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Wings Over the Rockies 2015

Fossils and Feathers

The theme for the 19th annual Wings Over the Rockies Festival is "Fossils and Feathers", inspired by the recent exceptional find of a fossil bed of significant importance in the Kootenay National Park.

Our Keynote Speaker and Guest Scientist will be Jean-Bernard Caron whose work on the Burgess Shale fossils and the recent Marble Canyon discoveries is a perfect fit. He will attend the Festival for several days, delivering the keynote address to the Wings Gala Banquet on May 9, an additional luncheon presentation as well as school presentations and participating in Festival field trips and paddles. Since the Burgess Shale fossil sites in the Kootenay National Park will still be under a blanket of snow during the Wings festival, Jean-Bernard Caron will share his exciting research and discoveries in the field by engaging participants in interesting presentations.

The 2015 Festival will give participants the opportunity to participate in the Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey (CWWS)This project coordinated by Rachel Darvill of Wildsight-Golden uses ordinary citizens to gather important scientific data. The ultimate objective is to have the Columbia Wetlands designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA). The goal of the IBA Program is to identify, monitor and protect the most vital areas of bird habitat in Canada so that conservation action can be directed in the most effective way possible. Beyond data collection, the CWWS also aims to enhance and preserve the biodiversity and important habitat of the Wetlands through invasive plant inventories and removal.

As always, the Festival will offer a wide array of speakers, field trips, paddles, and workshops focused on the amazing wetlands and mountains of the Columbia Valley. Our special objective is to educate the public on recent scientific research and discoveries.

The program for 2015 will be posted in early March. However the program for 2014 is still available for viewing in the Day Planner or in PDF format in the Events tab. Registration for events for the festival begins in early April, 2015.

Costa Rica Tour for Wings Over the Rockies

Eagle-Eye Tours is offering a special birding tour in Costa Rica for past participants and friends of Wings Over the Rockies, from February 21 to March 3, 2015. The tour will be led by Cam Gillies who many of you will know as an event leader and banquet emcee at Wings Festivals.Cam’s PhD studied the movement of forest birds in Costa Rica.

Here is a general descrition on the website

"We visit several major habitats, sampling an astonishing variety of birds, lots of butterflies, mammals including quite a few monkeys, and some gigantic American Crocodiles from a safe distance. We start on the slopes of Volcan Arenal, which offers both exciting birding and scenery, and we spend time birding lush Caribbean foothill forests around Las Brisas Reserve which has an impressive list of birds and other forms of wildlife. Next are amazing Carara and Rio Tarcoles, and we visit cloud forests and high elevation forests and paramo of Cerro de la Muerte in search of the magnificent Resplendent Quetzal and many others. Indeed, each day just keeps getting better and better!"

For full details on itinerary, featured birds, what to expect, and registration, go to

Columbia Valley Wetlands

The Columbia River Wetlands, one of the longest undisturbed wetland ecosystems found in North America, stretches over 180 km in length from Canal Flats to Donald, BC. This impressive ecosystem gained international recognition when it was chosen a Ramsar wetlands in 2005 and represents one of the few remaining intact portions of the Pacific Flyway critical to migrating birds.

The Wings Over the Rockies Festival provides the opportunity for visitors and locals alike to engage in bird watching and to learn about the relationship of habitats, flora and fauna in the Columbia Valley, our backyard – the envy of the world.

Photos: Lorrie Anderson.

Click on the image below to view photos of some past events. Click on the image below to view some stunning bird photos seen during the festival.

Some birds stay in the valley over the fall and winter months. Enjoy viewing them in your backyard and please Contact Us if you have photos of birds you would like to share. We will happily post them in the Birds Page.

Dates for the Wings Over the Rockies Festival for the next three years:

May 4 to 10, 2015

May 9 to 15, 2016

May 8 to 14, 2017