Wings Over Willcox

Visitors to last year’s Wings Over Willcox check out the birds at Cochise Lake, including a bald eagle.

WILLCOX — The Willcox Nature Association has announced that the 27th annual Wings Over Willcox Birding and Nature Festival will take place over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, Jan. 17-19, 2020.

Well-known naturalist, author and worldwide birding tour-leader Rick Taylor will be the featured speaker at the Saturday-night banquet. His unique topic, Six Seasons: A Birding Year in the Land of the Apache, will highlight the Chiricahua Apaches’ six seasons based on transitions in nature and how those relate to birds.

The original Wings Over Willcox planning committee, operating beneath a newly formed 501(c)3 nonprofit organization called the Willcox Nature Association, will be back running the festival after a hiatus of five years.

“We are back and eager to plan the festival we know and love,” said Homer Hansen, who led the formation of the nonprofit and returns to lead the Wings Over Willcox planning committee.

“This transition year poses some challenges,” Hansen said, “and we are delayed with the website and registration, but we expect to have everything up and running by November.”

Many partners and agencies are helping plan the festival.

“We are very glad to have the Arizona Game and Fish Department involved, especially as they were the key founder of the festival. We are also especially grateful for the generous support from the City of Willcox to help us get started this year,” Hansen said.

A full slate of educational seminars will take place throughout the weekend. The Saturday-night banquet at the Elks Lodge will return and, as before, will include a silent auction with nature-related items.

The Nature Expo will include educational displays, merchandise and activities for children. The Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be there, and it is expected that live animals will be on hand again for close-up views.

“The tour leaders that help out with the festival are top- notch birders and guides. We are very fortunate to have such a knowledgeable and friendly bunch of leaders,” Hansen said.

The website, www.wingsoverwillcox.com, is undergoing reconstruction and will gradually contain tour and seminar details as well as registration information. In the meantime, call 520-384-2874 to learn more about Wings Over Willcox.

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