Rural Action, Camp Oty’Okwa, and the Athens Area Birders had to delay the 2020 Birds in the Hills Festival until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The affordable three-day festival gives all ages a chance to dip their toes into birding and natural history, with events for families, adults, and specifically the kids.

Anyone interested in serving on the planning committee for 2021 should contact Joe Brehm.

The 2019 Birds in the Hills Festival in Review

Taking place at Camp Oty’Okwa in the Hocking Hills, Birds in the Hills Festival featured field trips to Crane Hollow Nature Preserve, Zaleski State Park, and bird walks through Camp’s extensive groves of Eastern Hemlock. Participants could expect to see and hear up to 20 species of warblers, including the Black-Throated Green and Blackburnian Warblers that prefer the cool hemlock gorges of Camp. They were also likely to see Cerulean Warblers, Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, and a plethora of other migratory songbirds.

Saturday night’s festivities featured keynote speaker Dr. Jarrod Burks, music from the Coal Cave Hollow Boys, a chicken & hog roast dinner, a local beer tasting, and a bunch of kid-friendly environmental education activities. Some highlights included:

  • Bird Banding with Bob Scott Placier
  • Exploring the caves and caverns around Camp Oty’ Okwa
  • Beer tasting
  • Music from the Coal Cave Hollow Boys
  • Family hikes and crafts
  • Silent Auction
  • Astronomy
  • Survival skills
  • Fern & wildflower field trip to Crane Hollow Nature Preserve with Joe Moosbrugger
  • Warbler field trip to Zaleski and Lake Hope with Bruce Simpson
  • Walking field trip to Crane Hollow Nature Preserve with John Watts
  • Prothonotary warbler field trip to Payne’s Wetland in the Wayne National Forest with Joe Brehm
  • John Watts joined us Friday night to talk about the variety of birds who visit Hocking County each year.
  • Dr. Jarrod Burks, an archeologist with a passion for the study of ancient earthworks, joined us Saturday night. He taught about the use of bird effigies during the Hopewell culture period.

The Birds in the Hills Festival welcomes everyone and does not tolerate harassment of any kind. If you experience or witness any sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, or otherwise problematic behavior, please notify someone from Rural Action at the event and we will handle it accordingly. We’d like our event to be as safe a space as possible.

Rural Action
Camp Oty’Okwa
Eclipse Company Store
Little Fish Brewing Co.
Ohio Ornithological Society
Athens Area Birders