At the 20th annual festival, hundreds of bird and nature enthusiasts will migrate to the Verde Valley just in time to join the tens of thousands of birds that pass through on their annual Spring migration. Dead Horse Ranch State Park, with its Cottonwood/Willow Gallery Forest, is an inviting habitat for birds and birders.
“The annual migration is an exciting time for bird watchers, especially here in Verde Valley”, says Nancy Steele, Executive Director of Friends. “Just this week I saw a Scott’s Oriole in my backyard! I know visitors and locals will rejoice in new and unique bird sightings.”
This year’s festival offers over 80 field trips and workshops. For beginning birders, there is Armchair Birding, where you can watch for birds from the comfort of a chair with one of Northern Arizona Audubon’s expert birders. Or you can look for birds as you walk along the Verde River Greenway with a guide. For more advanced birders or those who want to explore different places, there are many trips along the Verde River and Oak Creek. Some of this year’s field trips will take birders to the heights of Mingus Mountain, out to Sycamore Canyon, and to the lakes and peaks of Flagstaff. With workshops ranging from the Art of Photography to the Secret Life of Bees, there really is something for everyone.
Keynote speaker, Rick Bonney is a recently retired director of public engagement at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Bonney will be giving a presentation titled “The Canary in the Coal Mine: An Update for the 21st Century”. This talk is about the change in bird populations as highlighted by the stories behind bird data. The public is encouraged attend! To attend only the keynote talk, festival registration is not required; admission is $25 and available at the door; desserts and coffee are included in the price.
On Saturday, April 25, from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., the Family Nature Festival will introduce the birds and other animals that call the Verde Valley home. Kids of all ages can participate in hands-on science-based activities. In the afternoon, there will be kayak rides on the lagoon and a live bird exhibit with AZ Game and Fish Department. This Saturday-only event is free and open to the public.
For more information about the Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival, visit VerdeRiver.org/birding-festival.
The Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival is a community driven four-day event made possible by the hard work of many committed volunteers and sponsors. The festival is hosted by Friends of the Verde River, with generous support from Rural Activation and Innovation Network (RAIN), Salt River Project (SRP), Montezuma Castle & Tuzigoot National Monuments, Western National Parks Association, APS - Arizona Public Service, City of Cottonwood, Freeport-McMoRan, Sky Rock Inn of Sedona, Jay’s Bird Barn, and Forever Our Rivers.