Wild Tahoe Weekend at Taylor Creek Visitor Center | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Wild Tahoe Weekend at Taylor Creek Visitor Center

Tom Lotshaw
The western tanager is one of many migratory birds visiting Lake Tahoe this time of year.
Photo courtesy of T. Will Richardson |

A Wild Tahoe Weekend comes to Taylor Creek Visitor Center this weekend, with the fifth annual Lake Tahoe Bird Festival on Saturday, June 7 and the fourth annual Native Species Festival on Sunday, June 8.

“There’s all kinds of stuff going on,” said T. Will Richardson, co-director and co-founder of Tahoe Institute for Natural Science, which helps organize the events. “The two are a little different in feel and nature, but both are fun for the whole family, very kid-friendly, but also very informative.”

TINS launched the Lake Tahoe Bird Festival as part of International Migratory Bird Day.

All sorts of migratory birds can be spotted around Lake Tahoe this time of year, including western tanagers, warblers, vireos, flycatchers, hummingbirds and the flammulated owl, a tiny owl that summers at Tahoe and winters in Central America and is named for its distinctive flame-like markings.

“They’re only here four months, maybe five months out of the year, but they’re back,” Richardson said about the migratory birds that travel thousands of miles each year to and from Lake Tahoe.

People will be able to see such birds on guided hikes along the Rainbow Trail throughout the day. Earlier morning hikes at 8 a.m. are scheduled for Spooner Lake and Blackwood Canyon, but people must pre-register for those with TINS.

Other festival events include crafts and games for children, a bird art contest, opportunities to make bird boxes and discussions about the challenges and hazards migrating birds face, how to landscape for birds and optics for bird watching.

Master Falconer Marie Gaspari Crawford is bringing an assortment of live birds of prey for presentations at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. “So people get to see the birds up close. That’s always a highlight and definitely a crowd favorite,” Richardson said.

The Lake Tahoe Bird Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The Native Species Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The event includes walks led by field professionals and local students to help people learn more about native species of plants such as Tahoe yellow cress and quaking aspen and a variety of local wildlife.

A local band, Fugitive Roots, will play live music. The festival will have 14 educational booths set up as well as a large fish tank holding Lahontan cutthroat trout. Vendors will offer hot dogs, snacks and ice cream.

The events are made by possible by numerous partners including TINS, U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, California Conservation Corps, Camp Richardson Resort, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, Sugar Pine Foundation, Sierra Wildlife Coalition, League to Save Lake Tahoe, Nor Cal Bats, Tahoe Native Plant Society, Tahoe Environmental Research Center, Lake Tahoe Unified School District and Tahoe Expedition Academy.

Taylor Creek Visitor Center is located three miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89.

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