Birding Festival: May 10, 2017 Events

We're excited about the 2018 Birding Festival! Mark the dates on your calendar: May 9 - May 13, 2018. For an idea of the kinds of tours, lectures and bird sightings available, take a quick tour through our 2017 events.

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Events Scheduled for Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Lucy's Warbler

The Lucy’s Warbler is often sighted during the Birding Festival. Photo courtesy of Robert Shantz

Festival Check-in, Cortez Cultural Center Gallery

Noon – 7:00 pm
Full Reg Fee & banquet  $65
Daily registration fee  $15
Banquet only fee  $35
Lectures included with each day’s registration, otherwise $5 at door


Raptors Galore
Kylan Frye, Biologist, Ecosphere Environmental Services

1:00 pm – 5:30 pm; $25
The 2017 UMMV Birding Festival kicks into gear with one of our most popular tours. Head into the field early-afternoon to observe nesting or soaring Bald & Golden eagles, falcons, hawks, and a variety of Four Corners migratory and resident species. Return to the Cultural Center in time to enjoy the evening reception and presentation that focuses on this year’s Sagebrush species theme. (41 species, 2016) Easy.
Montezuma Land Conservancy

Wildflower Walk and Birding at Hawkins Preserve

David Faulkner, Natural Resource Biologist, Retired

1:30 pm – 4:30 pm; $15
Enter this unique 122-acre preserve during the peak of the spring wildflower bloom. Located within the city limits of Cortez, the area has been protected for many years. This is an opportunity to see vegetation from several different habitats: sagebrush, pothole-slickrock, pinyon-juniper, riparian, rimrock and more. Specific useful species will be emphasized for value as dye plants, medicine, wildlife browse, horticulture and of course bird habitat. Expect a mixture of birds from several habitats including nearby “townies.” Species to watch for are Turkey Vulture, Lazuli Bunting, Cassin’s Kingbird, Bewick’s Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Downy Woodpecker, Pinyon Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, nuthatches and nesting bluebirds. Uncommon birds seen include White-winged Dove and Indigo Bunting. Easy.
Blue Lake Ranch and La Plata River Overnight with Owling
Ilyse Gold, Wildlife Biologist, Four Corners Biological Consultants, LLC

Wednesday 2:15 pm – Thursday 3:00 pm; $75
This unique tour presents an exclusive opportunity to observe a wide-range of species within the inspirational landscapes of Blue Lake Ranch. Savor an evening meal at the nearby award-winning Kennebec Café (on your own), then watch and listen for owls. Spend the night and continue birding the next morning. Visit the Old Fort Lewis at Hesperus, which produced the first Four Corners birding records (1870s) and later housed Fort Lewis College (1927-1956). Located at 7,600′ elevation, the area once held ancestral Pueblo village sites. With 6,279 acres and three miles of the La Plata River, the land enfolds two springs, 1,200 acres of ponderosa pine, 150 acres of narrowleaf cottonwood and 500 acres of irrigated hay meadows. From the fort, travel to the lush gardens and pond at Blue Lake Ranch. Some of last year’s avian tour celebrities included: American Wigeon, Cinnamon & Green-winged teals, Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Duck, Eared Grebe, Wilson’s Snipe, Peregrine Falcon, Dusky Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Tree, Violet-green, Barn & Rough-winged swallows, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Western & Mountain bluebirds, Vesper Sparrow, and Evening & Black-headed grosbeaks. (69 species, 2016) Easy. Transportation and lodging at Blue Lake Ranch (888-258-3525 or 970-385-4537) not included in tour fee. Reserve by April 21st and mention birding festival to receive special rate. Catered lunch provided on Thursday.
Birding Festival Photo

Water birds are frequently spotted this time of year. Photo © Tim Reeves


Brews, Bites & Birds Welcome Reception at Cortez Cultural Center Gallery

5:30 – 7:30 pm
Join us for the welcome reception, which includes beer tasting from four local microbreweries, appetizers and a bird art show. $5/glass or $10 for unlimited tastings.


Lecture: “Species of the Sagebrush Sea and the Birds that “Swim” There”
David Faulkner, Natural Resource Biologist, Retired

6:15 pm – 7:15 pm
An introduction to this year’s theme habitat variously referred to as sagebrush habitat, sagebrush landscape and as “The Sagebrush Sea.” It comprises more than 120 million acres in the intermountain West. It supports approximately 90 bird species and around 85 mammal species. For birders, it is one of the most challenging and under-appreciated areas to visit. There is a tendency to overlook small inconspicuous species referring to them as LBBs or LGBs – little brown birds or little gray birds which can comprise about one-third of the birds in the habitat. This lecture will focus on that mosaic of landscapes, the pressures on the area and the species that reside there.


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