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Agua Hedionda Lagoon readies to host inaugural festival

CARLSBAD — The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation will host its first Birds and Bees Festival in the Discovery Center from noon to 3 p.m. June 23. All ages are welcome.

In previous years the Migratory Bird Festival was held in May, and the Pollinator Festival in June.

Lina Carper releases a butterfly at last year’s Pollination Festival at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. This year the Migratory Bird and Pollination Festivals are being combined in a Birds and Bees Festival June 23, from noon to 3 p.m. Courtesy photo

“Combining the two festivals gives us an opportunity to expose more visitors to our amazing migratory birds and our onsite demonstration beehive,” Executive Director Lisa Rodman said. “By taking the opportunity to put the two complementary festivals into one ‘nature explosion,’ we have the ability to impact a broader audience.

“It’s definitely worth a flyover … to see what all of the buzz is about.”

San Diego, which is located along the Pacific Flyway, is an important stopover for 300 species of birds migrating from Siberia to South America in the spring and fall. Birds can leave San Francisco early in the day, and arrive at the Buena Vista, Agua Hedionda and Batiquitos lagoons by sunset to enjoy rest and a smorgasbord of fish, invertebrates and plants.

A key goal of the festival is to raise awareness about migratory birds and the challenges they face for survival in a time of disappearing habitat and climate change.

Festival goers will learn how they can contribute to bird conservation and environmental health by planting backyard plants that attract specific birds.

For the first time, Danny Sedivec and Charles Gailband, founders of the Raptor Institute, will be on hand to introduce Fletcher, a great-horned owl, and Buster, a red-tailed hawk, along with other birds of prey. They’ll discuss how the protection of these birds is key to maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

Rodman explained that nearly 80 percent of the world’s crop plants require pollination for reproduction. Without pollinators, humans and ecosystems cannot survive. Due to biodiversity threats such as land development, pollution and pesticides, the planet is losing pollinators at an alarming rate.

To focus on the crisis, there will be a butterfly release and an exhibit of live hummingbirds.

“Visitors will have an opportunity to learn how pollinators and flowers make our fruit trees possible,” Educational Director Katrina Keddy said. “Apples and cherries need to be pollinated.”

Beekeeper Walt Meir will discuss a demonstration beehive he created for the center. For the first time, visitors can sample different varieties of honey.

“It’s almost like wine tasting,” Keddy added. “Each honey tastes different depending whether the pollen was collected from a grove of avocado trees or fields of clover.”

Festival goers will also have the opportunity to be the first to use new SONY tablets to play animated, honeybee-related games. SONY supports the Discovery Center by donating technology.

In addition, visitors will learn how to make hummingbird nests and scrumptious treats for wild birds such as pine cones covered with peanut butter and seeds.

Presenters begin at 12:30 p.m. and continue until 3 p.m. At 2 p.m., field and wildlife biologist Jordan Ahle will lead a birding walk along a quarter-mile trail.

The festival, sponsored by SDG&E, is free and includes entertainment and complimentary Häagen-Dazs ice cream for children.

The Discovery Center at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon is located at 1580 Cannon Road in Carlsbad. For more information, visit or call (760) 804-1969.