4/23/2012 9:03:00 AM BirdyVerde winging its way back to Cottonwood
This year, marking a dozen years, BirdyVerde will draw increasing throngs of participants for a widely drawn, diverse collection of outings, seminars, workshops and fun. This year’s keynote speakers, Chuck and Nancy Bell, bring a wealth of birding to share from adventures all over the globe.
The Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival offers enjoyment and education for everyone from the seasoned birder to the novice wondering what the heck "that" was.
This year, marking a dozen years, BirdyVerde will draw increasing throngs of participants for a widely drawn, diverse collection of outings, seminars, workshops and fun.
This year's keynote speakers, Chuck and Nancy Bell, bring a wealth of birding to share from adventures all over the globe.
Registration closed Friday, after filling spaces since February.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park is a convenient central hub for the diverse birding and nature opportunities that will fan out across Northern Arizona.
Some opportunities are only a short walk from the registration tent. But others follow birdlife and geography of the Grand Canyon, along the Verde Railroad, the Rim Country and much more.
The Verde River, Fossil Creek, Oak Creek Canyon, Tavasci Marsh, the Verde River Greenway are prime habitat and then there is Mingus Mountain and Sycamore Canyon.
While there is much birding closer to home, the festival will get its start with a fabulous photography and geography trip at Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend near Page, as part of two-day outing.
There are also Verde float trips to relax on the river, botanical walks, geology trips and more. There are also many you can you do for free.
Workshops and seminars will explore birding basics, how to choose binoculars, and the tricks of wildlife photography.
Saturday workshops offer hummingbirds, dragonflies, butterflies and the nighttime favorite Owl Prowls annual trips and new opportunities. There is also instruction on eating wild even venomous creatures
Clarkdale Mayor Doug Von Gausig will teach bird sounds and song. There are geology tours, wine and river trips and even decadent dessert socials
This is an official Arizona Centennial event as well and there will be special presentations of historical figures that influenced modern-day natural history. Because it's the centennial year in Arizona, there will be a celebratory tree planting as well donated by Verde River Growers and dedication of the new festival flagpole and time capsule constructed by park and community volunteers with thanks to generous donations from Hansen Materials and Salt River Materials Group will take place at 10:30 a.m.
Dena Greenwood will present "A'Birdin' on a Bronco" Chautauqua on Florence Merriam Bailey. Local historian and author Bill Cowan tells of the early naturalists who first documented Arizona's unique wildlife.
Keynote speakers Chuck and Nancy Bell bring a wild world of experiences of birding in 35 countries and a high-energy passion from postings across the world. The stories pour out of numerous experiences in the wild. Twice retired, first as a diplomat with postings in North and South and West Africa, New Zealand and Norway, he even served as a French-speaking correspondent for Voice of America.
Chuck has served as a specialty tour guide, he operated tours for the American Birding Organization served on the board of the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. He is hailed for founding a team of wilderness volunteers, when forest dollars ran dry.
Thursday, they will offer a special-guided field trip and lunch at the Manzanita Inn in Cornville. Nancy will present a photo presentation, "Having Fun with Nature Photography" at 11 a.m. Friday.
The keynote is at the Friday evening dinner, held at the Cottonwood Recreation Center from 6-8:30 p.m.
During Saturday's Family Nature Fair, all activities are free at the Open House and Family Nature Fair. There will be free entrance into the park for this event only on Saturday. For the adult who would like to try their hand at birding for the first time, they should try "A Taste of Birding," a chance to talk to a birding expert and follow her on short walks to see what this popular hobby is all about.
There will also host a special armchair birding at the feeders 10 a.m.-noon. A guide will be on hand to help with identification of the visiting birds.
The Open House offers the opportunity to visit the vendor and exhibitor tent where the latest in binoculars, bird feeding equipment, books, art and information is at hand. Get up close and personal with the live animals from Game and Fish's Adobe Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Phoenix. Starting at 8 a.m. there will be a beginning birding class for kids.
On the Flyway, the Nature Fair's midway, you'll find activities, games, prizes and fun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The kids can build their own bird house donated by Home Depot or an oriole feeder. It's a great way to introduce the family to nature while playing games and enjoying the out-of-doors.