Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival

​​​October 16 thru 21, 2018 (main session) and December 7 thru 9, 2018 (WOW Encore session)

Beautiful Wings Over Water T-shirts  Men's & Women's styles $19.50 S-M-L-XL  & $21.50 XXL

               Available at National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center on Roanoke Island and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges Gift Shops                      


George leads birding tours around

the world for Rockjumpers Worldwide Birding Adventures

WOW Partners

Partners volunteer time, equipment, expertise, donations, locations and more.

Photos, Eve Turek


Schedule (date & time) for 99 trips, including the main session in October and WOW Encore in December.

wings over water Overview

George Armistead-Keynote Speaker





In 1997 Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival was begun under the direction of then refuge manager, Mike Bryant, as a way to encourage and offer the public wildlife and wild land interpretation, educational opportunities and experiences on regional national wildlife refuges. This annual national wildlife refuge fundraising event has grown from a few offered activities in 1997, to over 90 birding, paddling, photography, art & natural history programs. The festival takes place in 6 national wildlife refuges over 6 northeast North Carolina counties. It is one of the premier east coast wildlife festivals. Locally, many activities take place on National Park Service property, specifically Cape Hatteras National Seashore, one of the Festival partners. What keeps Wings Over Water going year-after-year with a high registrant return rate? Great, knowledgeable activity leaders along with a small ratio of participants-to-leader (so you don’t get lost in the crowd) and of course wonderful wildlife opportunities.  Every festival leader is a professional in their own field, volunteering their time, travel and expertise. Wing Over Water leaders come from a wide range of professions & fields such as professors, top birders, well-respected botanists and biologist, authors and award-winning photographers and artists. We also have a Wings Over Water session in December just for birding called Wings Over Water (WOW) Encore (dates vary year to year). WOW Encore is held in what is often colder weather. The hope is that there is a better possibility of seeing large flocks of migratory birds and waterfowl than might be present during the October session. Wings Over Water is an annual refuge fundraising event sponsored by Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society (CWRS). CWRS is a non-profit group who exist to support regional national wildlife refuges. WOW, besides providing funds for educational grants to schools, is a part of many CWRS refuge support projects such as maintaining trails and signs and other refuge structures. Also, WOW helps CWRS provide volunteers and staff who are essential to the maintenance and operation of the regional national wildlife refuges visitor centers.

To reach the 2018 WOW registration website:

Registration Now Open