Thousands attend Arlington Eagle Festival

ARLINGTON — Wildlife awareness, arts and crafts, and whimsical activities marked the fourth annual Eagle Festival on Feb. 5 in Arlington, with city of Arlington Natural Resources Director Bill Blake reporting that all the day’s events attracted about 2,000 attendees.

Sarvey Wildlife Center staff returned to the Arlington City Council Chambers to show off several birds of prey in the midst of nature exhibits displayed by the Snohomish Conservation District and the Stilly-Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force, while the Co-op Supply attracted its own “fowl following” by bringing back the “Ugliest Chicken” contest.

Kestrel SkyHawk explained that Sarvey has rehabilitated injured, orphaned and ill raptors and other wild animals for around three decades, taking in several thousand such animals every year. While Sarvey’s goal is to release the animals under its care back into the wild, the raptors that appeared in the Council Chambers were among the animals for which Sarvey provides permanent care since they can no longer survive in the wild without such care.

Rick Thompson, whose naked-neck turkin won the “Ugliest Chicken” contest, attended the Sarvey presentation with his daughter, former Sarvey volunteer Kim Barrett.

“I like the birds we have here in Arlington,” said Thompson, a regular attendee of the Eagle Festival. “They’re unique.”

The Arlington Arts Council sought to raise awareness of the area’s feathered friends through its annual photography and poetry contests that day, as well as through a lesson on how to sketch different types of eagles by local mural artist Harry Engstrom. Mike Nordine showcased sculptures of a heron and two owls that he’d made out of auto parts.

“I never work it out or write it down before I put it together,” Nordine said. “I just see something in a muffler and it talks to me.”

In the midst of such familiar favorite events, a few new features were making a buzz on the block, literally in the case of the Country Chainsaw Carvers’ second show near the Local Scoop restaurant. In addition to recruiting a baker’s dozen of chainsaw carvers from throughout the region, Arlington carver Debbie Anderson presented the city with a 10-foot-tall eagle sculpture in honor of the occasion.

“All of our carvers have sold at least one piece today,” Anderson said Feb. 5, before laughing, “The Local Scoop is seeing so many customers that they don’t have time to feed us yet. It’s a good time to be in Arlington. This town is really attractive to a lot of people.”

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