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It’s For The Birds!

Come To Verde Valley For Their Festival

Its_For_The_Birds.jpgPhoto Credit Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival -

Publisher's/Editor's Note: At the suggestion of our mother Margie Allen of Rociada, New Mexico, AZBW/WOT will be including more coverage of Arizona birds and bird-watching opportunities.

BIRD THE VERDE -- The 2010 Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival is celebrating its 10th Anniversary April 22 through 25 at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood. This is an extraordinary festival, with something for everyone — from birding beginners to experts, lovers of nature and lovers of learning.
Visit for more information.

The 2010 Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival is celebrating its 10th Anniversary April 22 through 25 at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood. Registration is now under way. Although some most popular trips have already filled up, there are still many available, so make your plans and register now for the events you want. It’s an excellent destination for RVers.

Our keynote speaker this year is Bill Thompson III, editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest and a truly fun and entertaining speaker. His talk on “The Perils and Pitfalls of Birding” is a humorous narrative about the many mistakes, accidents, and embarrassing situations Thompson has experienced in his 30+ years as a bird watcher. The reception is held at the Cottonwood Civic Center in Old Town on Friday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Tickets are available at the door for $15.

Special Events Each Day

Other special guests include Rod “Bird Man” Villemaire, creator of a national bird rescue network, trainer and educator. He brings his trained feathered friends to the Free Family Nature Fair on Saturday of the event along with kids’ activities, games and exhibitors.

On Sunday we will be offering a Lunch and Learn with Villemaire as he shares his knowledge of caring for and training pet birds. We are also pleased to have Rich Bailowitz, world-renowned butterfly and dragonfly expert. He will be offering a workshop and leading a field trip in search of these flying jewels.

In order to “give back” to the environments we explore during this event, we have added a short clean-up opportunity during the Fossil Creek Field Trip. As usual, the group will be driven to the creek for excellent birding and a box lunch. We will leave the area better than we found it by picking up any trash we encounter. We’re sure the satisfaction will be an award in itself.

Continue On The Train

Luxury more your style? You can still sign up for the First Class on the Verde Canyon Railroad trip. This year the Verde Canyon RR is celebrating their 20th Anniversary as the Festival celebrates its 10th. They will host an open house by Liberty Wildlife at the station at 11a.m. on Thursday. This beautiful canyon is only accessible by railroad or on foot, but the trip offers you a seat in a luxury train car furnished with soft couches and edible treats.

You can join a local naturalist on the open gondola car where natural and man-made features will be pointed out along the way. Black-hawk and bald eagle nests in the canyon and are often seen from the train. This year Pink Jeep of Sedona is supplying their very special Trekker to carry passengers on the Gap Creek. If the birding and scenery wasn’t spectacular enough, riding in these luxury high clearance vehicles is a treat in itself.

Yes, Birding — And More

It’s not just birding. There are also trips available to explore the geology of the Flagstaff Volcanic Fields, or the Verde Valley, all with knowledgeable guides who will describe to you the processes that created the amazing and unique areas of central and northern Arizona.

The festival also offers workshops that expand the learning experience. Subjects include desert plants, success stories of the condors and black-footed ferrets in Arizona, dragonflies, the basics of binocular use, and There’s a Bear in My Backyard, which talks about dealing with wild creatures near our homes.

Let’s not forget the vendors who will be offering birding supplies, art and the opportunity to try out optics before you buy at the Birdy Bazaar. Exhibitors display interesting information, Game & Fish will have live birds and critters, and it’s all free and open to the public.

Something For Everyone

This is an extraordinary festival, with something for everyone — from birding beginners to experts, lovers of nature and lovers of learning. Saturday is a free “Family Nature Fair” with activities for children and parents alike.

Go to and you’ll find more information about all the planned field trips, workshops, seminars and more. Remember, events are filling quickly, so register as soon as possible to insure that spaces will be available. Stop by the Cottonwood Chamber for a booklet or to register.

Call Barbie at (928) 282-2202 for more information.

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