Dean Hale Woodpecker Festival
June 1, 2023 – June 4, 2023
You can choose from twenty tours over four days to see 11 different species of woodpeckers as well as 200 other bird species who make their homes in the spectacular forests, burn areas, and diverse habitat in the Sisters and Central Oregon’s Cascade Mountains and high desert region. Tours are limited to ten participants and typically fill quickly.
Burned areas left behind by Central Oregon’s recent forest fires attract bugs, which, in turn, attract woodpeckers, and so participants have a chance to see not only common woodpeckers like Hairy and Downy, but also much rarer species like White-headed, American Three-toed, and Black-backed Woodpeckers. Few places in the United States are as rich in such a variety of woodpeckers as this area of central Oregon.
Tours go to places, such as Summer Lake, Shevlin Park, Trout Creek Butte, Three Creeks, Cold Springs, the Milli Burn, Abbot Creek, Calliope Crossing, Suttle Lake, and Green Ridge, as well as several other excellent birding areas. In addition to the birding tours, the festival offers native plants/birding tours and an opportunity to experience the bird banding of kestrels and bluebirds.
Tours take place under a special use permit with the Deschutes National Forest. Participants provide their own transportation, and carpooling is required.
Sponsored by East Cascades Audubon Society (ECAS), this festival offers a fun, friendly, casual atmosphere that is all about the birds. The trips are affordable and guided by two local field-trip leaders, with the proceeds supporting the many ECAS projects.
“The Dean Hale Woodpecker Festival is a great time to bird with old friends, make new friends, and see a great variety of neat birds while enjoying views of the beautiful Cascade Range,” observes festival bird guide, Mark Gonzalez. “It’s a winning recipe of birds, forest, geology, and companionship in the Great Outdoors.”
Steve Shunk, author of The Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America, is a local birder and founder of the original Woodpecker Wonderland festival.
Online registration opens in April 2023, and tours fill quickly.