Wings Over Willcox Birding and Nature Festival set for January 17-19, 2020

Photo By Diane Drobka: The Wings Over Willcox event is scheduled for Jan. 17-20, 2020.

Contributed Article

WILLCOX – The Willcox Nature Association is pleased to announce the 27th annual Wings Over Willcox (WOW) Birding and Nature Festival. The event 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.

Photo By Diane Drobka: Sandhill Cranes fly against the sunset sky.

The original WOW 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 WOW planning committee.

“This transition year poses some challenges, 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,” added Hansen.

The planning team is well on its way to organizing an excellent event. 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, includes 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 we hope to have live animals again for close-up views.

Photo By Diane Drobka: A white-faced ibis wades about.

An excellent group of tour leaders is rejoining the festival. “The tour leaders (who) help out with the festival are top-notch birders and guides,” Hansen said. “We are very fortunate to have such a knowledgeable and friendly bunch of leaders.”

The Willcox Nature Association is excitedly forging ahead and working hard to rebuild the Wings Over Willcox Birding and Nature Festival. The website,, is undergoing reconstruction and will gradually contain tour and seminar details as well as registration information. In the meantime, call 520-384-2272 to learn more about WOW.

Stay tuned – the Wings Over Willcox festival is ready to take off again!