"Wings and Wetlands" event attracts birders from coast to coast

GREAT BEND - This central Kansas town will welcome bird watchers from over the country on April 29 through May 1. Situated in the Central Flyway and midway between two of the largest inland marshes in the United States, Great Bend is a hotspot for birds and birding. The Wings and Wetlands Weekend is three days of bird watching, tours, presentations, networking, and nature based activities.

The event begins on Friday, April 29, with registration, a bird identification workshop, entertainment, and refreshments. It continues with tours and presentations on Saturday, April 30, and ends on Sunday, May 1, with sunrise birding tours. Transportation in small vans with experienced guides is included in the registration fee. There will be special vans for less experienced or novice bird watchers. These tours will be slower, with an emphasis on spotting and identifying birds.

Wildlife photographer and Great Plains Nature Center Director Bob Gress will give a presentation on photographing wildlife during the Saturday presentations. Friday and Saturday will include bird identification sessions. Birding tours will visit Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, The Nature Conservancy's Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve, and Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area.

This year, the festival will feature a display of wildlife sculpture, prints, and photography organized by the Barton County Arts Council; a bird call identification contest complete with prizes; and a chance to mingle with dedicated birders and wildlife experts.

Registration for the festival is required and pre-registration is strongly recommended. For more information about the Wings and Wetlands Weekend or to receive a registration packet, contact the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau at 620-792-2750, or e-mail Registration forms are available online at and