Description of Events


Wintering Birds of Washington County Presented by Richard Fridell
One of the finest presentations you could ever attend on all the birds we hope to see during the Festival!  Rick’s photos are exquisite, and his knowledge is unmatched!  A wonderful introduction for beginning birders and a valuable review for everyone else!

Raptos of Southern Utah Presented by Dr. Joseph Platt
Visitors to Southern Utah come to enjoy the grandeur of cliffs and canyons. But sometimes the most memorable experiences are the interactions with wildlife. Outstanding among those will be the sight of one of the 19 species of birds of prey found in the region. Whether it be a kestrel looking for a mouse along the road side or condors soaring above Zion National Park, these predators epitomize the wildness of the experience. Dr. Joseph Platt, an avian ecologist based in St. George will share insights on the ways these beautiful birds use their habitat and the key role they play in the ecology of wild places.  He will also share basic tips on identifying birds of prey and where to find them.

Introduction to Birding Presented by Kevin Wheeler
Ideal for those interested in bird watching but not sure where to begin, or for more experienced birders looking for a few tips. Topics include basic bird identification, favorite field guides, how to choose your optics, and where and when to find birds.

Junior Birder Program Presented by Marilyn Davis
This activity is a treat for families.  Marilyn is incredible as she shares her experience with children ages 8-12.

Build a Birdhouse and More Presented by Red Cliffs Audubon Society and Home Depot
FREE! Home Depot will provide materials and instructions for kids to build their very own birdhouses.  Children may arrive any time between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm.

Desert Landscaping and Gardening Presented by Casey Jones
Casey, a local gardening expert with St. George City will describe practices for desert landscaping and gardening.  His presentation will be very informative for those wishing to cultivate a xeroscaped yard.


Field Trips:

Lytle Photography Led by Lynn Chamberlain
Conservation Outreach manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and accomplished wildlife photographer will lead a small group in a photography-oriented field trip to Lytle Ranch.

Grafton/Springdale Led by John Kellam, Steve Eberhard, Maurice DeMille, Marshall Topham
Pullout along SR-9 west of Rockville.  This is a large pullout with large signs describing Zion NP.  The group will be shown around Grafton and Springdale in search of wintering birds and rarities.  Roufous-crowned sparrows and roadrunners are possibilities.

Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Habitat Led by Christian Edwards
Those who sign up will learn about the biology and conservation efforts of the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher. They will be onsite to observe a habitat restoration project conducted by UDWR personnel. Location is Springs Pond in St George.  Southwestern Willow Flycatchers will not be seen as they’ve migrated, but other local birds will be present.​

Santa Clara River (Tukupetsi Trail) Led by Marshall Topham
This field trip requires hiking three miles (round-trip) on a riparian (streamside) trail.  The trail follows the Santa Clara River through a canyon with imposing cliffs on both sides.  The hike is on an abandoned roadway with generally gradual elevation changes.  The canyon walls contain several panels of “Native American Petroglyphs” as well as a number of nesting sites for raptors, ravens, owls and even Canada Geese.  Birding is enhanced by the presence of running water, beaver ponds and dense off trail vegetation.  Nearly the entire trail is within the boundary of the BLM Santa Clara River Reserve so it is managed for the preservation of habitat and the associated wildlife.

Zion National Park Led by Lucy Ormond
Lucy will showcase the riparian habitat in Zion National Park in and around the entrance to Zion National Park.  The area around the Visitor Center has boasted local rarities such as pygmy owl and red-breasted sapsucker in the past. (Please note that it takes approximately one hour to travel to the park from Tonaquint Nature Center).

Biking, Birds, and Binoculars along the Virgin River Led by Shawn Langston, Kermit Earle
Park at 188 N 3050 E, St. George, about a mile east of Costco located on the east side of the road.  Approximately five miles total rural bike ride along the Virgin River through cliffs and bushy areas; many opportunities for bird watching.

Owl Prowl Led by Cordell Peterson
Cordell Peterson has a Biology background; surveyed spotted owls for the private sector, and worked for the Division of Wildlife for ten years surveying numerous bird species.  the owl prowl will consist of searching for owls in Washington County and pertinent information; when to call, what to do if you see an owl, suggestions for further prowls in other locations, when not to prowl, etc.

Beryl Raptors Led by Cordell Peterson
Cordell Peterson has a Biology background; surveyed spotted owls for the private sector, and worked for the Division of Wildlife for ten years surveying numerous bird species.  Beryl is a rural town located northwest of St. George.  Hawks, all ages of Golden and Bald Eagles, Red Tail Hawks, Ferriginous Hawks, Rough Legged Hawks are anticipated to be spotted and more.  Some smaller birds may be seen, but this field trip consists mostly of raptors.

Search for the Vermillion Flycatcher Led by John Kellam
John Kellam will lead a group to find one of Washington County’s winter specialties, the Vermilion Flycatcher.  There are generally a few that winter in the county and if anyone can find one, it’s John.

Local State Parks and Reservoirs Led by Richard Fridell
A small group will tour local reservoirs, including Quail Creek and Sand Hollow reservoirs, along with a few more stops in the Hurricane area.  This trip will showcase waterfowl, grebes, loons, and others.

Mathis Park and Journaling Session Led by Judy Schattner
Birding is more than identifying species. Birding also provides a space in nature that elicits your creativity. Easy mile walk along wash and into park. Expect to see warblers, hawks, water fowl, wrens, woodpeckers, sparrows. After we will travel to Black Bear Diner to a reserved room for writing and on your own coffee/tea/food.

Local Ponds and Washes Led by Kevin Wheeler
Discover bird corridors that wind through the urban habitat of St. George.  This field trip is designed for beginning birders, though all are welcome.

Lytle Ranch Led by Kevin Wheeler
Come visit southern Utah’s premier birding hotspot, where rare birds are often found.

Gunlock Reservoir Led by Seth Topham
Gunlock Reservoir, join us in our quest for winter raptors and sparrows.  The habitat is lowland riparian, upland shrub and pinyon-juniper, and the elevation is about 3500 feet.  This should be a great winter birding spot, some even say it rivals or even surpasses the more well known Beaver Dam Wash to the southwest.

Walk and Bird Along the Virgin River Led by Judy Schattner
Walk 3 miles along paved walkway past farm fields, woods, pond, cliffs, open grasslands. Possibilities: raptors, ducks, flycatchers, wrens, woodpeckers, sparrows.

Tonaquint Park Bird Walk Led by members of the Red Cliffs Audubon Society
This short 15 minute walk is a nice introduction to birding around Tonaquint Park.  Great for beginners and experienced birders, children are welcome.  At the end of the walk you may continue on along the several paths or return with the group to the Nature Center for your next activity.  Some birds may be identifiable without binoculars.