Birding Festival: May 9, 2018 Events

15th Annual


May 8 - May 12, 2019

We're excited about the 2019 Birding Festival! Mark the dates on your calendar: May 8 - May 12, 2019. For an idea of the kinds of tours, lectures and bird sightings available, take a quick tour through our 2018 events.

Take a look at the events from last year's Festival:

Events Scheduled for Wednesday, May 9, 2018
A raptor seen during the Birding Festival

Photo courtesy of Diane Cherbak

Festival Check-in, Cortez Cultural Center Gallery

Noon – 7:00 pm
Full Reg Fee & banquet  $65
Daily registration fee  $15
Banquet only fee  $35
Lectures included with each day’s registration, otherwise $5 at door


Raptors Galore
Jim Ramakka, Certified Wildlife Biologist and Fellow of The Wildlife Society

1:00 pm – 5:00 pm; $25
The 2018 UMMV Birding Festival kicks into gear with one of our most popular tours. Head into the field early afternoon to observe nesting or soaring Bald & Golden eagles, falcons, hawks and a variety of Four Corners migratory and resident species. Return to the Cultural Center in time to enjoy the evening reception and a presentation on owls. (29 species, 2017) Easy.
Montezuma Land Conservancy

Wildflower Walk and Birding at Hawkins Preserve

David Faulkner, Natural Resource Biologist, Retired; Erik Hendrickson, National Park Service Engineer, Retired

2:00 pm – 4:30 pm; $15
Enter this unique 122-acre preserve during the peak of the spring wildflower bloom. Located within the city limits of Cortez, the area has been protected for many years. This is an opportunity to see vegetation from several different habitats: sagebrush, pothole-slickrock, pinyon-juniper, riparian, rimrock and more. Specific useful species will be emphasized for value as dye plants, medicine, wildlife browse, horticulture and of course bird habitat. Expect a mixture of birds from several habitats including American Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawk and possibly Gray Vireo and Black-throated Gray Warbler. Species to watch for are Turkey Vulture, Lazuli Bunting, Western Kingbird, Bewick’s Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Downy Woodpecker, Pinyon Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, nuthatches and nesting bluebirds. Uncommon birds might include White-winged Dove and Blue Grosbeak. Easy.
Birding Festival Photo

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


Brews, Bites & Birds Welcome Reception at Cortez Cultural Center Gallery

5:30 – 7:30 pm
Join us for the welcome reception, which includes beer tasting from four local microbreweries, appetizers and a bird art show. $5/glass or $10 for unlimited tastings.


Lecture: “Colorado Owls…of Witches and Folklore”
John Rawinski, San Luis Valley Birding Network coordinator, author/photographer, US Forest Service Soil Specialist, Retired

5:45 pm – 6:45 pm
Owls have long been the fascination of humans for their nocturnal nature and unique eyes. Owls have been thought to be portents of death, curses, or disaster. They even have been considered to be “brujas” or witches by Hispanic cultures, where the only remedy was to destroy the owl and dispose of its body. Yet, the owl is often projected as a wise creature, promoting wisdom and strength. This presentation will give you an overview of Colorado owls and also some of the folklore related to these mysterious birds of the night.
Owl Prowl
Glenn Dunmire, Field Biologist

7:15 pm – 11:00 pm; $25
After the evening presentation on owls, head out to listen for and possibly to sight some Four Corners owl species: Barn, Great Horned, Flammulated, Burrowing, Long-eared, Northern Saw-whet and Western Screech. 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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