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. Updated website coming in April 2023.
Early Bird registration opens on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. MST.
The 7th 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.A
After cancelling the 2020 festival due to COVID-19 concerns, the 2021 CO(r)VID Relief Pikes Peak Birding & Nature Festival was a welcomed event. The weekend was a blend of in-person and virtual events and everyone enjoyed birding with others again. The virtual events were quite popular so we are including some in this year’s festival. For the 2022 festival, field trip participant numbers will vary, masks are optional and there are both in-person and virtual workshops and seminars.
New this year are a couple of “bonus birding” opportunities happening on Thursday afternoon. Check out the website for details. Also new this year are presentations on how Colorado Parks and Wildlife monitor native fish species and the Watchable Wildlife Program.
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.
We have Live Birds of Prey from the Nature and Wildlife Discovery Center and a workshop 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.
You can expand your artistic side and “Scratch Your Way Into Art” with festival artist, Heidi Eaton, during a “scratching” workshop. We are pleased to once again offer a Flammulated Owl field trip to Dr. Brian D. Linkhart’s research area to look for these diminutive moth hunters. Do you know they only weigh as much, or as little, as 4 1/2 Oreo cookies?
Do you remember the bird die-off which occurred in September 2020, join Colin Woolley with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to see how this event affected their bird-banding data. And hear from Scot Somershoe as he tells us about his “Big Green Year”. What exactly is a Big Green Year anyway?
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 and Brews” with free food, drinks and beer from Phantom Canyon Brewery and live jazz music from the Tidal Breeze Jazz Arts. You will see the list of birds which have been seen or heard during the field trips. You can also visit live creatures presented by the Pikes Peak Community College’s Wild Things organization. Other supporting groups will have tables as well which you can visit and it is always fun to share stories with other participants. 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 12 – 15, 2022 for dynamic field trips and appealing seminars and workshops.