The 6th Pikes Peak Birding & Nature Festival
The Festival Committee is moving forward with the 2021 Pikes Peak Birding & Nature (CO(r)VID Relief) Festival scheduled for May 14-16, 2021. Things will be different this year with mandatory mask wearing, lower field trip group numbers, social distancing and virtual events. The website should go live on March 12, 2021. Early Bird registration should open on March 27, 2021.
The 6th Pikes Peak Birding and Nature Festival promises to be a special event! Spring migration along Colorado’s Front Range is often full of surprises. 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.
After cancelling the 2020 festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are excited to be able to offer the 2021 Pikes Peak Birding & Nature Festival. The weekend will be a blend of in-person and virtual events. Field trip participant numbers will be reduced, masks are mandatory, social distancing is needed and most workshops and seminars will be virtual. New this year we have Live Birds of Prey from the Nature and Wildlife Discovery Center. Also new this year is a non-birding, paleontology trip to Corral Bluffs. This is the location discussed in a recent NOVA presentation and follows the first million years following the demise of dinosaurs and the rise of mammals. The fossil record found in the property is fascinating. There will be an ethnobotany (the study of the traditional knowledge and customs of a people concerning plants and their medical, religious, and other uses) adventure to the Paint Mines Interpretive Park or spend some time with the Mile High Bug Club, look closer and discover the magnificent insects that inhabit this region when they do insect black lighting. Or you can enjoy hikes in the aromatic junipers and scrub oaks of the foothills – and the opportunities don’t end there!
Expand your artistic side and consider joining the festival artist, Christine Hubbell, during a virtual nature sketching workshop. Do you know which bird weighs as much, or as little, as 4 1/2 Oreo cookies? I’ll give you a hint – it is the bird Dr. Brian D. Linkhart has been studying for over 40 years! Field trips will also visit the rarely-accessible, Jimmy Camp Creek Open Space, Corral Bluffs Open Space and the Fountain Valley School. Participants will have the opportunity to bird the restricted-access portion of the Paint Mines Interpretive Park or learn from a couple who specialize in banding hummingbirds and experience the excitement of seeing a hummingbird being banded. Maybe you will be given the opportunity to release it!
On Saturday evening, join us for the very popular “Birds and Brews” happy hour with free appetizers, drinks and beer from Phantom Canyon Brewery. You will see the list of which birds have been seen or heard during the field trips. You can also visit live creatures presented by the Pikes Peak Community College Wild Things organization and share stories with other participants. And don’t forget to bid on the festival artwork at the auction table.
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. You can enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour at one of America’s most highly-regarded zoos and will you be the lucky one to feed a penguin? Hone your skills at a photography workshop, or enjoy a lunch with ranch hands at a working ranch.
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?
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 14 – 16, 2021 for dynamic field trips and appealing seminars and workshops.