News Release
Southeast Region


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Celebrate Nature at the the 17th Annual Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival

September 20, 2013


  • Bonnie Strawser,  phone: (252) 216-8667
  • Steve Brumfield,  phone: (262) 216-9464
  • Photos available on: Flickr


Brown pelicans at a dredge spoils island.

Brown pelicans at a dredge spoils island.

Photo: Susie Kowlok - USFWS


There’s more than one way to celebrate nature!

There are all sorts of ways to enjoy nature and Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival offers dozens of unique opportunities. Birding, kayaking, natural history tours, photography classes and much more.

Each fall, the festival plays host to hundreds of visitors who travel from across the continent and sometimes from other countries to experience the offerings of the Outer Banks and the nearby mainland portions of Eastern North Carolina. Set for Oct. 22-27, 2013, the six-day event is held in the shoulder season when lodging rates are lower, there is less traffic and the weather is mild.

Broadening the types of program offerings, the festival has added several exciting new programs this year.

Art lovers can spend an entertaining evening in The Old Courthouse in Manteo which is now home to the Dare County Arts Council.

Register for the “Dinner and a Show” to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25, and enjoy a great, light dinner, coffee, tea, beer or wine at the upstairs of the building. A special artists’ reception will be held downstairs, celebrating the month-long exhibit of artwork demonstrating everything wild on the Outer Banks. The downstairs is free and open to the public. Upstairs will be be only for Wings Over Water registrants. Advance reservations are required for the upstairs portion of the event. Cost is $25.

On Thursday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. learn to capture the beauty of nature through watercolors featuring the unique natural landscape of the Outer Banks. Titled, “Watercolor from the Wild,” the day-long course in watercolors will be taught by professional artists Petie Brigham and Fay Davis Edwards. All supplies provided and participants will be able to leave with at least one completed landscape. No experience needed and the class will appeal to both beginners and advance artists. The class is limited to 18 participants and cost $95. Advance registration through required.

Dare, Currituck, Tyrrell and Hyde counties are home to a diverse and fascinating array of wildlife to view, waterways to paddle, art to enjoy, and history to learn. In addition to marine life, black bears, alligators and Red Wolves, hundreds of species of birds are waiting to be spotted.

Paddlers enjoy gliding through the marshes, sounds and ocean and birders take advantage of the six-day event to add to their life lists. With more than 400 species reported in the region, there are limitless possibilities. And it is a favorite location for photographers – both skilled and novices.

Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival is sponsored by the Coastal Wildlife Refuges Society, Dare County Arts Council, The Lost Colony, Elizabethan Gardens, Kitty Hawk Kayaks, Carolina Bird Club, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. Keynote dinner sponsored by Village Reality and Pamlico Jacks restaurant.

Go to to see complete list of programs and to register.


Brown pelicans at a dredge spoils island owned by the State of North Carolina
called "Pelican Island" near Pea Island National Wildlife refuge. One of the most
popular Wings Over Water field trips takes a pontoon boat to a local "pelican island"
where participants walk among hundreds of pelican nests that produced chicks
this season and observe dozens of species of shorebirds. Usually, swallowtail butterflies
are observed and tagged during this trip, as well.


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit  Connect with us on Facebook at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at, and download photos from our Flickr page at


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Last updated: February 20, 2014