A male Rufous hummingbird preening on a tiny branch. These zippy birds visit and stay awhile in Whidbey every spring during migration. (Photo by Craig Johnson)

A male Rufous hummingbird preening on a tiny branch. These zippy birds visit and stay awhile in Whidbey every spring during migration. (Photo by Craig Johnson)

Whidbey birds winging it at Clyde Theatre

Johnsons’ new film debuts March 24, 31

Wondering why those colorful Rufous hummingbirds converge on Whidbey Island this time of year? How about those rowdy white pelicans that often show up on Deer Lagoon or Crockett Lake in the summer, what’s up with those big-beaked birds?

Find out the answers to these questions and other baffling bird behavior by attending the debut screening of a new movie, “Birding Whidbey Island” by Craig and Joy Johnson.

The hour-long film will be shown at 2 p.m. on two consecutive weekends, March 24 and March 31 at the Clyde Theatre in Langley. Admission is free but donations for production costs are gladly accepted.

The Freeland couple has produced numerous birding and habitat brochures and books and offered educational presentations to schools and organizations. Their first video, “Birds and Backyard Wildlife Habitat,” captured dozens of birds in action, taking baths, building nests, feeding young and fledgling.

Last year, they spent time traversing Whidbey from Deception Pass to Possession Beach to capture birds in their natural habitats at 21 different sites, including marshes, lakes, beaches, bluffs and forests.

More than 125 different bird species and other wildlife are shown in detailed and poignant shots that Craig Johnson captured on video by being very still and very patient.

“It’s not just for birders,” he said of the film. “It’s perfect for both experienced or beginning bird enthusiasts and people who enjoy beautiful natural areas.”

The Johnsons focused on viewing areas that are accessible to all to encourage people of limited mobility to get out and enjoy the wonders of Whidbey. Because of a degenerative neurological disorder, Craig Johnson uses a mobility scooter at times and must rely on lightweight, rather low-tech equipment to take his photos and videos.

But those limitations aren’t reflected in his work; it’s simply stunning. Both of them provide insightful narration.

Craig and Joy Johnson recently received the Jan Holmes Island County Volunteer of the Year Award for their artistic and educational endeavours teaching others about Puget Sound’s ecosystem.

“Birding Whidbey Island,” will be shown free at 2 p.m. March 24 and 31 at The Clyde Theatre, 217 First Street, Langley.

<em>Great horned owls are commonly heard around Whidbey Island after midnight. Listen for low-pitched but loud who-hoo-ho-oo or who-ho-o-o</em> (Photo by Craig Johnson)

Great horned owls are commonly heard around Whidbey Island after midnight. Listen for low-pitched but loud who-hoo-ho-oo or who-ho-o-o (Photo by Craig Johnson)

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