The Wings Over Willcox Birding and Nature Festival has been attracting people to Cochise County for more than 20 years, with multiple activities for participants who want to explore the outdoors or learn more about this region.
Tom Whetton, a professional wildlife photographer and a member of the all-volunteer Wings Over Wilcox board, said people come from all over the country and the globe to get a glimpse of the sandhill cranes or other species that can be found in Arizona. The events include birding, geology and history lectures and field trips.
"We will have live birds, live raptors at the convention center in Willcox during the whole event. There are vendors there with binoculars and things like that, arts and crafts, it's just a great event," he said. "And for people that want to get up and have something to do, it is really something to do."
Whetton said the money collected from the festival is used to prepare for the following year's festival or to sponsor projects in the Sulfur Springs valley of Cochise County that enhance wildlife for habitat.
The 2014 festival is from Jan. 15 until the 19, but the Sandhill cranes will be in the area for a few more weeks before flying north to their breeding grounds.
Organizers say the annual event pumps tens of thousands of dollars into the economy of Southern Arizona.