Bird Festival

Bring your family and friends


For a fun day all about birds and nature: Come to Onondaga Audubon’s fourth annual Bird Festival May 9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Derby Hill Bird Observatory!

Bird watching, nature walks, and kids’ activities are scheduled throughout the day. Experts will be on hand to answer your questions about birds, bird behavior, and bird migration. You can get up close and personal with Rick West’s live hawks and owls and learn all about the fascinating world of raptors.

There will be educational exhibits as well as booths with hand-crafted walking sticks, bird feeders, maple products, wildlife photography, artwork, and other items for sale. You can also take a chance in our prize drawing and enjoy some of the tantalizing fare offered by Chomppers Smokin’ Barbeque. And, of course, the star performers—eagles, hawks, vultures, and other wild birds—will be flying overhead.

Admission and parking are free!

Would you like to participate in and/or support the festival?

It’s finally spring which means it’s time for some spring cleaning! Do you have a  nature or bird related item, gift card, artwork, jewelry, furniture, toy, ornament, bird house/feeder, binoculars, bottle of wine, or any other item that you feel you no longer need? Please consider donating it to the 2015 Onondaga Audubon Bird Festival! Items will be used in our prize drawings to help bring in funds to the Derby Hill Bird Observatory.

Don’t have items to donate? You can also make a monetary donation to the festival!

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so your monetary or item donation is fully tax-deductible!

Proceeds from your donation will be used to

  • address needed building repairs at Derby Hill Bird Observatory
  • offer competitive compensation and accommodations to qualified hawk counter, Dave Wheeler.
  • improve and maintain trails and bluebird boxes at Derby Hill Bird Observatory
  • protect sanctuary property from invasive species and encroachment
  • keep one of the premier hawk watches in the Northeastern United States free and accessible to you and the general public

Do you prefer to participate in the festival rather than just attend it? Please consider making a donation to the festival which will enable you to show and sell your own products at our festival which is expected to bring in over $500 visitors!

To donate to the festival or participate as a vendor, please print and fill out the following form. Please contact for more information on how to get your items/donations to us!

Click on this link for a vendor/supporter form you can printout and mail or email a scanned copy.

Directions to the Bird Festival

Layout 1Derby Hill Bird Observatory is located on Sage Creek Drive just east of the town of Texas (off Rt. 104B) in Oswego County. Sage Creek Drive can be found on page 83 of the New York State De Lorme Atlas, between coordinates D-4 and 5. From Syracuse, the easiest way to reach Derby is to take I-81 north to exit 34, which is Route 104. Turn west on 104. Drive 6 miles to the village of Mexico. Turn right (north) at the traffic light onto Route 3. Drive north on Rt. 3 for 4 miles to the intersection with Route 104B. Turn left (west) on Rt. 104B and drive one-half mile. Sage Creek Drive will be on your right. Watch out for the green signs for Derby Hill traveling either direction on 104B.

Read about previous festivals:
2014 Derby Hill Bird Festival a “Bang-up Day”

By Diane Emord

“Awesome bird festival. A really bang-up day birding!” “That was fun! It’s nice to be surrounded by good people enjoying life.”
These are but two comments made by folks who attended Onondaga Audubon’s 2014 Bird Festival at Derby Hill. On May 10, more than 300 ‘good people’ braved the rainy-day forecast to spend a few hours outdoors, ‘enjoying life.’
The predicted rain never arrived, but a lot of nature activity did. Returning to the festival this year was popular master falconer Rick West, who used his live hawks and owls to demonstrate raptor physiology, ecology, and conservation. Also returning were Chomppers Smokin’ Barbeque and eight vendors offering nature-related items, from note cards, candles, and jewelry to original photography and fine artwork.

New to the festival was Bob Gulotta’s wood-carving demonstration, showing how a chunk of hardwood can be transformed into an anatomically correct duck. New advocacy tables also provided information on hydrofracking, the 30-year take permits for eagles, invasive species, Lake Ontario management plans, and other environmental issues.
Three guided bird walks turned up Orange-crowned, Prairie, and Hooded Warblers, Red-headed Woodpecker, and a very cooperative Prothonotary Warbler. Another bird walk helped monitor the Derby Hill bluebird trail, while a fifth walk was for kids only. Other kids’ activities included face painting, an interactive storm-water table, and ecological simulation games. Finally, three drawings and a silent auction proved to be a big fundraiser for the chapter.

A brief onsite survey indicated that most festival-goers were not members of Onondaga Audubon and were making their first visit to Derby Hill. The annual Bird Festival helps sustain the chapter’s outreach mission of increasing environmental awareness and engendering a greater appreciation for local natural resources and wildlife.

Bird Festival Schedule

On-going activities throughout the day:
Silent Auction (You need not be present to claim the item)
Rick West’s Live Birds of Prey
Vendors and Information Tables
Kids’ Activities
Chomppers Smokin’ Barbeque

Scheduled activities:
10:30 to 11:15 Bird/Nature Walk
11:45 First Raffle Drawing (Must be present to win)
1:00 to 1:45 Kids Only Bird Walk/Scavenger Hunt (Ages 8 and up)
1:00 to 1:45 Bird/NatureWalk
2:00 Second Raffle Drawing (Must be present to win)
2:30 to 3:00 Bluebird Walk
3:00 to 3:45 Bird/Nature Walk
4:15 Third Raffle Drawing (Must be present to win)
4:45 Silent Auction closes (Results announced)

Here is the 2014 Bird Festival vendor lineup:

Alternative Health and Wellness (New Haven)
Activities, foods, and items that promote health and well being

Boliver’s Gold and Silversmith (Croghan)
Handmade, one-of-a-kind silver and gold jewelry;
tiny handwoven silver baskets

Jack Courtney (Wolcott)
Nature/wildlife photography

Full Moon Reflections (Taberg)
Native American bead work and gemstone jewelry

John Hancock (Syracuse)
Nature/wildlife photography

Kim’s Fabulous Faces (Warners)
Face painting, glitter tattoos, animal balloons, survival bracelets,
kool-off bandanas, corn bags, hair bows, head bands, and more…. – Laurel Butkins (Truxton)
Nature inspired photography, photobooks, postcards, puzzles and more…

Sue deLearie Adair Wildlife Art (Schenectady)
Wildlife art – originals, prints and cards (Weather permitting)

The Eyes of the Forest (Pennellville)
Art with a focus on plants and animals;paintings
on rocks and feathers;animal-themed jewelry

Victoria Storey (Clay)
Nature artist, original paintings and prints, notecards
and hand painted magnets (Weather permitting)

Information Booths

Onondaga Audubon Society Welcome Table

Advocacy and Action
David and Janet Muir will provide the public with information about the impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking), 30-Year “take” permits for Bald and Golden Eagles and other environmental issues.

Lake Ontario
Emily Sheridan (Eastern Great Lakes Watershed Coordinator) and Jennifer Reeher (NYS DEC representative to the Lake Ontario Work Group) will provide a display focusing on the Lake Ontario Binational Lakewide Action and Management Plan (LO-LAMP). They will have kid-friendly activities (interactive stormwater table and Lake Ontario temporary tattoos) and items for adults such as the Lake Ontario Annual Report booklet.

Invasive Species
SLELO PRISM is a mouthful of an acronym, but its all about partnering up to fight the invasion of all kinds of invasive species – emerald ash borer, water chestnut, swallow-wort, Asian carp and Japanese knotweed, to name a few of the species we love to hate. Sandy Bonanno and Dick Drosse of the Oswego Co. Environmental Management Council will be there to represent SLELO with information for you to help fight the invasions.

Wood Carving
Robert Gullotta will show how a local hardwood log can be transformed into an anatomically-correct duck. He’ll be exhibiting samples from various stages of the process and show how he applies the finishing touches to his work.

Fly Up to Derby Hill Bird Observatory for the
2014 Onondaga Audubon Bird Festival

10:00am to 5:00pm

Bring your family and friends for a fun day all about birds and nature. Live hawks, bird walks, nature activities, and kids’ face painting are scheduled throughout the day. You can help monitor a Bluebird trail or talk with bird experts about birds, bird behavior, and migration. You can see live hawks and owls and hear a talk about the fascinating world of raptors. A silent auction will offer bird and non-bird items, and there will be vendors with wildlife photography, native plants, artwork, and handcrafted jewelry for sale. In addition, the popular Chomppers Smokin’ Barbeque will be on hand with their tantalizing fare. And, of course, the star performers—eagles, hawks, vultures, and other wild birds—will be flying overhead. Visit this page as we get closer to May for a complete schedule of events. Remember admission and parking are free—we hope you’ll join us!

We had a record crowd in spite of the less than perfect weather for the 2013 Bird Festival…and we raised over $2500 for the chapter! <span
Here is a slide show of images from the festival. All the photographs were supplied by Michele Neligan.

Here is a slide show of images from the festival. All the photographs were supplied by Michele Neligan.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Live hawks, bird walks, nature activities, and kids face painting were scheduled throughout the day. Rick West from “Westy’s Birds of Prey” was in attendance to show and talk about his collection of fascinating hawks, falcons and owls. A silent auction offered bird and non-bird items, and vendors had wildlife photography, native plants, artwork, optical equipment and hand-crafted jewelry for sale. In addition, the popular Chomppers Smokin’ Barbeque was on hand with their tasty fare. We hope you’ll join us next year and find out just how much fun hawk watching can be! Admission and parking are free.

Click this link to see a Post-Standard photo essay about the Bird Festival.

We had a terrific group of vendors this year!

Full Moon Reflections (Taberg, NY)
Juanita will be bringing her intricate Native American beadwork, along with gemstone necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. She will also have children’s moccasins and small leather beaded pouches. (If the weather is good, crocheted baby sweaters and blankets will also be available.)

Lime Hollow Naturals (Cortland, NY)
Kristin will be bringing her popular all-natural, all-vegetable handmade soaps, a full range of natural cleaning products, herbal salve, and natural deodorants. She will also have gift baskets perfect for Mother’s Day.

Custom Cradles and Wood Products (Mexico, NY)
Jim Gaudet designs and builds unique products from solid wood. He plans on bringing a selection of plant presses, wood baby cradles, toy trucks, Blue Bird boxes as well as other very creative bird houses.

North Shore Natives (Bernhards Bay)
Chuck Carpenter from this unique local nursery will be there with a variety of native plants. They specialize in woodland, shade loving species that are native to the Northeast and hard to find at standard nurseries. Some are from seed bought or collected, some from their own properties and some purchased from wholesalers. If you are looking for ways to enhance your bird plantings this would be a good booth to visit.

Boliver’s Gold and Silversmith (Crogan, NY)
Lynette creates hand wrought sterling silver baskets, feathers, and jewelry.

Nanette Bergevin Pottery and Jewelry (Jordan, NY) creates interesting and unique pottery as well as necklaces, earrings, and hammered brooches. She will be bringing some of the pottery and jewelry pictured at, plus peacock feathers and origami flowers.

Laurel Butkins Photography (Truxton, NY) will be on hand with nature photos, postcards.

Rob Williams, SLELO PRISM Coordinator will provide the public with information about invasive species. The St. Lawrence – Eastern Lake Ontario Partnership For Regional Invasive Species Management (SLELO PRISM) combats the spread of invasives.

Skip Wells, KOWA Sporting Optics will be there with binoculars and spotting scopes for your inspection.

Vicky Storey is a fine art artist.She will be displaying and selling framed original paintings and prints of nature and wildlife as well as hand painted bird houses and hand painted glass magnets. http://

Bird Festival Sponsors
Golden Eagle Level
Oswego Elks Lodge #271
Tara Animal Hospital, Oswego, New York 564-6064
Wild Birds Unlimited, Fayetteville, New York 637-0710

Bald Eagle Level
PathFinder Bank
Johnston’s Propane Sevice, Fulton, New York 592-5450
K-9 Grooming & Pet Motel, Oswego, New York 343-5158
Tesoriero Chiropractic, Oswego, New York
Hannibal Village Market (IGA), Hannibal, New York 546-6318
Ontario Orchards, Oswego, New York
Wild Bird Center of Manlius, New York

Kestrel Level
Canale’s Italian Cuisine, Oswego/Liverpool
Bardan Construction, Oswego, New York 342-3041
Furdi’s Homes, Fulton, New York
Heath Asphalt Paving, Hannibal, New York 564-6806
RJ Caruso Tax & Accounting, Oswego, New York
Kambuyu Marimba Ensemble, Syracuse, New York

Jack McNerney Chevrolet, Tully, New York
The Oswego Tea Company, Oswego, New York

A big thank you to these businesses! Please patronize them.

There is plenty to see and do.

If you are interested in having a vendor table at future Bird Festivals or being a sponsor of the event please contact us at:


Or mail:

Onondaga Audubon Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 620
Syracuse, NY 13201

Or phone: 315 474-3778

Sponsorships levels are available from $150.00 to $25.00. Vendor fee is $25.00 and a product for the silent auction (you supply your own tent and table if desired)