About Spring Wings Bird Festival


About 14,000 years ago, ancient Lake Lahontan covered the valleys of western Nevada. The area now known as Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge was under 700 feet of water. The first human inhabitants settled the area along the lake shore as evidenced by the petroglyphs around Grimes Point and additional archeological information discovered in Hidden Cave.


Over thousands of years, the lake receded and left the current complex of marsh units at the terminus of the Carson River. Today, during some years, the Lahontan Valley Wetlands are visited by up to 250,000 shorebirds, including Long-billed Dowitcher, Western and Least sandpipers, Wilson's Phalarope, and Long-billed Curlew, with peak numbers in the latter part of April, and again on the latter part of August. Migration brings thousands of waterfowl, including Snow goose and smaller numbers of Ross' and White-fronted geese, along with Gadwall, Pintail, and Green-winged and Cinnamon teal; the wetlands are particularly critical for Canvasback, with up to 28,000 recorded, and Redhead, with up to 29,000 recorded during migration. Stillwater Refuge has the world's largest colony of White-faced Ibis. Up to 5,000 American Avocet remain to breed, as do close to 700 of the watch-listed Snowy Plover. (Information compiled from National Audubon Society and Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network).


This prolific area has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society, and a site of global significance by the Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network.

Spring Wings Bird Festival began in 1998 to celebrate the migration through the Lahontan Valley. The mission of the event is to develop and promote an entertaining community activity that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors to Lahontan Valley for the purpose of education and strengthening awareness of the importance of these unique wetlands to the Pacific Flyway and the entire Western Hemisphere. With the help of our volunteers, sponsors and partners, we provide guided tours, interesting speakers, a variety of presentations and workshops encompassing nature, cultural resources and art. There are special activities on Friday designed for local grade school students. The Festival truly delivers something for everyone.