Birding Festival: May 9, 2019 Events

16th Annual


May 13 - May 17, 2020

We're excited about the 2020 Birding Festival! Mark the dates on your calendar: May 13 - May 17, 2020. For an idea of the kinds of tours, lectures and bird sightings available, take a quick tour through our 2019 events.

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Events Scheduled for Thursday, May 9, 2019
A scaled quail seen during the Birding Festival

Photo courtesy of Charles Haspel


Mancos River in Mesa Verde National Park
Paul Morey, Wildlife Biologist, Mesa Verde National Park

6:00 am; $55
Explore this secluded, pristine terrain along the Mancos River with Mesa Verde’s wildlife biologist. Besides learning the history of this part of MVNP, discuss future restoration and management of the area. Travel mostly off-trail on flat to uneven terrain through grass, big sage & juniper uplands and riparian areas dominated by willow and cottonwoods. Past species: Wild Turkey, raptors, flycatchers, swallows, Black-chinned & Broad-tailed hummingbirds, Plumbeous Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat, Yellow, Yellow-rumped & Black-throated Gray warblers and Lazuli Bunting. (54 species, 2018) Moderate hike, up to three miles round trip. Lunch provided.


Lower Dolores River Canyon
Aimee Way, Biologist, Wingate Biological Solutions, LLC

6:15 am; $50
Explore the slightly warmer micro-climate of the Dolores River’s dramatic lower canyon about 15 miles downstream from Bradfield Bridge. Beneath red rock cliffs, walk through riparian habitat filled with early arriving spring migrants and resident species. The locale is ideal for hearing and seeing Golden Eagle, Swainson’s & Red-tailed hawks, sparrows, swifts, swallows, thrushes, vireos, warblers, wrens and falcons. (56 species, 2017) Easy. Lunch provided.


Ute Mountain Tribal Park
Linda Martin, Supervisory Interpretive Park Ranger, Mesa Verde National Park, Retired

6:30 am; $70
Combine birding with experiencing Mancos Canyon’s archaeological sites. Saltbush and sage bottomlands invite Sage Thrasher, Burrowing Owl, Scaled & Gambel’s quails and Lark, Sage & Black-throated sparrows. Willows and cottonwoods along the streambed attract Yellow-breasted Chat, tanagers, warblers, Indigo & Lazuli buntings and Blue Grosbeak. Glyph-inscribed cliffs provide habitat for raptors, swifts, wrens and owls. Black Phoebe may nest under a bridge. Vireos and flycatchers frequent pinyon-juniper uplands. (50 species, 2018) Easy. Lunch while overlooking ancient cliff dwellings.
Just one of many species seen during the Birding Festival

Photo courtesy of Diane Cherbak


Montezuma Land Conservancy

Hartman Draw & Fozzie’s Farm

Kristina Kline, Wildlife Biologist, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies

6:45 am; $50
Hartman Draw’s diversity of habitats – grassland, marsh, riparian, wetland, wet meadow, pinyon- juniper and sagebrush shrubland, attract raptors, Juniper Titmouse, Horned Lark, Western Tanager, Marsh Wren, Wilson’s Snipe and Savannah Sparrow. Fozzie’s Farm, donated as a preservation and education area, enfolds irrigated pastureland, ponds and wetlands. Target birds: American Pipit, White-faced Ibis, Golden Eagle, Long-billed Curlew, Great Blue Heron, Burrowing Owl and Northern Harrier. Also watch for Red-tailed, Ferruginous & Swainson’s hawks, Common Snipe, White-breasted Nuthatch, White-crowned Sparrow, magpies, meadowlarks and bluebirds. Gently sloping, uneven and possibly wet terrain. Lunch provided.
Birding Festival Photo

Black backed gull. Photo © Tim Reeves



“Digiscoping Workshop”
Ryan Crouse, Manager Arizona Field Optics & Jay’s Bird Barn, Prescott

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
This presentation covers a variety of optics, how to use them effectively and specifically how they pertain to digiscoping – using a digital camera to record a distant image by coupling it with an optical telescope. Hands-on lessons possible.

“Shorebirds of the Four Corners Region”
Tim Reeves, Professor, San Juan College, Farmington, Retired

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Reeves presents tips for identifying shorebird species observed in the Four Corners with photos, sighting dates and locales. Discussion examines the impact of climate change on the occurrences of these birds in our region.


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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