GREAT BEND – The 2017 Wings ‘N’ Wetlands Birding Festival is scheduled for April 28-29 in Great Bend and will offer participants a unique opportunity to view birds at two of the best birding spots in the Central Flyway – Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Held every other year since 2001, the Wings ‘N’ Wetlands Festival is open to both novice and experienced birders.
“The main focus of the festival is getting participants out on fieldtrips with experienced guides to find as many bird species as we can,” said Curtis Wolf, Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC) site manager. “We are excited to be able to bring a diverse crowd of birders into the area to experience our wetlands as well as our area communities.”
Beyond the great guided birding trips, the two-day festival also includes a shorebird identification workshop, relaxing social time, a presentation by renowned birder and photographer Bob Gress, and opportunities to experience area attractions along the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway. Participants can also sign up for additional birding field trips, including night birding and greater prairie chicken lek tours. The 2017 festival will be headquartered out of the Best Western Angus Inn Courtyard in Great Bend.
Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge are two Wetlands of International Importance and provide thousands of birds a stopover along their North and South migration routes. The festival dates coincide with the historical peak of shorebird migration, providing opportunities to see sandpipers, plovers, wading birds, and waterfowl. Approximately 180 species of birds have been recorded during most previous festivals. Notable species that may be observed are black rails, snowy and piping plovers, and least terns.
The festival is coordinated as an event of the Kansas Birding Festival, Inc. and is made possible by numerous organizations, including the KWEC, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, The Nature Conservancy, and the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more information, and to register, visit kansasbirdingfestival.org or contact the KWEC at 1-877-243-9268.