Yuma Bird, Nature & History Festival Schedule

Yuma Bird, Nature & History Festival Schedule

Held in Yuma, Arizona from April 16-18, 2021 the Yuma Bird, Nature & History Festival will immerse you in all of the natural beauty that Yuma and the surrounding area has to offer. As you can see from our tentative festival schedule listed below,  there will be dozens of activities including field trips and seminars. Please check back as we add more to the fun!



*** Please note, field trip meals are box lunches with a beverage provided. Vegan and gluten free are available by request at registration.

DAY ONE: Friday, January 10, 2020.

* Registration and Vendor Marketplace in the Bob Fowler Building near the Robert G. Fowler Statue at the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill. Held from 8am-11am.

* Moody Garden Demonstration Garden: Janine Lane, horticulturist with the University of Arizona, will be your guide in the garden which is planted in native and desert adapted plants.  Janine will help you with suggestions on plants for your garden and answer questions about water and fertilizing issues in the desert southwest. Cost $6.00 per person,  9-10 am.  Meet at Moody Garden. Meal not included.

* Tour of The Peanut Patch: Learn about peanut farming and some of Yuma’s agricultural history at The Peanut Patch, a tasty tradition and gourmet gift destination that dates back to 1977.  Tour is at 10am, and The Peanut Patch is located at 4322 E. County 13th Street, Yuma, Arizona 85365. Phone: 928.726.6292. Free admission.

* Wings over Yuma:
Bruce Gwynn, a native of Yuma and member of the Sanguinetti Family, will entertain you with stories of the first airplane landing in Arizona, right here in Yuma, and Yuma’s role in training pilots for WWII and of course the extraordinary flight of Bob Woodhouse and Woody Jongeward that began August 24, 1949, and ended October 10, 1949. Meet at the Sanguinetti House, 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm. Cost $6.00 per person. Meal not included.

*Yuma Proving Grounds Museum, 10:30 am – 1 pm. Daniel Steward, YPG biologist, and Bill Heidner, Museum Curator on the Yuma Proving Grounds Military Museum, will greet you at the museum. Daniel will talk about birds of the area. Mr. Heidner will present “Birds of the Army.” There will be a guided tour of the facility and time for you to peruse the museum exhibits on your own. Meet at the Coronado Motor Hotel, 233 South 4th Avenue. Transportation will be provided. Limit 20. Cost $30 per person.


* Mysteries of Yuma: Yanna Kruse, Arizona Historical Society Rio Colorado Division Director, will regale you with delightful stories from Yuma’s very colorful history. Meet at the Sanguinetti House,  2:30 pm to 3:30 pm, $6.00 per person. Meal not included.

* Colorado River History: Tammy Snook, City Historian, will present the story of the past, present, and future of the Lower Colorado River, and Yuma’s unique role in the settlement and development of the Southwest. Held from 2pm-3pm at the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill restaurant area. Meal not included.

* Canoe Trip: City of Yuma staff will lead an afternoon canoe trip on the Colorado River. Meet at the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill at 1 PM, trip lasts from 1pm-3:30 pm, (Maximum ten) transportation is provided, Cost is $30.00 per person. Meal not included.

*Bat Viewing: Bea Vicarra will lead the group (Maximum ten) to see hundreds of bats soar overhead as
they begin their evening feast in the winter sky. Meet at the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill at 4:00 pm,
transportation is provided but you will need a flashlight, comfortable shoes for a short climb over
gravel, and a folding chair. Return at 9:00 pm, Cost $30 per person. Meal not included.

* Beer Tasting: Prison Hill Brewery will introduce a new IPA, no host bar, at 9:30 pm. Meal not included.

Yellow Headed Blackbird at Anya Nitz Sunrise Park
Yellow Headed Blackbird at Anya Nitz Sunrise Park

DAY TWO: Saturday, January 11, 2020

* Imperial National Wildlife Refuge: Al Borgardt will give you a behind the scenes tour of the refuge.  Expect to see ducks and shorebirds and listen for rails.  At the refuge headquarters is a viewing tower, desert tortoise enclosure and several hummingbird feeders. Meet at the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill at 7:00 am, lasts until 1:30 pm, meal and transportation included, Cost $40 per person, maximum 10 people.

* Muggins Mountains Hike: Raymond Castro will lead a 5 mile challenging hike in the Muggins Mountains wilderness area.  Meet at the  Coronado Motor Hotel at 7:00 am, lasts until 1:30 pm, meal is provided but transportation is not included, four-wheel drive is required, Cost is $15 per person, (Maximum 15 guests).

* East Wetlands Birding: Vianey Avila, will lead a birding tour in the East Wetlands Park.  Expect to see Abert’s Towhees, Spotted Sandpipers, hummingbirds, flycatchers, woodpeckers, Verdins, and perhaps some warblers. Meet at Gateway Park parking lot at 7 am, goes until 10 am. Cost is $10 per person, no transportation or meals provided, (Maximum 20 guests.)

* Mittry Lake and Vicinity: Wayne Bowers will lead a birding tour of some of the most reliable birding spots near Yuma.  Expect to see many kinds of ducks and shore birds as well as desert and oasis passerines.  Look for phainopeplas, flycatchers, wrens, and hawks overhead. Meet at the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill at 7 am, trip lasts until 1:30 pm, (Maximum 10 guests) transportation and meals provided, Cost is $40.00 per person.

* Betty’s Kitchen: Jan Swarm will lead the group to an area that historically was a shanty town complete with a restaurant.  Now the area includes the spillway of the oldest dam on the Colorado River, a nature trail, fishing dock, cottonwood restoration area and a peek into the lower end of Mittry. Expect to see ducks, shore birds, gnatcatchers, quail and perhaps some pelicans. Meet at the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill at 7 am, trip lasts until 1:30 pm, (Maximum ten guests), meals and transportation provided, Cost is $40.00 per person.

* Bird and Nature Walk at Sunrise Park: Chase Choate, Environmentalist Director for the Quechan Tribe, will lead a bird and nature walk along the bank of the Colorado River.  Learn more about the uses of native plants and the importance of the river to the original inhabitants of the area. Meet at Sunrise Park at 7 am, walk lasts until 10 am, (Maximum 15 guests), no meals or transportation provided, cost is $10 per person.

* Casa de Coronado Museum: Yvonne Peach will provide a free tour of the Casa de Coronado Museum, located by the office at Coronado Motor Hotel, from 10am – 11am. The Museum showcases the history of tourism in Yuma, the growth of Yuma as a city, and the development of the Best Western brand and the historic Coronado Motor Hotel over the last 80 years. It features historic tourism pamphlets and brochures about Arizona and Yuma, travel guides, furniture and appliances from the early 1900s, and historic photos.

* Wildlife and Native Plants: Val Morrill, biologist with a special interest in plants, will lead a tour through the unique Yuma Conservation Garden.  Val will share not only the names and how to identify plants but will also talk about the medicinal and food uses of them.  You may even get to do a little tasting. Meet at the Conservation Garden at 1 pm, walk lasts until 2 pm, Cost is $10 per person.

* West Wetlands Park: Karen Reichhardt, botanist, will teach you how to identify native and desert adapted plants in the Hummingbird Garden in the West Wetlands Park.  Bring binoculars just encase you see a hummingbird, a thrasher, or perhaps a family of quail.  There is parking right at the hummingbird garden and restrooms nearby. Walk begins at 11:00 am and goes to 12:00 pm. Cost is $10 per person.

  • Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail Talk – With a back drop of hundreds of photos, long time Yuma hiker Petra Orta will awe you with her tales of hiking the 2000 mile Pacific Crest Trail alone.  She will share her experiences about hiking boots (how many pairs needed!), resupplying food stuffs (how to connect with folks who bring them), and how much to carry.  Petra will talk about characters she met along the trip and the long stretches she did without seeing another human.  Petra is a retired IT Trainer with a passion hiking. This is a Free Talk and will be held at 3pm at the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill.

* Cocopah Museum & Fry Bread Tasting: A tour of the Cocopah Tribe Museum and Cultural Center on the West Reservation, led by tribal members will be followed by a cooking demonstration where participants will make their own Cocopah style fry-bread.  You may also get to try the ancient recipe for screwbean mesquite tea and learn the names of various birds in the Cocopah language.  Meet at the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill at 2 pm, tour lasts until 4:30 pm, transportation and Fry Bread is included. Cost is $40 per person, (Maximum 20 guests).

*** Ultimate Trivia Night: Enjoy a game of trivia focusing on birds, nature and history. No host bar will be serving the festival’s official Craven Raven cocktail. Held from 5pm-7pm in the restaurant area of Yuma Landing Bar & Grill. Free admission. No meal provided.


Robert J. Moody Conservation Garden Walk
Robert J. Moody Conservation Garden Walk

DAY THREE: Sunday, January 12, 2020

* Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge: Wayne Bowers and Chris Schoneman, Manager of this California Refuge, will meet your van at Unit 1.  There expect to see thousands of snow geese, sandhill cranes pelicans, ducks, shorebirds and hawks.  The next stop will be at the Refuge Headquarters where Chris will lead an easy one mile walk along ponds full of ducks and geese.  On the way expect to see desert birds such as quail, verdins, and flycatchers.  At the shoreline of the sea, enjoy the peeps, stilts, avocets, and other shore birds probing in the mud.  At the end of the trail, there is a hill providing a great overlook of the area and its interesting geology. Meet at the Coronado Motor Hotel at 6 am, transportation provided. (Maximum guests 20) Cost is $40 per person. Finishes at 3 pm.

* Senator’s Wash, 7am-2pm: Biologist Daniel Steward will lead the tour to Senator’s Wash in hopes of spotting a loon.  Stops along the way include Imperial Dam and West Pond.  Birds to be expected ducks, grebes, egrets, herons, vermilion flycatcher, and shrike. Meet at the Coronado Motor Hotel, transportation provided, cost is $40 per person. (Maximum guests 10).

* Optional Adventures on Your Own (not part of the festival): Cibola National Wildlife Refuge (California).