild places at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, located between Sherwood and Tualatin, and spend the day outdoors at the free and family-friendly event.

Early birds can start the day with one of several bird walks beginning at 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. It's an opportunity to listen to the "dawn chorus" on the refuge and learn to identify birds by sight and sound with experienced birders.

Family activities start at 10 a.m. and will include hands-on educational arts and crafts to help children learn about nature — build a bird and butterfly house for the backyard or paint a duck decoy.

Visitors can learn to catch a fish, try their hand at archery, practice shooting a BB gun or play migratory fish putt-putt golf.

The always-popular Audubon Education Birds will be featured with a live show at noon, and Conestoga wagon rides around the refuge will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check out the conservation exhibits presented by local environmental groups and browse in the refuge's nature store.

Festival parking is available at the office building at 12205 S.W. Tualatin Rd., at the corner of 124th Avenue and Highway 99W. Free shuttle buses will provide transportation to the refuge starting at 5 a.m. until 5 p.m. There will be no onsite parking at the refuge.

For complete information on this event including start time for bird walks, visit the festival's website or call 503-625-5944, ext. 227.

The Tualatin River Bird Festival is sponsored by the Friends of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in partnership with the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.