PHONE | 970-565-1151
10th Annual


May 7 – May 11, 2014

Birding poster 2014
Reprinted by permission, all rights reserved
Click image to enlarge
Visit Chris’s website for more original bird artwork

The Annual Ute Mountain Mesa Verde Birding Festival provides a popular venue for visiting southwestern Colorado during the second weekend in May. Nestled between alpine and mesa forests and scenic desert canyons, the Four Corner’s intriguingly diverse landscapes, and mild climate, have drawn people to the region for generations. Ancestral Pueblo farmers dwelled in places now known as Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, and Canyon of the Ancients. Today’s meadows, pastures, cultivated fields, historic orchards, stock ponds and reservoirs establish habitat for a wide-spectrum of migratory and resident birds. Some species, such as Lucy’s Warbler, are found no place else in Colorado.

Hosted by the Cortez Cultural Center, the UMMV Birding Festival draws upon the expertise of regional wildlife specialists who volunteer as tour guides and guest lecturers. Each year new tours, and repeat favorites, explore an array of birding hotspots that attract avian species from loons and grebes to sparrows, grosbeaks, and finches. Overnight tours within easy driving distance offer different environs and the prospect of encountering species not found within the Cortez area.

Southwest Colorado’s first birding records date to the 1880s. Tours that combine birding with regional archaeology, ecology, and history take UMMV birders into the realms of gulls, shorebirds, waterfowl, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Bald and Golden eagles, elusive owls, woodpeckers, flycatchers and phoebes, American Dipper, towhees, crossbills, and colorful bluebirds, tanagers, and warblers. The festival’s birding tally has climbed to 180 species.

The UMMV Birding Festival designs activities and tours to fit a gamut of abilities, ages, and interests. Early evening lectures, social hours, a bird-themed art show, and banquet add to the festival’s five days of enjoyment — learning, socializing, and most importantly birding.


2014 Featured Keynote Speaker
Rick Taylor
Founder and director of Borderland Tours in Tucson, Arizona; set a 1988 Big Year record in Mexico with 717 species; author of several guidebooks for Arizona
Rick Taylor, our Keynote Speaker

Hiking up to 500 miles each summer for eight years while conducting research on the Elegant Trogon in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Rick Taylor developed an intimate knowledge of the birds, habitats, and locations throughout Southeastern Arizona. During the course of his research in 1977 he reported the first Eared Quetzal seen in the United States. Inevitably, his interest in trogon ecology led him south into Mexico, then Central, and South America, where he soon discovered the magic of tropical birds.

In 1980 he founded Borderland Tours, a birding company dedicated to responsible ecotourism which operates trips throughout the world. Aside from leading tours to locations from Arizona to Africa and Alaska to Asia every year, Rick has authored location checklists for finding birds in Arizona’s Chiricahua and Huachuca Mountains, as well as Trogons of the Arizona Borderlands and the American Birding Association’s most popular title, A Birder’s Guide to Southeastern Arizona. His Birds of Southeastern Arizona, a regional photo field guide covering all of the regularly-occurring birds in this area as well as all of the Mexican specialties, was published in 2010.

Rick will be presenting
"Six Seasons: A Birding Year in the Land of the Apache"

The Chiricahua Apaches divided their year into 6 seasons based on natural phenomena. Unlike astronomical systems like that of the Maya in the New World or the Gregorian Calendar, a year had no precise length. Instead there were observable transitions in nature that signaled the ebb and flow of seasonal changes. Rick will guide us through these seasonal changes and how they affect bird populations.

Six Seasons: A Birding Year in the Land of the Apache

The six seasons of the Chiricahua Apache




Birdfest Logo
We could not provide this event without the support of the following sponsors, partners, and volunteers:
Dolores Chamber of Commerce
Cortez Chamber of Commerce
Mancos Chamber of Commerce
Ute Mountain Tribal Park
Mesa Verde Country
City of Cortez
San Juan Mountain Association
National Park Service
Bureau of Land Management
National Forest Service
Cortez Retail Enhancement Association
Once Upon a Sandwich
Gridley Family Foundation
Russell & Patsy Brown
Walter & Lynn Henes
Beverly Lawrence
Dolores State Bank
Citizens State Bank
Guy Drew
Colorado Parks & Wildlife
First Natl Bank
Ertel Funeral Home
Sundance Bear Lodge
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
Heart & Soul
Colorado Tourism Office

2005  101 Species
2006  112 Species
2007  124 Species
2008  139 Species
2009  124 Species
2010  166 Species
2011  147 Species
2012  149 Species
2013  180 Species