Each year hundreds of birders descend on Dead Horse Ranch State Park for the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival. They come from all over the country to spend time along the Verde River, Mingus Mountain and the peaks of Flagstaff to see the magnificent birds that come through our area during the Spring migration. At this year’s festival, April 25 – 28, more than 360 birders identified more the 180 species of birds from our locals such as the Great Blue Heron, to our summer residents, the Common Black Hawk.

What may not be as obvious as the birds, are the more than 100 volunteers that work year-round to make the festival such a unique birding experience. There is the core planning committee that meets monthly starting each September to plan field trips, schedule speakers and guides, and make sure that we have all the tents at the park set up. There are the canoe guides that make sure the Verde River is ready to safely passage, as well as the retired teachers and community members that lead STEM learning activities to excited families during the Family Nature Festival.

The festival couldn’t happen without help from our cities, towns and local businesses, from Olsen’s grain that provides birdseed, the City of Cottonwood for providing the use of the meeting room at the River Front Water Reclamation Facility, to the Rio Verde RV resort for letting us picnic on their beach, and Safeway that provided ice to keep the participant lunches and beverages cold. The Town of Camp Verde, Yavapai College, the Yavapai-Apache Nation, Salt River Materials Group, Rainbow Acres, and CJ’s Need a Lift all lent us vans so we could safely shuttle birder all around Northern Arizona. And there are countless businesses and individuals that donate items to the raffle, which helps send kids to bird camp.

And last but not least the drivers, guides, and the workshop registration and hospitality hosts that makes sure everyone has a unique Verde Valley experience.

So we want thank you all! We couldn’t do it without you and we are already looking forward to partnering you all next year!


Laura Jones
Community Engagement Coordinator
Friends of the Verde River
Coordinator, Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival


About Friends of the Verde River:

Friends of the Verde River, (Friends), is a purpose driven community benefit organization and 501(c)(3) nonprofit.  Friends envisions a healthy, free-flowing Verde River and tributaries that support our unique environment, a vibrant economy, and quality of life for future generations. www.VerdeRiver.org.

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