Birding Festival: May 17, 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 Sunday, May 17, 2020
Another colorful bird viewed during the Birding Festival

Photo courtesy of Diane Cherbak

TOUR #22

Upper Dolores River & Twin Spruce Ponds SWA
Ryan Votta, Asst. Manager, Durango Fish Hatchery, Colorado Parks & Wildlife

6:00 am; $55
Begin birding at the Dolores Ponds, one of the best places to bird in Montezuma County and an eBird hotspot. The diverse habitat offers riparian areas where the Dolores River meets McPhee Reservoir, pinyon-juniper, red-rock cliffs and a series of shallow ponds. Scan for waterfowl, listen for a singing Canyon Wren and hope to spot interesting migrants like American Pelican. Continue north on scenic Hwy 145 with several stops along the way. Lunch at Twin Spruce Ponds State Wildlife Area. Targeted sightings include Empidonax Flycatcher, waterfowl and Spotted Sandpiper. Ruby-crowned & Golden-crowned kinglets, American Dipper, Black Phoebe, Belted Kingfisher and Canada Jay also are potential species. (57 species 2019) Moderate amount of walking, with about 7-8 stops throughout the day. Lunch provided.
REVISEDSOLD OUT!Only 1 Space Available!

TOUR #23

Birding Echo Basin
Ilyse Gold, Wildlife Biologist, Four Corners Biological Consultants, LLC

6:15 am; $50
Bird scenic Echo Basin and up to higher altitudes. With a broad habitat diversity of gently rolling hills, meadows, ponderosa pine forest, spruce/fir forest, riparian areas and a significant pond, sightings might include waterfowl, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Red-naped Sapsucker, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Purple Martin, Olive-sided Flycatcher, warblers, vireos, bluebirds, jays, nuthatches and swallows. Weather permitting, explore the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout and Transfer Park. (50 species 2019) Easy to moderate with some hiking. Lunch provided.
NEWSOLD OUT!Only 1 Space Available!

TOUR #24

Bradfield Bridge
Brenda Wright and Coen Dexter, Colorado Birding Atlas II

6:30 am; $50
Situated on the Dolores River in a migratory corridor below McPhee Dam, the Bradfield Bridge area offers river habitats that entice a broad array of species including Black Phoebe, Peregrine Falcon, Yellow-breasted Chat, Canyon Wren, Lazuli Bunting, Wild Turkey and Belted Kingfisher. Swallows, warblers, raptors, woodpeckers, waterfowl and shorebirds add to the mix. The scenic sandstone canyon may even offer a sighting of river otters. Tours within this region historically have brought some of the UMMV Birding Festival’s highest species tallies. (83 species 2019) Easy. 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 #25

Middle McElmo Creek Corridor
Diane Cherbak, Citizen Scientist and Chairman, UMMV Birding Festival

6:45 am; $50
Perennial McElmo Creek courses often overlooked prime birding areas near the heart of Cortez. A meandering stream, oxbow ponds, wetlands, clay bank gullies, arroyos and a narrow floodplain offer diverse habitats for raptors, owls, Killdeer, Mourning Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Bullock’s Oriole, Wilson’s Snipe, Black Phoebe, bluebirds, jays, swallows, warblers and sparrows. (50 species 2019) Easy. Lunch provided.



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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