The Main Stream

Jan 17, 2013 8:25 PM by John Patrick

Wings over Willcox celebrates 20 years

WILLCOX - The 20th annual Wings Over Willcox Birding and Nature Festival is underway with some new honors to celebrate.

Every year, nearly 30,000 Sandhill Cranes flock to the Sulphur Spring Valley to spend their winter months. Now the area is being recognized as a globally important bird area which is now only one of eight in the state of Arizona.

Jennie MacFarland with the Tucson Audubon Society has worked hard to gain this designation for the Sulphur Springs Valley.

MacFarland says, "This is now part of a network of important bird areas all over the entire earth that are recognized as being important for maintaining bird populations all over the world."

Homer Hansen, Chairman of the Wings over Willcox Festival, is making sure that the birds and visitors alike keep flying back for more.

"That which we've accumulated over the years we're putting back into education programs, teacher workshops and we've also done things with the viewing blinds," explains Hansen.

Just as the birds come from thousands of miles, so do the people that want to see this amazing migration. Jim and Joan Magarelli are winter visitors from New Jersey, where they heard of the giant flock of birds.

Magarelli says, "It's really exciting, there are thousands of them out there and to see them this close is an awesome experience for us."

If you would like to experience the Wings over Willcox yourself the festival runs through this weekend. For more information on tours, seminars and the Sandhill Crane visit their website by clicking here.


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