Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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April 14, 2004

Bird Festival Offers Fascinating Glimpse at Birds of Prey

MEXICO, NY -- Visitors to the Lake Ontario Bird Festival, May 1 and 2 at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Resort in Oswego County will get a close-up view of the fascinating birds of prey that migrate over the Lake Ontario shoreline every spring.

Free-flying falcons, hawks and other birds of prey will swoop over the audience as their handlers, Mark, Lorrie and Talon Skye Westman of Earlville, NY present "Talons! A Bird of Prey Experience." The Westmans promise a "high level of audience participation" as they teach how birds fly and interact with their environment, said Lorrie Westman, a master falconer.

Fans of the Conan O'Brien show, Animal Planet and National Geographic network may recognize the raptors and their handlers from Hawk Creek Wildlife Center of East Aurora.

"Our goal is to teach the importance of the ecosystem and to protect the environment," said Colden Ray, development coordinator. Hawk Creek's hawks, owls and their handlers have made several appearances on camera. They'll be at the bird festival Saturday, May 1 from noon to 3 pm.

Ellen Post of Wild Wings returns to the bird festival for both days, along with her menagerie that includes a golden eagle, great-horned owl, and red-tailed hawk.

Post will present educational programs using injured birds that are unable to survive on their own in the live bird tent Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

Other new programs at this year's festival include Karen DePitro and her wolf with a workshop on the social behavior of wolves, Native American artist Eli Thomas, and storyteller Ken Carman. Fran Verdoliva will teach a workshop on beginning flyfishing Saturday afternoon on the Little Salmon River, which flows through the park. John Rogers will help children build their own bluebird nesting box Saturday and Sunday.

Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Resort is on County Route 16, between routes 104B and 3 in the town of Mexico.

Lake Ontario Bird Festival is made possible by the generous help of the New York Power Authority, A & E Transport, Entergy Nuclear Northeast, Town of Mexico, and is hosted by Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Resort. Organizational support is provided by Oswego Harbor Festivals, Inc. and in-kind support is provided by the Oswego County Department of Promotion and Tourism.

Additional sponsorship is provided by C & B Farm Garden, Children's Board of Oswego, Constellation Energy Group - Nine Mile Point, Eastern Shore Associates, Eddie's Big M, Greater Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Hiscock and Barclay LLP, Moore's Lumber, Oswego County National Bank, Oswego County Weeklies, PathFinder Bank, Port Lodge Motel, Price Chopper Supermarkets, Pulaski Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, Redwood Motel, Stewart's Ice Cream Shops, and Tweeter's Feeders.

For information, call (315) 963-7096 or (315) 963-7657.

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