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Snow Goose & Birding Festival


Welcome to the 2019 Stanwood-Camano Snow Goose & Birding Festival which will be held on February 23rd & 24th. Come see why the shores and waters of Puget Sound surrounding our community are internationally recognized as crucial habitat for countless birds of sea, shore and land.

Tours and guides will help you experience one of Western Washington’s most spectacular natural events – the annual winter gathering of thousands of Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swans. In addition we have flocks of wintering seabirds and shorebirds along with many raptors that call Stanwood and Camano home.

Festival headquarters is the Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center in Stanwood, WA.  Festival Hours:  Saturday 9-4:30, Sunday 10-4.  Space is limited for bus tours, see registration below.

Program & Speaker Schedule

Shorebird I.D. Class

Sat. 2/23 9:00-10:30 Location: Masonic Hall (across from the Floyd)

Free – No Registration Required.

Gary Slater, Avian Ecologist for the Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) and Ruth Milner, District Wildlife Biologist from WDFW will again welcome those Festival goers who are looking to gain skill in identifying common shorebirds found in the North Puget Sound.  Participate in a fun-filled presentation where the biologists will give pointers on how to differentiate shorebirds based on their plumage and vocalizations, feeding ecology, habitat and morphology.

There is no field trip directly associated with this class, but you may want to consider going on one of the Field Trips to test out your new ID skills.  If you want to go on a field trip we suggest you sign up for one of the tours to ensure you have a seat on the bus.

Read More about Gary Slater & Ruth Milner

White Birds of Winter

Sat. 2/23 10:45-12:15 Location: 3rd Floor of the Floyd (Elevator Available)

Free – No Registration Required.

Martha Jordan, well-known swan biologist and Executive Director of Northwest Swan Conservation Association will present an up to date program on Washington’s native Trumpeter and Tundra swans.  You will learn about their life history and biology along with swan identification tips.  She will shed light on the problems and controversies these birds face on their wintering grounds and what is needed to insure their future.


Get updated on the swan lead poisoning die-off, habitat issues and much more.  Martha will share her excellent photos that help clarify the otherwise difficult identification of these two swan species.

Read More about Martha Jordan

Significance of the Snows: Wrangling with Changing Traditions and the Future of Snow Geese in the Pacific flyway

Sat. 2/23 1:00-2:30 Location: 3rd Floor of the Floyd (Elevator Available)

Free – No Registration Required.

Kyle Spragens the Statewide Waterfowl Coordinator for the  Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will present a program on the status of the snow geese population in the Pacific Flyway and specifically in the state of Washington.  The past quarter-century has seen Snow Geese experience tremendous and, in many cases, potentially detrimental population growth across North America. As a result, waterfowl biologists, researchers, and managers have been challenged to balance population status, societal acceptance, and conservation of Snow Geese throughout North America.  By providing a comparative perspective, this presentation strives to provide you with insights to the unique set of circumstances, changing story lines, and considerations involving in Snow Goose ecology in Washington State and will leave you with a greater appreciation for this waterfowl staple of the Fraser-Skagit Deltas.

Read More about Kyle Spragens

Live Raptors

Sat. 2/23 3:00-4:00 Location: Masonic Hall (across from the Floyd)

Free – No Registration Required.

“Sarvey Wildlife Care Center Live Raptor Educational Presentation” Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, located in Arlington, will be returning to the festival with some of their non-releasable raptors. Their center is home to several different species of birds of prey, and they provide a unique opportunity to learn more about wildlife in the Puget Sound and to see these amazing birds up close. Come learn more about their mission to rescue and rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife, and what you can do to help. 

The mission of Sarvey Wildlife Care Center is:

Dedicated to saving the lives of sick, orphaned, injured, displaced, and debilitated wild animals entrusted to our care so that they may be successfully returned to their native habitat.

To offer educational opportunities to encourage a greater appreciation of the uniqueness of each species, and the ecologic and conservation challenges they face.


Read More about Sarvey Wildlife Care Center

The Art of Photographing Birds

Sun. 2/24 11:00-12:30 Location: 3rd Floor of the Floyd (elevator available)

Free – No Registration Required for CLASS.  Registration is required for Bus Tour (see bus tour sign up below)

Karen Ulvestad, Wildlife Photographer and Author will teach about bird photography techniques through visual examples and lecture.  There will be tips for locating birds, the best camera equipment to use, and the importance of keeping a journal.  There will be much more and ample opportunity for questions.

Topics covered include: Photography Techniques and Exposure for Birds in the field, Equipment, Field Etiquette, Spotting, Tracking, and Photographing the birds, The  importance of “Telling a Story” with the photograph, Critiques of photos (focused on the positive), Ideas to improve or take one’s photography to the next level, Questions encouraged.

This program includes a field trip after the class to test out your new found skills.  A bus will be available for the first 12 people to register for the tour.  (It’s ok to carpool and follow the bus on the tour also).

Read More about Karen Ulvestad

Eagles from the Park Side

Sun. 2/24 1:00-2:30 Location: 3rd Floor of the Floyd (elevator available)

Free – No Registration Required.

Join Pat, a local Camano Island resident and story teller, as she shares Bald Eagle facts and stories using photos and videos of eagles from Camano Island State Park, Cama Beach State Park and surrounding Communities.  Pat developed an interest in our local bald eagles after moving to Camano Island in 2009 and began monitoring, photographing and sharing her experiences with the Bald Eagles of the State Parks on Camano Island in 2014.      

Read More about Pat Holmes

Birding Tips & Etiquette

Be Polite –To birds and other wildlife; to other people (other birders, other outdoor enthusiasts, neighbors) & to the environment. View Birding Tips & Etiquette HERE.

Bus Tours

Registration for Bus Tours is required but is FREE.  If you register and need to cancel your registration please follow the directions HERE.

Camano Island

The Camano bus tour is a 3 hour tour that visits several of Camano Island’s wonderful parks, including English Boom, Cama Beach and Iverson Preserve and also stop at the beautiful Camano Center.  We have Guides on the bus who will answer questions and talk about the Parks and the great variety of birds that can be spotted locally.  The diverse habitats of these parks include salt water, mudflats, marsh and beaches and you may see raptors, loons, ducks, great blue herons and many kinds of shorebirds.   You will get off the bus at each stop for a short walking tour, including a trip down to see the Cama beachfront Cabins and wonderful wildlife mounts.

Sat. 2/23 & Sunday 2/24

9:30-12:30 ; 1:00-4:00

Snow Geese 

The Snow Goose Tours are 2 hour tours that will take you out onto Fir Island to find current locations of the Snow Geese, Trumpeter and Tundra Swans.  Our Guides have been birding in this area for many years and have a lot to share about our local area and the migration and feeding habits of the birds.  The viewing on this tour is mainly from inside the bus due to the lack of safe access to the Fir Island birding areas.  Don’t be surprised to see Eagles out looking for lunch and Herons along the roadside.  

Sat. 2/23 Two Buses – 9:30-11:30; 12:00-2:00; 2:30-4:30

Sun. 2/24 Two Buses – 9:30-11:30

One Bus – 12:00-2:00; 2:30-4:30

Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy Tour is a 2 hour Tour that includes a walk on the dike along Port Susan Bay which is one of the largest undeveloped bays in Puget Sound.  This area is a saltwater nursery with marshes, mudflats and tidelands that support hundreds of thousands of birds, several species of salmon, smelt and clams.  Western sandpipers, dunlins and dowitchers swoop over the mudflats, ducks and snow geese are often gathered and hungry, hopeful raptors add to the drama.  Guides will be on hand to share about the estuary habitat restoration in progress and answer questions.  Access to this site is usually limited and by appointment only, so this is a great chance to visit the Preserve.  Please dress for this tour appropriately – it is sometimes wet and cold!

Sat. 2/23 9:30-11:30; 12:00-2:00; 2:30-4:30

Sun. 2/24 9:30-11:30; 12:00-2:00

Bird Photography

This Bird Photography Tour is a very popular tour following  “The Art of Photographing Birds” presentation with Karen Ulvestad.  Karen will serve as your Guide as you explore the local birding and test out the new techniques learned in the class.  

Sun. 2/24 1:00-3:30

Children's Activities

Saturday ONLY 2/23 11:00-4:00

2nd Floor of the Floyd (elevator available).  All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Drawing & Coloring

Live Birds


Staying Connected

Contact Us: Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center

Want to Volunteer?  Call and sign up! It’s a fun way to be involved and get to know our community members.  Contact Us. 

Send in your photos, see what others are seeing!  #snowgoosefest


Linked here are two maps for parking during the event – SATURDAY & SUNDAY.

The Stanwood Area Historical Society shares parking lots with the Stanwood United Methodist Church and the Stanwood Camano Food Bank.  

Public: On Saturday, there is parking in the back of The Floyd off of Oliver Street (102nd Dr NW) which includes a few handicap spaces.  On Sunday, there is NO PARKING in this lot prior to noon, due to church services.  Bus Tours will load in this back parking lot. There is also parking in front along Market Street (102nd Ave NW) but please be respectful of private residences.

Vendors & Sponsors: On Saturday, please park in public parking on the corner of 271st St NW & 101st Ave NW. On Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, you can also park in the parking lot on the corner of Market Street (102nd Ave NW) and 271st St NW across from the Food Bank.

Volunteers: Please park behind City Hall at 10220 270th St NW.

Thank you 2019 Sponsors

Made possible in part by assistance from the Snohomish & Island County Hotel-Motel Tax Fund.



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