Save the Date: 2023 Bird Festival:
The 8th Pikes Peak Birding & Nature Festival
The Festival Committee is busy planning the 2023 Pikes Peak Birding & Nature Festival scheduled for May 18-21, 2023.
Early Bird registration opens on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. MST.
The 8th Pikes Peak Birding and Nature Festival promises to be a special event! Spring migration along Colorado’s Front Range is often full of surprises and the third weekend of May is peak migration in the area. The Pikes Peak region has much to offer, with the short-grass prairie rising to meet the forested foothills and deep canyons of the southern Front Range, and rich, riparian forests providing for countless birds, insects, and other wildlife.
This year we are expanding our Thursday “bonus birding” opportunities and adding three Big Sits. Stay tuned to see what neat virtual learning opportunities we arrange in the afternoons. A new Mountain Lion class and hike promises to be a thrilling lesson of finding these elusive predators.
Fountain Creek, an oasis on the plains, offers essential food and stopover sites for many resident birds and those migrating through the area. Walk the land where ornithologist Charles Aiken raised his sheep and see which bird species live there today. Observe which bird species thrive in our regional parks or learn about the geology of the renowned Colorado Springs Garden of the Gods City Park and Paint Mines Interpretive Park. Enjoy a lunch with ranch hands at a working ranch and scour the open range for burrowing owls and curve-billed thrashers.
We have Live Birds of Prey from the Nature and Wildlife Discovery Center and two workshops on how to use eBird. There are trips to Corral Bluffs and Jimmy Camp Creek, two sites which are generally off-limits to the public. Corral Bluffs is the location discussed in a NOVA presentation and contains fossils from the first million years following the demise of dinosaurs and the rise of mammals. The fossil record found in the property is fascinating.
You can learn about what flowers are blooming on the Front Range or enjoy seminars on feeding birds and which native plants will attract birds to your own backyard. Or, spend time with the Mile High Bug Club, look closer and discover the magnificent insects that inhabit this region. This year they will be doing a bug walkabout as well as insect black lighting in the evening.
Again this year, participants will have the opportunity to bird the restricted-access portion of the Paint Mines Interpretive Park or spend a morning with Fred and Tena Engelman, who specialize in banding hummingbirds. Experience the excitement of seeing a hummingbird “in the hand” while it is being banded; maybe you will be the one given the opportunity to release it!
Be sure to join us on Saturday afternoon to learn to identify the common raptors of the Pikes Peak region. Is it a Buteo, falcon, or Accipiter? And how do you tell a Sharp-shinned Hawk from a Cooper’s Hawk?
On Saturday evening, join us for the very popular “Birds, Brews, and Bites” with food, drinks, beer from Phantom Canyon Brewery, and live music. You will see the list of birds which have been seen or heard during the field trips and get a chance to share stories with other participants. Meet our wonderful partners and sponsors like Wild Birds Unlimited and Aiken Audubon Society. There will be plenty of great door prizes and don’t forget to bid on the festival artwork at the auction table.
Look over the website for festival information, registration, speaker bios, and field trip descriptions to help you decide how to spend your weekend in and around the Pikes Peak Region. There are events for everyone. We hope you will join us in Colorado Springs, Colorado on May 18 – 21, 2023 for dynamic field trips and appealing seminars and workshops.