Birding Festival: May 19, 2024 Events

17th Annual


May 15 - May 19, 2024

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Events Scheduled for Sunday, May 19, 2024
Only 1 Space Remaining!

TOUR #25

Boggy Draw
Amanda White, Vice-President Durango Bird Club

6:00 am – 3:00 pm; $55
The mixture of habitats in Boggy Draw incorporates mature and young ponderosa pine forest, mixed scrub oak/mountain shrub understory, wetlands and mountain meadows. Anticipated bird species include Red Crossbill, Western Tanager, Pygmy Nuthatch, Virginia’s Warbler, Western Wood-Pewee, Western Bluebird, Brown Creeper, House Wren, Lewis & Hairy woodpeckers, Mountain Chickadee, Dusky Grouse, Sharp-shinned Hawk and who knows what else? (44 species in 2023) Easy road and trail hiking. Lunch provided. Approximately 50 miles round trip.
Black-headed Grosbeak, photo by Tim Reeves

Photo courtesy of Tim Reeves
Only 1 Space Remaining!

TOUR #26

Montezuma Land Conservancy

Trail Canyon

Mike Thompson, Professional Geologist and eBird Reviewer for Southwest Colorado

6:15 am – 3:00 pm; $55
Trail Canyon, an isolated oasis, features 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. (54 species in 2023) Moderate with a hike of up to three miles round trip. Lunch provided. Approximately 30 miles round trip.
Scrub Jay, photo by Erik Hendrickson

Photo courtesy of Erik Hendrickson
Only 1 Space Remaining!

TOUR #27

Montezuma Land Conservancy

At the Foot of the Mesa

Don Marsh, Senior Systems Analyst, Retired and eBird Reviewer

6:30 am – 3:00 pm; $55
The iconic RSL Ranch, registered as a Centennial Farm since the 1980s, has a rich heritage. Having homesteaded just north of this property in 1874, the Lee family represents a long lineage of local farmers and ranchers in Montezuma County. Backdropped by Mesa Verde National Park, the ranch holds 1060 acres of scenic sagebrush rangeland. Flycatchers, Pinyon Jay, Northern Mockingbird, Chipping, Brewer’s, Lark & Black-throated sparrows, raptors, waterfowl and swallows are possible. (30 species in 2023) Easy. Lunch provided. Approximately 20 miles round trip.
Birders at the Birding Festival, photo by Diane Cherbak

Photo courtesy of Diane Cherbak
Only 1 Space Remaining!

TOUR #28

Montezuma Land Conservancy

Nature Center at Butler Corner and Beyond

Vern Gersh, Naturalist Ranger, Bureau of Land Management, Retired; Terry McLaughlin, Naturalist, Mono Lake Committee, Retired

6:45 am – 3:00 pm; $55
Butler Corner sits adjacent to national forest above Dolores. Observe Broad-tailed Hummingbird and Barn Swallow before embarking upon easy trails that cover approximately two miles. With more than 50 nest boxes along the trails, expect to see Mountain & Western bluebirds as well as Tree Swallow and House Wren. The expanded tour includes the House Creek area. Habitats of pinyon-juniper, mature Ponderosa Pine, an open understory of Gambel Oak and mountain shrubs attract chickadees, Northern Flicker, Black-chinned Hummingbird, White-breasted Nuthatch, Violet-green Swallow, and Spotted Towhee. (27 species in 2023) Easy to moderate. Lunch provided. Approximately 40 miles round trip.
Numerous small birds are spotted at the Birding Festival. Photo by Diane Cherbak.

Photo courtesy of Diane Cherbak
Only 1 Space Remaining!

TOUR #29

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

7:00 am – 3:00 pm; $55
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, Lazuli Bunting, bluebirds, jays, swallows, wrens, warblers and sparrows. (41 species in 2023) Easy with some hiking. Lunch provided. Approximately 30 miles round trip.

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.
  • Carpools/caravanning will be used for all tours. Drivers will be reimbursed for gas by passengers at the GSA rate of 66 cents per mile, divided among all participants in the vehicle.
  • 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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