Birds and wildflowers: Free tours at Silver Falls State Park festival

May 2016 Posted in Community

Spring is here and the birds and wildflowers are ready for the 38th annual Birding and Wildflower Festival at Silver Falls State Park.

This year the festival is Saturday only, May 7, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the South Falls Historic District.

Visitors can enjoy guided wildflower walks, ranging from a ½-mile walk to a more intensive two-mile, two-hour  “Walk through the Mist Zone.”  No pets are allowed on these walks.

Birders will have the opportunity to tag along with Stephen Shunk, owner of Paradise Birding & Tour Co., who will be leading the bird tours. Highlights include a family walk, a popular  “early bird” walk, a serene afternoon birding walk, and a 7 p.m. evening presentation at the Old Ranch. Tours and presentations are free. 

Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center will host a Raptor Meet-and-Greet in the historic CCC Combination Building in the afternoon as swell as having other rehabilitated animals  on hand.

Native wildflowers of the area will be on display in the South Falls Lodge. Native plants will be for sale starting at 10 a.m. on the lawn next to the Nature Store (Log Cabin). Local experts will be available to provide help and recommendations. The plant sale runs until 4 p.m.

The variety at the festival is part of  its draw. Families can enjoy walks, lessons, and crafts on a wide range of nature topics. Visitors can create springtime crafts or, for the cost of materials ($5), assemble a bird-nesting box with the Salem Audubon Society on the front porch of the Lodge.

Bird and wildflower sketching classes will be offered this year on the hour by professional illustrator Christine Elder in the Lodge Courtyard Theater starting at noon. 

The day ends with a free live owl presentation “Feathered Hunters, Flying Mothers:  Oregon’s Birds of Prey,” by Susan LaFontaine of the Santiam branch of the Oregon Raptor Center.

Silver Falls State Park is located on OR-214 S about 16 miles southeast of Silverton.

For a detailed event schedule, visit Silver Falls’ blog under “Events/Mother’s Day Birding and Wildflower Festival” at For more information, call 503- 874-0201 or e-mail

A day-use parking permit is required to park at Silver Falls; visitors can purchase a one-day permit for $5 or an annual permit for $30.

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