The Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival engages birders, photographers, and nature lovers by providing quality guided birding experiences and workshops across Northern Arizona.


We envision a festival that celebrates an appreciation of a broad spectrum of resident and migratory birds and wildlife in their natural habitats while encouraging stewardship of the unique ecosystem created by the Verde River and its tributaries.

Our Story

The Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival has grown and evolved greatly in the 20 years since its founding! This beloved celebration of birding and nature during peak migration in the Verde Valley began as a celebration of birding at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in 2001. The founders of the festival sought a way to provide a fun and educational birding experience to both the local community and visitors. We knew we had an undiscovered treasure in the diversity of habitats within the Verde Valley, as well as great birding in Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

The festival is organized by Friends of the Verde River with a planning committee made up of community volunteers. Some volunteers represent different agencies and organizations, but they all donate their time throughout the year toward the success of the event. The committee has adopted a section of roadway that crosses the Verde River and cleans up litter every other month (see more information about  VVBNF Highway Cleanups here). Our festival volunteers also contribute their time to other work projects, programs and environmental organizations throughout the valley. These dedicated people are the heart of the event.

The Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival is recognized by the State of Arizona as an “Arizona Treasure.” The event has grown into one of the most popular events of this type in Arizona. We share the popularity of birding in Arizona with other annual trip-based festivals, such as Southwest Wings, and Wings Over Wilcox.

We are referred to as the “Friendliest Birding Festival” and it is our pleasure to work to maintain that reputation. We pride ourselves on the uniqueness of our offerings and guided trips, the knowledge of our guides and presenters, and the value and satisfaction that participants receive. We hope you enjoy your time along the Verde River and participating in the festival. Welcome!

About the Festival

Located 100 miles North of Phoenix in North Central Arizona’s Verde Valley, the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival gives participants the opportunity to experience birding during the peak Spring migration season. In 2021, amidst complications from COVID-19, the Festival will be held virtually, and will be accompanied by in-person, size-limited small birding tours across the state of Arizona.

The four-day festival is held at Dead Horse Ranch State Park on the banks of the Verde River. With close proximity to the Verde, Oak Creek, Sycamore Creek and other perennial waters, festival participants are invited to choose from a wide selection of offerings such as guided tours, hikes, and workshops in one of Arizona’s richest birding habitats.

Our experienced guides have extensive knowledge of birds and the habitat that make this region so unique. The Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival is presented each April by Friends of the Verde River, a purpose driven community benefit organization and 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, working to preserve one of the last perennial flowing rivers in the American Southwest.

The Festival Committee would like to thank all of YOU for your support of the festival and for your commitment to the natural environment.

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