Birding Festival: May 21, 2023 Events

We are excited about the 2024 Birding Festival! Save these dates:

May 15 - May 19, 2024

For an idea of the tours, lectures and bird sightings available, take a quick tour through our 2023 events.


16th Annual


May 17 - May 21, 2023

Jump to Events Scheduled for:
Events Scheduled for Sunday, May 21, 2023
Another colorful bird viewed during the Birding Festival

Photo courtesy of Diane Cherbak
Only 1 Space Remaining!

TOUR #19

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

6:00 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, White-throated Swifts, 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 in 2019) SWA pass required. Easy. Lunch provided. Approximately 60 miles round trip.
Only 1 Space Remaining!

TOUR #20

Mesa Verde National Park
Paul Morey, Wildlife Biologist, Mesa Verde National Park

6:15 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. (36 species in 2019) Easy to moderate. Lunch provided. Approximately 75 miles round trip.
Only 1 Space Remaining!

TOUR #21

Montezuma Land Conservancy

Birding Echo Basin

Steve Tarnowski; Emilee Helton, Enthusiastic Birders

6:30 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 in 2019) Easy to moderate with some hiking. Lunch provided. Approximately 50 miles round trip.
Ponderosa pines surround Summit Lake and make great viewing for the Birding Festival

Photo courtesy of Diane Cherbak
Only 1 Space Available!

TOUR #22

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. 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 4:00 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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