Wildbird Recovery hosts Fall Migration Festival in Valencia
Saturday, August 17, 2019 | 12:01 AM
Located on a 13-acre property just north of Richland Township in Valencia is Wildbird Recovery, which is licensed to take in abandoned and injured songbirds.
It’s a big job and a costly one for a nonprofit organization that relies completely on donations, and every September the volunteers host the Fall Migration Festival to raise money and share their passion for songbird rehabilitation with the public. This year the eighth annual festival will be held on Sunday, Sept. 22.
“We started it because we were having a hard time raising money; it’s not always an easy thing, especially when people are working full-time jobs,” said Stacey Widenhofer, a volunteer and environmental educator. “The other part of it is that (founder Beth McMaster) is 24-7, 365 days a year with these critters and she sees a lot of amazing things but there’s also a lot of heartbreak.
“I always say I love this festival because it’s the one time of year people can come and show their support for who she is and what she’s doing and what the organization does. We wanted to have a day where everyone could get together and if we raised some money, great, if not, that would be a big bummer, but we wanted to be surrounded by people who think what we’re doing is cool.”
The center takes in about 500 birds a year, Widenhofer said. McMaster started in wildbird rescue when she had to relocate a nest of barn swallows from her horse trailer. Widenhofer got involved about 20 years ago after someone brought an injured blue jay to the veterinarian’s office where she was working at the time.
The center takes in swallows, swifts, robins, mourning doves, finches and anything else that falls into the songbird category, as well as some water fowl.
“All (of the birds) are found by people locally,” Widenhofer said. “Every single bird that comes to us is from a Good Samaritan who found a critter while they were hiking, or in their yard, or who knows what, but they saw this small little thing, knew it needed help and were able to get it to us.”
It costs about $50 to rehabilitate a bird brought to the center, or more if it’s an insectivore, Widenhofer said.
“The amount of money we spend on insects to feed all the little ones, it’s thousands and thousands of dollars,” she said. “The Migration Festival is a good way to raise awareness and money so that when the busy summer months come we have money in the bank to care for what we need to care for.”
This year’s festival will feature author and conservationist Katie Fallon, a West Virginia native who will be talking about turkey vultures, as well as Roxanne Swann, of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, who’ll be talking about the importance of native plants.
Bat expert Terry Lobdell will be back for the second year, and Stephen Repasky of Meadow Sweet Apiaries will have information on beekeeping. Julia Schwierking of Fern Hollow Nature Center will have a presentation on various “unloved” pollinators.
A schedule will be release as the date draws closer, Widenhofer said.
“There will also be auctions, raffles, vendors, tours of the property and vegan and vegetarian offerings from Freedom Farms.
Tickets are $25 for the first ticket and $20 for each additional ticket and are available by visiting the website at https://www.wildbirdrecovery.org/fall-migration-festival or by mailing a check to 120 Forsythe Road, Valencia, Pa., 16059.
A limited number of tickets will be available the day of the event.