This monthly Speaker Series will showcase our outstanding roster of naturalists, filmmakers, ornithologists, photographers, and other fascinating speakers.

Expect our Speaker Series email alerts approximately 48-72 hours before our scheduled online events. The emails will have important details including our Zoom link and passcode. Our online Speaker Series has a first come, first serve sign-in basis with a limit of 100 participants. If you’d like to sign up for our general emails, including our Speaker Series email alerts, please email us at


Each of our online Speaker Series presentations will begin at 11 am Pacific Time. There is no cost to sign in to our online series; but, if you would like to make a donation to Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival, please see the Home Page

A recorded version will be available for two weeks afterwards - 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2020 at 11 am Pacific Time (MST)

Edible Plants in Southeastern Arizona 

The San Pedro River Valley and surrounding sky island mountain ranges such as the Huachucas mark the northern limit of many plants from the subtropical Sierra Madre Mountains. Mike Foster will talk about some of these edible and medicinal species and describe how early people would have had plenty of plant resources to draw from. Especially in summer, there is no shortage of wild edible plants that we can collect and try in our own homes. 

Mike Foster has been making videos about Sonora, Mexico and southern Arizona for the last thirteen years. He has posted nearly 300 educational videos about the flora, fauna and cultural history of the region. Much of his early work was done with the Friends of the San Pedro River and he now works as the interpretive person for the Friends of the Huachuca Mountains at the Carr House Information Center.


He has done significant work for the El Pinicate and Sierra Alamos Rio Cuchujaqui Reserves in Sonora and his work also appears on the Coronado National Memorial Park web pages in the US. Mike has lived in Bisbee for the last 35 years from where he launches his filming trips across the Southwest.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2020 at 11 am Pacific Time (MST)

The Magical, Mysterious World of Moths 

Moths are so much more than sweater chomping, crop raiding menaces. They are abundant, beautiful, and fascinating insects, a hidden diversity that lies just outside your front door. This presentation by Jeff Babson celebrates moths, the wonderfully diverse, mostly nocturnal cousins of butterflies. We explore the life cycle, classification, and diversity of moths, focusing on southern Arizona's species.

Jeff Babson is a naturalist, with expertise in birds, butterflies, moths, and dragonflies. He lives in Vail, AZ, just southeast of Tucson. He got his start in birding when is grandfather gave him a field guide when he was in kindergarten. That was the beginning of a lifelong passion for birds. That passion quickly grew to include just about everything that moves or has roots. Prior to moving to Vail, Jeff lived in the Bahamas for eight years, enjoying many Caribbean specialties and North American migrants. Now, Jeff owns Sky Island Tours a natural history education and eco-tour company. Jeff is also Wildlife Viewing Program Specialist for Pima County Department of Natural Resources, Parks, and Recreation.


WEDNESDAY, JULY 29, 2020 at 11 am Pacific Time (MST)



The Very Worst Bird Names Ever - and Why They Really Aren't That Bad

Have you ever found yourself trying to explain to a new birder why that fancy black and white duck is not called a "ring-billed," or why that woodpecker with the red head is called a Red-bellied Woodpecker? It seems that bird names just don't make that much sense sometimes. Join Rick Wright of Victor Emanuel Nature Tours to discover just what went into naming some of our familiar birds and how tracking down the stories behind the misnomers can make some of them seem not quite so bad after all.

If you missed Rick Wright's talk, a recording is available until August 12, 2020. Watch it here


Rick Wright leads Birds and Art tours for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. Rick attended the University of Nebraska and Harvard Law School, and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University. He and his wife, the medievalist Alison Beringer, used to live in Tucson before Alison's work took them to northern New Jersey.


Among Rick’s many publications are the ABA Field Guide to Birds of New Jersey, the ABA Field Guide to Birds of Arizona, and most recently the Peterson Reference Guide to American Sparrows.

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Southwest Wings

Birding Festival

Sierra Vista, Arizona

© 2020

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