Su Rynard’s contemplative documentary “The Messenger” explores our deep-seated connection to birds and warns that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own.
Following the film Dr. Jackie Canterbury, local ornithologist and President of the Bighorn Chapter of the Audubon Society, will lead a discussion about the status of our local songbirds and generate ideas and actions that can be taken locally to develop a more “bird-friendly” community here in Sheridan. Refreshments will be provided.
- Lake Pueblo Eagle Days - Pueblo (February 5 - 7)
This special weekend celebrates the Bald Eagles that winter at the park and the other birds of prey that call Lake Pueblo home. Come enjoy amazing viewing opportunities, programs and presentations, kid's activities and a popular photo contest. Held at Lake Pueblo State Park and the Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo. All activities are free, but a valid parks pass is required for each vehicle that goes through the park or enters the Nature Center. For additional information, visit the Eagle Days website, or call 719/561-9320.
Bald Eagle Festival - Barr Lake State Park (Early/Mid-February)
February is an excellent month for bald eagle viewing, including nesting pairs and many other wintering eagles. Eagles begin their courtship behavior in January, including tumbling in mid-air, nest building, and staying close together. In mid-February, and often coinciding with Valentine’s Day, bald eagles lay one to three eggs. Celebrate this unique time at Barr Lake by attending the Bald Eagle Festival at the nature center. A Parks pass is required to enter the park ($7 daily/$70 annual). For more information, see the Barr Lake page.
High Plains Snow Goose Festival - Lamar (February 18 - 21)
Numbering at least six million, lesser snow geese are considered to be the most abundant goose in the world! Four distinct populations are recognized. The lesser snow geese you will see at the High Plains Snow Goose Festival are part of the Western Central Flyway population that are on their way back to the Canadian Arctic where they nest. This flock winters in southeastern Colorado, New Mexico, the Texas panhandle and northern Mexico.
The festival offers tours, educational programs, presentations, arts and crafts, and a banquet! Visit the festival's website.
March / April
Monte Vista Crane Festival - Monte Vista (March 13 - 15)
The festival hosts wildlife experts, local naturalists, and biologists who present educational workshops at the Monte Vista Middle School (workshops are free!), while flocks of dancing sandhills assemble in the neighboring farm fields, just east of town. Bus tours to the nearby refuge and adjacent farmlands provide visitors with the opportunity to view this spectacle up close and personal, with a knowledgeable local guide. Special tours feature raptor identification, sunset trips to view cranes, a visit to a local potato warehouse (with free potatoes) and visits to closed areas of the refuge for Crane Fest participants.
For a listing of scheduled workshops, registration information, and more, go to the festival's website or call 719/852-2731.
Eckert Crane Days - Eckert/Delta County (March 19 - 20)
Colorado Owl Festival - Pueblo (March 27 - 28)
Join the Nature & Raptor Center of Pueblo, Pueblo County Library District, Pueblo Zoo, Arkansas Valley Audubon Society and Mountain Park Environmental Center for a weekend of all things owl. Highlights of the weekend include live owl demonstrations, night hikes, special workshops and presentations by owl experts. Family activities include owl crafts, owl stories, an owl movie and an owl pellet dissection. Event location is at 5200 Nature Center Rd, Pueblo CO 81003. Additional Information can be found on the Colorado Owl Festival website. Contact Information: 719-549-2414.
Greater Prairie-chicken Viewing - Wray (Late March and April)
Each year, visitors from all over the world come to Wray, Colorado to see the sun come up over the grasslands while watching prairie-chicken males dance a courtship dance, and listening to their 'booming' courtship calls. Since greater prairie-chicken leks in northeastern Colorado are located on private property, guided tours are made possible through a partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), the Wray Chamber of Commerce, the East Yuma County Historical Society, the Wray Museum, and local landowners.
To register for a tour, and for more information, visit the Greater Prairie-chicken Viewing Tours website. Reservations are required. Register early as available reservations go quickly!
Each tour includes an evening educational program presented by CPW staff at the Wray Museum, the guided field trip, and a ranch-style breakfast. (There is also an interesting article online from the National Wildlife Federation that features the prairie-chicken tours.)
Greater Sage-grouse Viewing - Craig (March 20 - April 15)
Fully guided Greater Sage-grouse lek viewing - only 14 people per trip. Please make reservations ahead of time on the Conservation Colorado website.
Tours occur in a remote area often during inclement weather. Please inquire before registering children or if you have special needs or accommodations.
Gunnison Sage-grouse Festival - Gunnison (Early April)
The Gunnison Sage-grouse Festival was first held in 2011 as an interagency cooperative to recognize this unique species. The festival takes place during the sage-grouse lekking season, allowing visitors a rare opportunity to view the birds in person. The following is from the festival’s website: “Booths and interactive activities will feature information about the Gunnison Sage-grouse, where it lives and ways we can help conserve the species. Bring your family and friends to learn more about our special bird and share your experiences, stories and joy for our valley’s signature bird.” Further information about the festival is available on the website.
Greater Sage-grouse Viewing - Walden (April 17 - 19 & April 24 - 26)
Guided viewing trips offered; tours are limited to 20 people per day, so it’s best to register early. Each tour begins at 6:00 p.m. the evening before the viewing trip, with a meal and a short educational program provided by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Participants meet before dawn the next morning for the trip to the sage grouse lek. Reservations required through North Park Chamber of Commerce.
Karval Mountain Plover Festival - Karval (April 24 - 26)
Who should go to this festival? Anyone wanting a first-hand, guided experience to see shortgrass prairie wildlife, including mountain plovers, burrowing owls, and swift foxes. Visit the festival's website or the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory's website for the schedule of events, registration information, and directions. (Karval is about 75 miles east of Colorado Springs.)
Ute Mountain - Mesa Verde Birding Festival - Cortez (May 6 - 10)
A four day event. Take tours of local sites, including Mesa Verde, Denny Lake, McElmo Canyon, Ute Mountain tribal Park, and many more; hear presentations about protecting birds, backyard feeders; attend a bird-oriented art show; learn bird songs! Opening reception, guest speakers, and some meals provided. For further information, visit the festival's website; the Web site contains complete schedules for each day and a registration form.
Pikes Peak Birding & Nature Festival - Prairie to Peak - Colo. Springs This year's festival dates are 20, 21 and 22 May 2016 and the website is www.pikespeakbirdingandnaturefestival.org.
Spring migration in Colorado is often full of surprises so the festival promises to be a special event. Field trips, seminars, tours and events are happening throughout El Paso, Pueblo and Teller Counties. Registrants can visit working cattle ranches, observe bird banding demonstrations, enjoy a guided drive up Pikes Peak, watch herding dogs in action, go behind the scenes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, take a tour of rarely seen John James Audubon artwork at the Fine Arts Center, attend interesting workshops, seminars, a banquet with a keynote speaker and of course enjoy BIRDING!
Festival field trips will visit migration hot spots such as Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Regional Parks, Lake Pueblo State Park, Manitou Lakes, Chico Basin Ranch, Pinello Ranch and other locations searching for common and unexpected birds alike. Registration is required.
Guided Bird Walk in North Cheyenne Canon Park - Colorado Springs (May 9)
Enjoy a guided hike through the forested area of North Cheyenne Canon Park. Canon birds include the Northern flicker, Steller's jay, Black-capped chickadee, Red-tailed hawk, Spotted towhee, Broad-tailed hummingbird and many more. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.
Cheyenne Canon Hummingbird Experience - Colorado Springs (May 9)
The Friends of Cheyenne Canon invite your entire family to the Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center for a day of hummingbird themed activities. Discover the secrets of the smallest birds in the world and become a "Hummingbird Expert." No registration required and no entry fee. Activities include wildlife demonstrations, a nature photography workshop, guided hikes, tips on plants which attract hummingbirds and more. For more information visit www.cheyennecanon.org.
- Hummingbird Banding - Colorado Springs (May 10)
This banding session led by Fred and Tena Engelman, federal and state licenses hummingbird banders, will give participants an opportunity to observe typical field research techniques and obtain information on the physical condition of early migrants. Participants will learn, and hopefully observe, data collection techniques as hummingbirds are carefully weighed, measured and identified. Groups will attend a presentation on hummingbird natural history and participate in a separate field experience. This event is a must see for any hummingbird enthusiast.
- International Migratory Bird Day - Statewide (Mid-May)
Not an event for Colorado exclusively, International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) is celebrated worldwide, with events in Colorado sometimes associated with it or occurring at the same time. For details about local events, or to learn how you can organize and register you own celebration, visit the IMBD website.
"Bent on Birding & Heritage Festival" - Las Animas (May 14 - 17)
Activities include bird viewing field trips including least tern and piping plover viewing. Tour dinosaur tracks, petroglyphs, the Boggsville National Historic Site, and the Bent County Historic Courthouse rooftop. View the former Festus Museum and Kit Carson Museum. Visit the John W. Rawlings Heritage Center & Museum and John Martin Reservoir State Park and State Wildlife Area. Call 719-980-1320 or 719-546-2173 or 719-456-0485 for reservations, brochure by email, or for more information. You may also contact festival organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to Bent County website. Donations accepted.
Orient Mine Bat Viewing - Grover (Mid-May - Mid-September)
At least once in your life you must experience this extraordinary event. A one-hour hike will take you to the abandoned mine from which you will see nearly 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats emerge! The Orient Mine is the summer home of the northernmost and largest bachelor colony of Mexican free-tailed bats known in North America. Call 719/256-4315 or visit the website for visitor information.
Crested Butte Wildflower Festival - Crested Butte (July 13 - 19)
Marmot Festival - Staunton State Park, Pine (July 18 - 19)
Grand Mesa Moose Day – Grand Junction (July 25)
A free event for the entire family. Take a scenic drive on Grand Mesa and learn about moose! Scavenger hunt, puppet show & prizes for kids; touch table with hides and tracks; programs on moose viewing and safety; moose biology & telemetry demonstrations. At the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center off of Highway 65, 20090 Baron Lake Drive.
Moose Festival - State Forest State Park (August 22)Come join us Saturday, August 22nd at the Moose Visitor Center where everything is about our claim to fame the majestic moose! Learn about moose, their habitat, and how to observe them safely in the wild. The festival includes expert speakers, workshops, family activities and more. Location: Moose Visitor Center, 56750 Highway 14, 1 mile east of Gould, CO. Fee required. More information: Warren Coker, Interpreter - 970-723-8366.
- Yampa Valley Crane Festival - Steamboat Springs (September 10 - 14)
The Greater Sandhill Crane is an iconic species of the Yampa Valley. In late summer and early fall, hundreds of cranes from the Rocky Mountain flock join the local birds to rest and feed before continuing their journey south. The festival includes daily crane viewings, expert speakers, live raptors, films, art exhibits, workshops, family activities and more. All community activities and events are free unless otherwise indicated in the program! For more information, please
Fall Birding Festival at Barr Lake - Brighton (September 12)
Fly over to Barr Lake State Park to celebrate the fall bird migration, an experience worth sharing with others. Be entertained at this festive community event filled with food, fun, and lore—something for everyone. Plan for a day packed with free food and activities. The Fall Birding Festival is free, but a valid parks pass is required for each vehicle that enters the park.
For more information about the Fall Birding Festival, call Barr Lake Nature Center at 303/659-6005 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Northern Colorado Birding Fair - Fort Collins (Late September)
Crazy about birds, or just curious? Enjoy a free day of fun and learning! Compete in the Bird Olympics, go on a guided bird walk and scavenger hunt, or listen to presentations from experts in the field. No matter what tickles your fancy, birders young and old, beginner to experienced, will find something at this exciting event to fit the bill. Event sponsors will discuss and demonstrate the latest in bird viewing equipment and resource materials. Held at Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space, between Fort Collins and Windsor. For more information, please call 970/679-4534, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit the Birding Fair's website for details!
Northern Colorado Nature Festival - Fort Collins (October 3)
Estes Park Elk Festival - Estes Park (October 3 - 4)
A two-day festival, as described on the event's website: "Elk Fest offers visitors a chance to view elk during the rutting season in the wild, as well as expand their knowledge of elk. Learn more about elk, their habitats, and how to observe them in the wild. Held in Bond Park, located in downtown Estes Park, Elk Fest will offer bugling competitions, educational areas, seminars, music by the Elktones, Mountain Man Rendezvous, Native American story telling and music, guided elk viewing tours, and vendors that offer art from oils and pastels, hand made elk-ivory jewelry, scrimshawed antler knives, elk antler lamps and chandeliers, elk hide pillows, silver and gold jewelry, and elk antlers." Find out more from the Estes Park Elk Fest website, including schedules and costs (for elk viewing tours), or write to the event organizers.
Welcome Back Turkey Vulture Day - Franktown (Dates to be determined) Held at Castlewood Canyon State Park.
Chatfield Big Sit! - Littleton (Dates to be determined)
The Big Sit! is like a "Big Day", or a bird-a-thon, in that the object is to tally as many bird species as can be seen or heard within 24 hours. The difference lies in the area limitation from which you can observe. This is a free event, open to everyone! Some people have called it a "tailgate party for birders". There are Big Sit! circles all over the world, including Guatemala, India, the Netherlands, England, Vietnam, and New Zealand. (Description from the Bird Watcher's Digest Web site.) See the BWD website, the Denver Field Ornithologists website, or the Chatfield State Park website for more information.
"Cranes for Kids" Festival - Monte Vista (Mid-October)
Kids, bring your parents to Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge to enjoy the fresh fall air, migrating Sandhill cranes, food, fun, and educational activities. The festival includes a barbeque lunch, a puppet show, watchable wildlife workshops, nest hunts, bird migration games, learning about the water cycle, and horse drawn wagon rides. For additional information, contact the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex at 719/589-4021.