Birding Festival: May 12, 2019 Events

16th Annual


May 13 - May 17, 2020

We're excited about the 2020 Birding Festival! Mark the dates on your calendar: May 13 - May 17, 2020. For an idea of the kinds of tours, lectures and bird sightings available, take a quick tour through our 2019 events.

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Events Scheduled for Sunday, May 12, 2019
Another colorful bird viewed during the Birding Festival

Photo courtesy of Diane Cherbak

TOUR #25

Lone Dome and the Glade
Glenn Dunmire, Field Biologist

6:00 am; $50
Situated on the Dolores River in a migratory corridor below McPhee Dam, the Lone Dome area includes a scenic sandstone canyon, historic hay fields and rocky pinyon-juniper slopes. The varied terrain offers river habitats that entice species like Black Phoebe, Peregrine Falcon, Yellow-breasted Chat, Canyon Wren, Lazuli Bunting and Belted Kingfisher. Swallows, warblers, raptors, sparrows, waterfowl and shorebirds add to the mix. Up-mountain from the canyon is a ponderosa and aspen forest with high mountain meadows. The Glade features an ephemeral lake that attracts waterfowl and shorebirds. Tours within this region have brought some of the Birding Festival’s highest species tallies. (75 species, 2018) Easy. Lunch provided.
EXPANDEDSOLD OUT!Only 1 Space Available!

TOUR #26

Montezuma Land Conservancy

Trail Canyon

Ilyse Gold, Wildlife Biologist, Four Corners Biological Consultants, LLC

6:15 am; $50
Trail Canyon, an isolated oasis, comprises historic homesteader ranches now in conservancy. Located north of McElmo Creek, the dramatic geography includes sheer canyon walls and a beautiful waterfall. The riparian, juniper, cottonwood and sage prairie habitats lie within a migratory path and provide opportunities to see a variety of flycatchers, vireos, Yellow, Wilson’s, Orange-crowned & maybe MacGillivray’s warblers, Yellow-breasted Chat, Lazuli Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, American Kestrel and the occasional Golden Eagle. (46 species, 2018) Moderate with a hike of up to three miles round trip. Lunch provided.
NEWSOLD OUT!Only 1 Space Available!

TOUR #27

Mesa Verde National Park
Erik Hendrickson, Engineer, National Park Service, Retired

6:30 am; $50
Explore a variety of birding locales in this world-famous national park, well-known for archaeological sites and varied pristine habitats. Possible sightings include accipiters, Peregrine Falcon, Downy Woodpecker, Virginia’s & Black-throated Gray warblers, Juniper Titmouse, Ash-throated & Dusky flycatchers, Western Tanager, Western Wood-Pewee, Lazuli Bunting, Green-tailed & Spotted towhees, Rock & Bewick’s wrens, Clark’s Nutcracker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, swifts and hummingbirds. (41 species, 2018) Easy to moderate. Lunch provided.
Ponderosa pines surround Summit Lake and make great viewing for the Birding Festival

Photo courtesy of Diane Cherbak
Only 1 Space Available!

TOUR #28

Lost Canyon & the Lake at Summit Ridge
Martin Cuntz, Youth Birding Ambassador

6:45 am; $50
Lost Canyon lies tucked between Haycamp Mesa and the flat lowlands north of Mesa Verde. This riparian corridor, which served early ranchers and loggers as the historic route for a narrow- gauge railroad and the Galloping Goose, attracts passerines and flycatchers. The beautiful stands of ponderosa forest are home to Grace’s Warbler, nuthatches, woodpeckers and accipiters. Summit Lake SWA attracts waterfowl and shorebirds. The willows and trees surrounding the lake harbor warblers, sparrows, flycatchers, bluebirds and more. Easy road and trail hiking. Lunch provided.

TOUR #29

Mother’s Day Mancos Special
Donna Thatcher, Director, Riverside Nature Center at the Farmington Museum

7:00 am $50 (you)/$25 (Mom)
Treat your mother to a special outing on her day. Visit a prime site for cavity nesters near Mancos before birding at Cottonwood Park. The riparian habitats attract species like grosbeaks, orioles, Black and Say’s phoebes, hummingbirds, warblers and possibly an American Dipper. Proceed to a private home located in pinyon-juniper woodlands at the base of Mesa Verde. Enjoy a delectable brunch with more birding opportunities while taking in the inspiring 360-degree view. Jays, woodpeckers, Violet-green Swallows, Western Bluebird, Mountain Chickadee, Juniper Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch and Black-throated Gray Warbler could add to the mix. Reduced tour fee for mothers accompanied by an offspring paying full tour fee. (44 species 2018) Easy.


songbird silhouetteBirding Festival General Information

  • The Ute Mountain Mesa Verde Birding Festival is the major fundraiser for the Cortez Cultural Center. All proceeds benefit the Center.
  • All tours require pre-registration.
  • A registration fee is required for all tours except as noted. Full registration includes keynote banquet and all lectures. Daily registration includes that day's lectures. Full registration is required in order to qualify for the free early bird t-shirt.
  • Unless otherwise noted, tours will return to the Center at approximately 3:00 pm.
  • Van transportation is provided except as noted.
  • Tour size is generally 13 or less.
  • Cancellations considered on a case by case basis up to 21 days prior to start of Festival. All cancellations subject to a processing fee.
  • Availability of restrooms depends on the tour. Nearly all guides scout out restroom locations as well as bird species. Some tours are in parks or other facilities that have established restrooms. Some have outhouses. Others, the only option are bushes. Usually the leader will mention the restroom plan at the beginning of the tour.
  • All tours depart from and return to the Cortez Cultural Center.
  • Tour times listed are the DEPARTURE time. Please arrive 15 minutes prior.

For Birding Festival information email

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