Birding fest to return June 10

LONG LAKE - While the birds put on a show for mating season, bird-crazy humans will try to share in the love, engage in harmless voyeurism and hopefully spend some of their dollars locally during the Adirondack Birding Festival June 10-12, based in Hamilton County.

The festival is in its seventh year, and Dean Nervik has organized it for the past four years. He said his primary mission is to get "heads in beds," and generate cash flow into the county.

After being lured to Hamilton County with the promise of hard-to-find birds, Nervik said visitors will hopefully come back on their own to explore the county and spend their leisure dollars.

Alexandra Roalsvig, director of tourism for Long Lake, said, "Our regional community is so compact, infusing any amount of tourist traffic will see a positive outcome for our local businesses."

Roalsvig said once visitors leave, "they'll go home and tell their friends about what a spectacular place Long Lake is to visit."

As part of the festival, Roalsvig said the town hall in Long Lake will host Joan Collins in an evening lecture, All About Birds, June 10.

"Her experiences and her passion for birding always draw a crowd," Collins said.

Collins, a local bird expert who guides private birding excursions, starts planning the festival with Nervik in December or January. She's been involved from year one.

"I actually helped them start it. It's been a great festival for the county," she said. Many people want to see the increasingly rare Bicknell's Thrush, said Collins.

"It's a huge draw," she said.

The free festival has had its hits and misses, said Nervik. In its first years, trips would often have too many attendees, which would cause confusion and leave visitors unhappy, or too few attendees, which was a poor use of trip guides' time.

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