Morro Bay awaits swarm of birders

Hundreds of people are expected at the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival and ecotourism event, which will take place Jan. 15 to 18.

More than 100 events are planned, including some 80 birding field and boat trips as far away as the Carrizo Plain, as well as workshops and presentations. Organizers say that more than 200 species of birds are typically sighted during the weekend.

The festival is an opportunity for nature lovers to learn more about birds and how to identify and photograph them. Morro Bay Mayor Janice Peters coordinates the event, which is sponsored by the Morro Coast Audubon Society.

Keynote speakers are photographer Rosalie Winard, who will show black-and-white photographs of wetlands birds, and Cal Poly biology professor Lars Tomanek, who will discuss climate change and its effect on birds and people.

Morro Bay is located along the Pacific Flyway and is considered a globally important bird area with multiple habitats, which are home to thousands of birds.

This year marks the 14th time the event has been held. Last year, 500 people attended the festival. The farthest traveling attendee came from Bar Harbor, Maine.

Reach David Sneed at 781-7930.