Winter Wildlife Festival

Join us for a month-long celebration of coastal wildlife and nature! We're going the distance this year and presenting virtual and in-person components to ensure a safe, yet engaging experience for all. See all the festival highlights below.
The 2023 Winter Wildlife Festival will be January 28 through February 5. Registration will open November 15th! Stay tuned for more details. 

 Photo Contest Winners

2022 Photo Contest Winners

Hover over the image to navigate through the gallery!

2022 Winter Wildlife Photo Contest Winners

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Virtual Keynote

 Birding Challenge

2022 Team Birding Challenge Results

​Big Day Division

​Mini Day Division

​Bayckyard Birding

Baldelli McDaniels
​94 Species *WINNER*
What the Flock
​47 Species * WINNER*
​Nuthatch Nuts
​33 Species *WINNER*
​Gotta Watch ‘Em All 
​43 Species
​Toucan Do It
​43 Species
​22 Species
Victoria’s Egreat 

​25 Species
​Yellow Crowned Night Herons
​25 Species
​Team Chickadee
​16 Species
​Team Lalime
​21 Species
​9 Species

Best Team Photo: Dirty Bird Podcast

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 ‭(Hidden)‬ Virtual Workshops & Events

Couldn't make it? Click here to view recordings of our virtual workshops.

Virtual Workshops & Events

Fee-based | Online registration is required. 

E-bird Basics  | 16 & up

E-bird is an important tool not only for tracking your birding “life list” but also to contribute to citizen science. This course will teach you how to set up an e-bird account and track species when birding. Recommended for those who are participating in the Birding Challenge but are not familiar with the e-bird platform. 

​Virtual, Zoom
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday,  January 15 | 11 am

RU a Naturalist? Let me show U how iNaturalist  | 16 & up

Join Jody Ullmann for a fun, interactive Zoom lesson about the iNaturalist platform.  This application allows you to not only capture information about the flora and fauna you see, but to share it with scientists around the world. The best part is that there is a world of experts just waiting to help you identify things that you see. Learn how to download and use the app and get tips and tricks for better cell phone photos.  We will learn a little about ongoing citizen science projects that use this app and how you can help collect data.

​Virtual, Zoom
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Saturday, January 22 | 9:30 am

Coastal Virginia Hawkwatch  | 16 & up

Brian Taber, President of Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory (CVWO) and its Raptor Research Team Leader, will present an overview on CVWO's raptor research. He will discuss CVWO's hawkwatches at Kiptopeke State Park on Virginia's Eastern Shore and at College Creek near Williamsburg. He will also share information about North America's hawkwatches in general and provide a few basic tips on identification of raptors.

​Virtual, Zoom
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Tuesday,  January 25 |  10 am

Birding Skill-builder Workshop | 16 & up

Are you just starting to get into birds? Do you enjoy watching them around your home and neighborhood and wish you knew how to identify them? Then this class is for you! Jessica Ruthenberg, a DWR Watchable Wildlife Biologist, will introduce you to the rewarding hobby of birding and will cover all the basic skills to help you get started. Topics covered will include the seven key identification clues, including the how-tos of observing birds by sight and sound; tips for finding and spotting birds; plus helpful resources and equipment. Participants in this virtual workshop are encouraged to join Jessica in-person to practice these skills in the accompanying optional field session. Recommended for new birders.

​Virtual, Zoom
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Thursday,  January 27 | 12:00 pm

From Rainbows to Rattles: The conservation & management of snakes in Southeastern Virginia | 16 & up

Southeastern Virginia is home to 24 species of snake, including all three of Virginia's venomous species and others that reach the northern extent of their range. In this presentation, J.D. Kleopfer (State Herpetologist) will present a general overview of their ecology and some of the conservation efforts and management challenges that DWR has been involved with over the past 15 years. 

​Virtual, Zoom
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Friday,  January 28 | 10:00 am

The Butcher Bird: Conservation of the Loggerhead Shrike in Virginia | 16 & up

Sergio Harding, Nongame Bird Conservation Biologist with the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), will introduce you to the Loggerhead Shrike, a charismatic and imperiled bird, affectionately known as "the Butcher Bird." He will present an overview of the status and natural history of Loggerhead Shrike with a focus on Virginia and will also discuss what DWR and partners are doing to help reverse shrike declines in Virginia and beyond.

​Virtual, Zoom
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
Friday,  January 28 | 1:00 pm

Festival Keynote: “The Bird Way” with Jennifer Ackerman | 16 & up

The multimedia presentation on ‘The Bird Way’ explores a kaleidoscope of fascinating behaviors in the bird world through the lens of five arenas of daily activity—communication, work, play, love, and parenting.  It tells stories about some of the extraordinary ways that birds do these things and the secret, sophisticated intelligence underlying their behavior.  The talk also explores the new discoveries that are overturning many of our old, conventional ideas about how birds live their lives, describes how science is making some of these astonishing discoveries and shows the most stunning examples from each section of the book.  The talk ranges from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan to the rolling hills of Lower Austria and the islands of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay and includes audio, video, and spectacular photos by professional photographers. Once registered, you will receive information via email on how to join this session through Zoom.

​Virtual, Zoom
​Free, Registration Required
​Date & Time
​Friday, January 28 | 7:00 - 8:30 pm

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Photo Contest

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Exhibit Hall

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Trips & Excursions

 Community Art Project

2022 Community Art Project!

This year, we encouraged artists to work with materials they might have thought to throw away, including random scraps of paper, cardboard, natural materials, painted leftover pieces of paper to make a piece of art that represents the birds, and other animals that we observe in Hampton Roads.

Individual submissions were then assembled into a quilt and a collage was created showing all the beautiful submissions we received! 

This project was inspired by "The Scraps Book" by Lois Ehlert. Watch the video to the left to learn more about the book.

Check it out (click the photo to view full size): 
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 ‭(Hidden)‬ StoryWalk ®

 Wildlife Advocate Award

Mary Reid Barrow Wildlife Advocate Award

Named after Mary Reid Barrow, who devoted her entire career to engaging the public about our natural environment, the Wildlife Advocate Award was created in 2020 as a way to honor those in our community that strive to make a difference for wildlife and the environment. Barrow's weekly columns made nature relatable to the average person and she was a gentle, but tireless, advocate for wildlife. She continues to serve the community through her involvement with environmental non-profits and campaigns. 

2022's Winner: Reese Lukai

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Reese has been active in the wildlife community for over 30 years. He is a dedicated volunteer whose observations on raptor habits and habitats have been shared numerous ways and have benefited both biologists and bird enthusiasts alike. He has been a mentor to many in the wildlife community and is known for his love of engaging in discussions on the topic. 

He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge Society and continues to volunteer time and expertise on refuge projects. An avid photographer, Reese is always willing to share his vast skill and knowledge with others. In 2017, the Reese F. Lukai, Jr. Raptor Trail – a network of trails in southeastern Virginia – was dedicated in appreciation of his decades of volunteer work with raptor conservation, wildlife education and nature trails.

Read the full press release here

2021's Winner: Meredith Broadhurst

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Broadhurst is a valued member of the wildlife rehabilitation community who goes above and beyond to help injured animals in need. Answering the calls of concerned citizens at all times of day or night, her dedication knows no bounds when it comes to assisting wildlife. To aid in her work, she raises funds and finds creative ways to educate the greater community through social media, outreach, training, and workshops. Through those efforts, she has also established a network of other caring individuals to share in the work of caring for the animals. It is for all of those reasons that she was nominated and selected as the 2021 award recipient. 
Read the press release.

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Resources

Special Thanks to our Festival Partners

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Contact Information