Join us as we “Bird the Verde”

Field trips led by experienced guides in beautiful central Arizona’s diverse habitats. Guided walks and workshops, vendors and exhibitors along with special events round out this four day event. New field trips are added each year to the schedule of old favorites.

2020 Festival Bird is the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo and the South Western Willow Flycatcher

2020 Festival Highlights

Keynote Speaker: Coming Soon!

Call to Artists

The Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival is an annual festival held each April in Cottonwood, AZ and presented by Friends of the Verde River.

Friends is a is a purpose driven community benefit organization and 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, preserving one of the last flowing rivers in the American Southwest.

Each year artists are invited to submit images of original artwork reflecting the festival bird for consideration as the featured artist. The 2020 Festival Bird is the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo and the South Western Willow Flycatcher.

The selected featured image will be used to promote the festival through print and online advertising as well as in promotional fundraising products that benefit Friends of the Verde River. The winning artist will receive a $100 award, promotional products that include their image, and a free 10 x 10 space in the vendor tent at the festival to exhibit and sell their artwork.

Deadline to apply: November 15, 2019
Selection notifications: November 22, 2019
High resolution images needed by: November 29, 2019

Additional disclaimer: Selected artists will provide high resolution images, at least 300 dpi, and agree to allow Friends or the Verde River and The Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival full rights to use such image to promote and fundraise for the event and the organization.

Click here to enter online at


Please sign-up for workshops/presentations on your festival registration form. Most workshops are being held at the “Studio” at the far end of the park. Some workshops will be held at the new Water Reclamation Conference Room across from Riverfront Park. Shuttles are available to take participants to the site. Shuttles will leave from the River Day Use area 15 minutes prior to the start of the workshop. Try to arrive at least 5 minutes prior to departure. Restroom facilities are located in the buildings. We do offer limited off-site activities that require your own transportation. Please be aware of these exceptions.

Workshops and seminars have a fee involved and require registration. Both are held in either the Water Reclamation Conference Room or the park “Studio” located in the far end of the park, unless noted otherwise. Check in for all workshops at the registration tent. Participants will be shuttled to and from all workshops/seminars. There is no parking at the Studio. Restroom facilities are located in the building.

Meet at the shuttle stop in the parking lot of the River Day Use Area near the Aviary 15 minutes PRIOR to the seminar or workshop.

2020 Family Nature Festival
Saturday, April 25th, 9am-1pm


Birds, Bugs, & Nature!

“Hummers, Bugs and Butterflies” –  Which plants attract bugs, hummers and different creatures? Learn about Hummingbird and Monarch butterfly migrations. Make a seed/mud ball to take home.

“Binocs and Birds” – Afternoon Event
Learn how to use binoculars, some common birding etiquette, and some basic bird identification, as we watch for birds.

“Pond Life” – what creatures can we find in a pond or river and what does that teach us about water quality?  Take home a pond water aquarium project.

“Beaks, Feet, and Feed” Why birds have different feet, beaks, feed and habitats.  Get a seed feeder kit assembly to take home.

“Beavers, Dens and Dams”– Beavers, dam making and the impact on water retention. Build a simulation dam project and water impact experiment.

Kinder-Pavilion – (Ages 5 and under) Similar topics as above but geared to this age group.

You don’t need to be registered for the birding festival to attend this family friendly, kid focused day of activities at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
Park admission is FREE.
Check in at the children’s registration booth for a complete schedule of  activities and games that make learning fun.


Volunteer at the Family Nature Festival:

If you like kids and have an interest in helping kids learn about their environment, we could use your help!  We need 10-12 volunteers for 4 hour commitments on Saturday April 27th from 9AM to 1PM.  If you would like to help kids learn, please call Kathleen Green at 480-759-0001.

Volunteer at the Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival

Contact Chris Jensen, Volunteer Coordinator, via email for specific volunteer interests or positions OR register as a Friends Volunteer and select “Birding Festival” as your interest by clicking here.



Birders Paradise Bed and Breakfast

located in Camp Verde, is a birders paradise and a unique place to stay during the festival.

Contact the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce for information on hotels in the area. Some hotels offer discounts to festival-goers. Please ask when you make your reservations. We encourage you to check with advertisers in the booklet.

Click the link below to get a pdf list of area accommodations.

Accommodations PDF Format: Click HERE


Camping is available at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Sites include a table and grill. Water and showers are available. Campsites can be reserved online or by calling the reservation call center. Their is a $5.00 non-refundable fee for each camp site reservation. Hook-up sites with electricity are $25 and $30.00 per night. Non-hookup or tent sites are $15 per night.

Check for availability with the park immediately upon your arrival. Camping fees are paid directly to the park. Please check for any changes in the fees. The park also has cabins to rent within a short walk to the River Day Use area. These must be reserved in advance.

Call the park at 520-586-2283 for cost, availability and reservations.

To contact the park for other information please call 928-634-5283.

Vendors & Exhibitors

This is the 18th annual celebration of this major birding event and it is always a “Big Event” drawing people from all over the USA as well as from local and regional centers. One popular part of the Festival is the Exhibitor facilities. .

All the documentation and applications you need are linked below. For purposes of our Festival, an “Exhibitor” is a not-for-profit organization or government agency and does not sell items at the Festival. We are not accepting for profit vendors on site this year. Please contact us regarding Virtual Vendor opportunities on our website. Visit our Vendor Portal.

Exhibitor Application

Submit all applications checks to: Friends of the Verde River, Attn: VVBNF. P O Box 2535 Cottonwood, AZ 86326

Questions?? Email Dennis Tomko.

Exhibitor Schedule 2020




Saturday, April 25

9am – 1pm

RDU-Reg. Tent

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