Ornithology enthusiast Robert Masolini checks out the bird scene at Hartney Bay. Photo by Amanda Williams

The 33rd annual Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival showcased millions of migrating fowls through Cordova last week.

Cathy Renfeldt, the executive director of the Cordova Chamber of Commerce, told the Cordova Times in a statement that the festival, which was from May 4 through May 7, attracted nearly 200 attendees — 150 of which were visiting from out of town.

“This was possibly our biggest year yet for the Shorebird Festival,” she said. “There was great birding, engaging speakers, excellent classes and workshops, inspiring art and education for all ages, and even some nice weather.”

Westerns and Least Sandpipers were spotted at high tide in Hartney Bay, estimated in the tens of thousands. Photo by Amanda Williams

According to the chamber, Cordova’s shorebird fest was the first in the state of Alaska. Homer, on the Kenai Peninsula, also hosts a Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival every year.

Speakers this year included representatives from various local businesses, organizations, writers and artists. Wildlife photographer and videographer Gerrit Vyn was the keynote presenter.

Onlookers and Shorebird Festival volunteers look on at Alaganik. Photo by Amanda Williams

“This festival is a great example of regenerative tourism in action,” Renfeldt said. “It draws in visitors that are impact-minded and care about the footprint they leave behind in a destination. Birders, outdoor enthusiasts, and artists all fit the niche the Chamber is trying to attract with our new regenerative tourism destination strategy.”


— Amanda Williams contributed to this report