Advanced registration for the 10th annual International Festival of Owls, to be held March 2-4 in Houston, MN, is now open. Several events are expected to sell out and prices will increase after February 26, so be sure to register soon.
Most activities at the Festival only require the purchase of an admission button at the door when you arrive, or before the Festival at select Houston businesses. The following events are the only ones that require advanced registration.
The Friday evening Cub Scout program includes owl-related activities to satisfy the requirements for the Wildlife Conservation Belt Loop, which has an owl on it. The registration does not include the belt loop itself.
The Saturday night banquet will feature keynote speaker Denver Holt, founder and president of the Owl Research Institute in Missoula, Montana. His presentation will be about his two decades of work studying Snowy Owls in Alaska, and will also address this year’s Snowy Owl irruption.
The World Owl Hall of Fame awards will also be presented at the banquet, and all winners plan to attend. This includes Denver Holt himself, Prof. Dr. Michael Wink from Germany, Carlos and Donna Royal who hosted the Molly and McGee Barn Owl cam from California, and Tracy Eccles who hosts the Spotted Eagle Owl cam in South Africa.
The Sunday morning outdoor photography session is so popular it may already be sold out by the time you read this. But the owl photography contest is open to all amateur photographers as long as entries are submitted by February 15.
The Birding and Natural History Bus Trip should be extra special this year, with very good chances for seeing a nesting Great Horned Owl and hopefully a Snowy Owl or two if they’re still around. The trip concludes with a delicious lunch at Through the Grapevine German Restaurant, which is included in the price.
The Snowy Owl Safe Families Expedition is a new event designed to get you outside on the Root River Trail. It is an untimed event, put on by Bluff Country Family Resources, which allows you to go different distances on the trail by foot, bike, skis, snowshoes, or other methods depending on the weather. Register separately for this event, but find the link on the Festival website. And yes, you get a shirt!
For more information or to register visit the Festival website at www.festivalofowls.com or contact the Houston Nature Center at 507-896-HOOT (4668).
Karla Bloem, Director/Naturalist, Houston Nature Center