Birding Festival: May 13, 2020 Events

The Birding Festival is BACK for 2023! Mark the dates on your calendar: May 17 - May 21, 2023. For an idea of the kinds of tours, lectures and bird sightings available, take a quick tour through our 2020 events, and stay tuned for more information about our 2023 Keynote Speaker, Lectures and Tours.

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Events Scheduled for Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A raptor seen during the Birding Festival

Photo courtesy of Diane Cherbak
FESTIVAL CHECK-IN, Cortez Cultural Center Gallery

12:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Full Reg Fee & banquet $70
Daily registration fee $15
(no reg. fee req’d for teens)
Banquet only fee  $40
Lectures included with each day’s registration,
otherwise $5 at door




Denny Lake, Simon Draw & Totten Reservoir
Erik Hendrickson, Engineer, National Park Service, Retired

12:30 pm – 5:30 pm; $35
Among the best places to bird in Montezuma County are Totten Reservoir (eBird Hotspot #1) and Denny Lake (Hotspot #2). For the UMMV Birding Festival, the Bureau of Reclamation is allowing participants to visit the wetlands at Simon Draw, normally closed in spring for waterfowl nesting. Constructed in 1907, Totten holds some of the oldest bird records in the county. Look for ducks, grebes, herons, ibis and marsh birds such as Yellow-headed Blackbird and Sora. At Simon Draw find more ducks, possible migrating shorebirds, Virginia Rail, sparrows and Sage Thrasher in the scrub surrounding the constructed ponds. Bald Eagles and other raptors nest near both Totten and Simon Draw and often are seen hunting. At Denny Lake, look for warblers in the mature cottonwoods, sparrows in the shrubs lining the lakeshore, swallows skimming the lake and flycatchers perched on fences. Easy.


Montezuma Land Conservancy

Wildflower Walk at Hawkins Preserve

David Faulkner, Natural Resource Biologist, Retired

1:30 pm – 4:30 pm; $25
Walk Hawkins Preserve’s trails during peak wildflower bloom. Protected for decades, these 122 acres within Cortez’s city limits incorporate vegetation of native habitats: sagebrush, pothole-slickrock, pinyon-juniper, riparian, rim rock and more. Specific species are emphasized for value as dye plants, medicine, wildlife browse, horticulture and bird habitat. (17 species 2019) Moderate, up to one mile flat walking.



Falcons & Eagles & Owls…Oh My!
Carolyn Gunn, Veterinarian, Retired; Linda Raczek, former Manager, Hawkins Preserve

2:30 pm – 8:30 pm; $40
The ever-popular raptor tour within the Cortez area has expanded to incorporate early evening hours. Diurnal species could include Bald and Golden eagles, Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Great-horned Owl, Barn Owl and Burrowing Owl. Some of these species might be observed on or near their nests. Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Cooper’s Hawk and Sharp-shinned Hawk are other raptor possibilities. Easy.
Birding Festival Photo

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

“Optics 101”
Eric Moore, Owner Jay’s Bird Barn, Prescott, AZ

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Learn the basics of optics used for bird watching, including both binoculars and spotting scopes. Topics covered include learning about magnification, objective lens sizes, field of view, depth of view, light-gathering, steadiness and weight, and how all of these factors influence your bird-viewing experiences. Learn what the primary differences are between using a compact pair, compared to a mid-sized or a full-sized binocular. Hands-on lessons possible.
Brews, Bites & Birds WELCOME RECEPTION

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Cortez Cultural Center Gallery
Join fellow bird enthusiasts during the UMMV Birding Festival’s welcome reception. Enjoy beer, wine & hard cider tastings from local microbreweries, appetizers and a bird art exhibit. $10 for unlimited tastings.


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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