Sacrificing Some Skin to Save Some Birds

At the Quill Festival hosted by Richardson Bay Audubon Center, people enjoyed a day filled with important conservation discussions and killer ink.

Young families, neighbors, artists, and lifelong birders flocked to Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary this past October for Audubon California’s inaugural Quill Festival, a celebration of tattoos, birds, and climate activism. More than 200 people attended the festival, which included music, talks covering climate change and the Arctic, local beer and food trucks, interactions with wildlife, nature walks, and bird tattoos from renowned artists Stephanie Brown, Brücius, and Bryan Proteau.

The effects of climate change were readily apparent during the festival, as it unfortunately coincided with the Kincade Fire, the largest wildfire of the 2019 California fire season, burning across Sonoma County. And while the Quill Festival wasn’t disrupted, Richardson Bay Audubon Center lost power not long after it concluded. For Molly Tsongas, digital campaigns manager and organizer of the event, given the backdrop of the fires, it felt appropriate and timely to talk climate and use the occasion to pledge to help climate-threatened birds.

“Tattoos are a symbol of how we express commitment,” Tsongas said. “I hope that the people who got bird tattoos today see it as an invitation to take action for these birds, take a deeper level of engagement, and take a step forward in these times.”

Scroll down to see photos from the Quill Festival!