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Wings Over the Rockies 2018

Webs & Roots: Talk About Networking!

The program for event for the festival 2018 will be finalized and available for viweing on March 15, 2018


This year's Wings Over the Rockies Festival explores the theme Webs & Roots: Talk About Networking! in recognition of Ecologist Dr. Suzanne Simard who while researching her doctoral thesis discovered that trees use a network of soil fungi to communicate their needs and send each other nutrients through a network of roots and web-type fungi buried in the soil.


With over 100 events to choose from over 7-days, there is a variety of hikes, paddles, presentations and field trips hosted by a large cross-section of educators, wildlife experts, conservationists, ecologists, historians, biologists and more…


Whether its talking and networking to spread a web of ideas, or finding ways that birds depend on trees for nesting, safety and nutrients, or how lakes are networked by trails, webs and roots or having a more global view of how we can live in a more interconnected world that binds together for a stronger system of communication and social networks. Join us for our 22nd annual Festival in the beautiful Columbia Valley to experience ways to connect and network with like-minded people.


Registration starts on Monday April 9th at 9 AM. Many events sell out quickly, so to avoid disappointment, register early at www.wingsovertherockies.org



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.


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.

The Columbia Valley Waterbird Survey recently completed its third round of spring migratory bird surveys and together we were more successful than ever! Thanks to the amazing volunteer efforts of 83 citizen scientists, we were able to visit 100 different survey sites in the Columbia Wetlands located between Canal Flats, north to the Moberly River near Golden. Despite a late start to spring this year, we still managed to survey 26,627 birds!

For more information on specific bird counts please go to http://wildsight.ca/programs/columbiawetlands/cwws/

2017 CWWS fall survey dates will occur on Friday September 29, Thursday October 5, and Sunday October 15. Mark your calendars! Free training sessions (including field training sessions) will occur in September, in both Golden and Invermere, and are available to all CWWS participants.

To sign up and participate in the fall waterbird surveys, please contact Rachel at racheldarvill@gmail.com.

Rachel Darvill, BSc., MSc.
Program Biologist – Columbia Wetlands Waterbird Survey

Photo Credit: Don Delaney

Eagle Eye Tour: Whooping Cranes in Saskatchewan

Are you ready for some more great birding connected to the Wings Over the Rockies festival, but you can’t wait until next May?

Eagle-Eye Tours is offering a tour to search for Whooping Cranes along with many other migrant species this fall in central Saskatchewan.

Along with small numbers of Whooping Cranes, there are thousands of Sandhill Cranes, tens of thousands of Snow Geese and Canada Geese, with lesser numbers of Ross’s and Greater White-fronted Geese pouring through. There are also large numbers of other waterfowl including all three species of scoters, plus raptors and passerines, especially large flocks of Lapland Longspurs with Snow Buntings and possibly Smith’s Longspurs, and Northern Shrikes.

This is a great opportunity to experience incredible fall migration through the prairies.

Go to http://www.eagle-eye.com/Saskatchewan-Whooping-Crane-Birding-Tour for full details on itinerary, featured birds, what to expect, and registration.

Eagle-Eye Tours is based in the Columbia Valley and is a long-time supporter of the Wings Over the Rockies festival. Eagle-Eye is owned by Cam Gillies, our gala banquet emcee and frequent field-trip leader.

Be sure to mention Wings Over the Rockies when you book. Eagle-Eye Tours will donate a portion of the proceeds from this tour to the festival.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email Cam 250-342-8640 or travel@eagle-eye.com.

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