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Wings Over the Rockies 2017

Birds, Bats, Bears and Beyond

In 2017 Canada will celebrate its 150th birthday. Canada was founded upon its nature and wildlife that remain symbols of our nation. The 21st Wings Festival appropriately explores the theme Birds, Bats, Bears and Beyond in recognition of Canada's interconnected but increasingly challenged wildlife international migratory birds; mysterious bats and grizzly bears, symbols of wilderness. The festival will bring in experts provide insights into the lives of these animals and the conservation challenges in protecting them.

We are honoured that Danny Catt, an internationally known conservationist, photographer and environmental educator will be the Keynote Speaker at the Gala. Danny spent more than a decade in the upper Columbia Valley in park planning when he received a Rotary International ‘Preserve Planet Earth' scholarship to study conservation around the globe. Since then Danny has explored and photographed the people, landscapes and wildlife of close to 100 countries. Now head of British Columbia Institute of Technology's Fish, Wildlife and Recreational Land Management program he inspires future generations of wildlife conservationists. For more information on Danny Catt please check The Special Guest Page.

Wings Over the Rockies Festival pulls back the curtains of nature in the Columbia Valley, providing opportunities for visitors and locals alike to engage in wildlife watching and through a wide variety of presentations and field trips, learn about the relationship of habitats, flora and fauna in our backyard – the envy of the world.

The program for the festival 2017 is now complete and can be viewed in the Day Planner tab. The PDF of the printed program and the Calendar for 2017 is also available in the Events tab..

Registration started on Monday April 10 at 9am and is now available online 24/7.

Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey

Due to the outstanding contribution of 79 volunteers, 51,261 birds were recorded over three survey dates during the fall Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey (CWWS)! The highest single day count was recorded on October 15th, 2016 when 20,784 birds (75 species) were counted at 85 locations. This is an incredible accomplishment for our region and this effort is worth celebrating! Data will contribute to long-term conservation efforts in the Columbia Wetlands.

The CWWS began in 2015. It is a five-year coordinated bird count where the major goal is to mobilize and coordinate citizen scientists to collect data that will be used for application to designate the Columbia Wetlands as an Important Bird Area (IBA). IBA is a global initiative with over 600 sites across Canada.

For more information, or to sign up and participate in the spring waterbird surveys, please contact Rachel at racheldarvill@gmail.com, or call 250-344-5530. Survey dates for April 2017:

  • Monday, April 3rd
  • Monday, April 10th
  • Sunday, April 16th (please note this is Easter Sunday)

Photo Credit: Don Delaney

Costa Rica with Eagle Eye Tours

Eagle-Eye Tours had another successful birding trip in Costa Rica. The tour was led by Cam Gillies, whom many of you know as an event leader and banquet emcee at Wings Festivals. Cam’s PhD studied the movement of forest birds in Costa Rica. Cam guided alongside his very talented friend Ernesto Carman. Ernesto grew up on an organic coffee farm and is one of the leading birders in Costa Rica. Over 870 species of birds have been recorded from this small country, renowned for relatively easy birding, good accommodation, comfortable and pleasurable infrastructure, and peaceful policies. The tour samples a range of habitats from the high cloud forest to coastal mangroves.

The tour for 2017 will be from January 31 to February 10.

Click here for full details on itinerary, featured birds, what to expect, and registration.


Columbia Valley Wetlands

Photo: Vic Panei

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.

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.

Photo: Pat Morrow

Click on the image below to view photos of 2016 and past festival events.

Click on the image below to view some stunning bird photos seen during the festivals.


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

May 8 to 14, 2017

May 7 to 13, 2018

May 6 to 12, 2019