A single black-necked stilt looks directly at the camera while standing in shallow water.
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) Black-necked stilts are large wading birds with distinctive long , pink legs. © © Peter Brannon/TNC Photo Contest 2018

Newsroom | The Nature Conservancy

Wings & Wetlands Festival Promises Shorebirds in Land-locked Midwest

Birding festival features guided tours of shorebird hotspots in central Kansas, May 3-4, 2019.

Great Bend, KS

The Wings & Wetlands Festival gives birdwatchers the chance to improve their shorebird identification skills and cross a few special species off their list. Registration is now open for the two-day festival held in Great Bend, Kansas on May 3 and 4, 2019 at www.nature.org/wingsandwetlands.

Despite the lack of seashore, Kansas is home to two giant wetland complexes that host tens of thousands of shorebirds and up to 250,000 waterfowl every year. The Cheyenne Bottoms and the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge wetlands are in the heart of the Central Flyway, the bird migration route through the Great Plains from Canada to South America. Both are recognized for their contribution to the survival of birds at an international scale by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

The biennial festival is held by a coalition of non-profit organizations and local agencies who call it a birder’s dream weekend. 

"We’ve recorded as many as 180 different bird species in one Wings & Wetlands weekend,” says Robert Penner of The Nature Conservancy, one of the event hosts. “And some of the flocks number in the thousands. With so many different sandpipers, plovers, wading birds and more, it’s the perfect opportunity to learn the basics about shorebirds with a little help from our local guides.”

The festival is geared for beginning and intermediate birdwatchers wanting to improve their shorebird identification skills but all skill levels are welcome. Here is your chance to observe everything from a black-necked stilt and majestic herons to falcons, wrens and woodpeckers.

Registration includes multiple field trips to Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira during peak shorebird migration, a shorebird identification class and more. Greater prairie-chicken viewing opportunities will also be available for an additional fee. To register or learn more, visit www.nature.org/wingsandwetlands.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.