DESCRIPTIONS

In compliance with current COVID-19 restrictions, all festival participants are required to wear a mask, practice safe physical distancing (remain 6 feet apart) and we do not recommend carpooling unless it is with family members, someone you know well or who has been vaccinated. You may notice different participant numbers for each field trip. This could be due to the different city or county restrictions or at the leader’s request. Please be aware festival events may be cancelled if the COVID-19 restriction level changes.  

Be sure to sign up for the Waiting List if your desired activity is full: if COVID-19 restrictions are lifted we will add participants from the waiting list. Thanks.  

 

We recommend you select all of your choices on this website page and then visit the registration site

View Festival Schedule

Color Key: Festival Event, Field Trip, Workshop, Seminar
binos icon

Binoculars recommended

Friday, May 14, 2021

binos icon

F1: 6:00 am – 11:00 am. Chico Basin Ranch, Guided Bird Hike & Bird Banding Demo: This Trip is Full.

Bird banding demonstration

(This is the same trip as S1 & Su1) Come visit Chico Basin Ranch, an 87,000-acre family run, working cattle ranch that operates on the high prairie 30 miles southeast of Colorado Springs. Its sprawling ranges of short-grass and sand-sage prairie, spring-fed lakes, creeks, and pools are home to diverse populations of birds, pronghorn, deer, fish, prairie dogs, coyote, badgers, and much more. Visit the bird banding station, then go on a guided bird walk. If you have one, bring a walkie talkie so the cars can communicate as they travel.

Possible bird species include: Various ducks and geese, Horned Lark, Northern Harrier, Lark Bunting, Swainson’s Hawk, woodpeckers, prairie sparrows, and a variety of eastern and western warblers.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders, age 10 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map) to caravan at 6:00 am or at Hanover Fire Station (map) at 7:00 am.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

F2: 7:00 am – 10:00 am. The Fountain Valley School, Guided Bird Walk This Trip is Full

Birders
Festival Birders

(This is the same trip as S9 & Su5) The Fountain Valley School is a small boarding school campus in the middle of 1,500 acres of open short-grass prairie. A fairly extensive wetland lies at the south edge of the campus, providing good habitat for white-tailed deer, coyotes, and various species of birds including Virginia Rail, raptors, sparrows, and blackbirds. A small Ponderosa pine forest on the north side of the campus has been home to owls and hawks. In recent years, an active bald eagle nest has been located nearby. Who knows? We might get lucky and see ’em all.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy/moderate.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map). We will caravan from the nature center to the school. At the property, we will drive to different birding locations.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

F3: 7:00 am – 10:00 am. Adams Open Space, Guided Bird Walk This Trip is Full

Old bridge over Jimmy Camp Creek

Adams Open Space is a hidden gem located behind the Fountain city library. Roughly 40 acres, Jimmy Camp Creek runs through the property so there’s no telling what might be attracted to the cattails and cottonwoods located throughout the area. Mississippi Kites breed in the area and Wild Turkeys are also frequently seen here. The wide trails are well maintained and there is a new bridge over the creek. Warblers, woodpeckers, various flycatchers are all possibilities of what you might see. And as an extra bonus, there is a bird feeder behind the library which usually offers a variety of local bird life. 

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Fountain City Library parking lot, northeast corner (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 12 participants.
binos icon

F4: 7:00 am – 12:30 pm. Mueller State Park, Guided Bird Hike This Trip is Full

Mountain Bluebird

Mueller State Park in Teller County offers excellent opportunities for montane birding in scenic surroundings. This will be a 3 to 4 mile hike on one or two different trail. We’ll hope to enjoy species such as Williamson’s Sapsucker, Canada Jay, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Mountain Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, Evening Grosbeak, Cassin’s Finch, Green-tailed Towhee, and others.

Dress for the weather, it may be cool at the beginning but it should warm up as we walk. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, bring a hat, sunscreen, and water and whatever snacks you may need.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate – this will be a 3 to 4 mile hike on one or two different trails depending on where the birds are located. There will be some steep sections so sturdy hiking boots and hiking poles would be very helpful. We will take our time, but some may feel the 9,500 feet elevation. Steep climbs and uneven terrain will be encountered.
  • Meet in the Visitor Center parking lot (map).
  • Cost: Activity fee is included in registration, but cars must have a $9/car daily state parks pass, annual Colorado state parks pass ($80), or DV (Colorado Disabled Veteran) vehicle license plate.
  • Limited to 12 participants.
binos icon

F5: 8:00 am – Noon. Corral Bluffs, Guided Paleontology Hike This Trip is Full

Corral Bluffs

This field trip will introduce you to the beginnings of our modern world, by starting our walk at the K-Pg boundary, where all non-avian dinosaurs went extinct and the Age of Mammals began. Along the way, see the sites where the NOVA documentary, Rise of the Mammals, was filmed and where paleontologists from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science discovered the world’s best preserved mammal fossils of this time period. The walk will go through the first 800,000 years of the earth’s recovery after the mass extinction.

This hike is of moderate difficulty due to lack of established trails and is about four miles up and back through a sandy gully. Although not a birding hike, along the route we may see Golden Eagles flying overhead, and be scolded by Rock Wrens, Canyon Towhees, and Western Kingbirds.

  • Appropriate for budding paleontologists ages 10 and up .
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate/difficult
  • Meet at Loaf N Jug gas station, 6857 Space Village Ave, CS, 80915 (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

F6: 8:30 am – 11:30 am. Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Guided Bird Hike This Trip is Full

“Twin Sisters” at the Paint Mines

The rocks, which form the bulk of the Paint Mines, are estimated to be about 55 million years old. Clays or paleosols (rich fossil soils) were deposited during a time when subtropical rainforests covered the area. Today, these form the colored red, purple, yellow, and orange clay “hoodoos” of the park. The more resistant sandstone “caps” are part of the Dawson Arkose and are evidence of the uplift and erosion of Pikes Peak. We will visit the restricted area of the 800+ acre county park which has a permanent riparian area.

  • Appropriate for everyone & families with children 12 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate/difficult–requires off-trail hiking. Wear sturdy hiking boots, dress for the weather and bring plenty of water.
  • Meet at the main Paint Mines parking lot on Paint Mine Road (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.

Sem1: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Live Birds of Prey, Fountain Creek Nature Center This Trip is Full

Diana with a Golden Eagle

Learn about hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, and vultures through a live birds of prey program with the Nature & Wildlife Discovery Center. This presentation includes two different birds of prey, what adaptations do raptors have, predator/prey relationships, the natural history and personal stories of the birds presented, and the work done to rehabilitate sick, injured, and orphaned birds of prey.

Join Diana Miller, who’s fascination and passion for birds of prey started the day she met Buddy, a Great Horned Owl in 1985. For more than 30 years she has dedicated her career to the pursuit of quality rehabilitation care for wildlife, especially birds of prey.

  • Appropriate for everyone and families with children age 8 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy – indoors.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: $5.00.
  • Limited to 30 participants.
binos icon

F7:  1:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Ethnobotany & Wildflowers Hike This Trip is Full

Paint Mines prairie

Join local botanist/naturalist, Linda Overlin, on a hike through the Paint Mines Interpretive Park and discover the historical and biological significance of this preserved property. Archaeological studies indicate that humans have inhabited the Paint Mines for nearly 9,000 years. The plants, animals, and colorful clays encouraged prehistoric people to return to the area, year after year, for centuries. The Paint Mines are considered significant in the prehistory of the area, and this park is listed as an Archaeological District in the National Register of Historic Places.

The open plains dominate the area and support a mix of native short-grass and mid-grass prairie communities typified by blue grama and buffalo grasses. Historically, the native prairie grasses were a primary food source for the immense herds of bison once fount on the Great Plains. It also provided early Western settlers with dos used to build their houses. Some stream bottoms retain enough water to support vegetation such as mountain mahogany, low sagebrush chokecherry, wild rose and a variety of grasses, sedges, ad reedy plants. A few junipers and pines are also found here.

This is classified as an intermediate hike, with varied terrain ranging from rocky slopes, to arroyo crossings, to prairie grassland and sandy creek beds. The route will expose participants to a variety of different habitats with an emphasis on the botany of the area. Wear sturdy hiking boots, long pants and layers and bring a plant guide if you have one. This hike is slated to last four hours.

  • Appropriate for all festival participants.
  • Physical difficulty: Intermediate; a relatively slow-paced hike with frequent stops.
  • Participants should bring water, snacks, weather-appropriate clothing, sturdy hiking boots, and a day pack. Optional items to bring: camera, notebook and pen, hiking poles.
  • Meet at the main Paint Mines parking lot on Paint Mine Road (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 20 participants.

W1: 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm. Photographing Birds Workshop

This is a virtual workshop with photographer Leslie Holzmann. She will go over camera settings and help you understand the difference between aperture priority, shutter speed, and depth of field. This is a virtual workshop. You will be sent a Zoom invitation via email with a link to the program.

  • Appropriate for all festival participants, age 12 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy – indoors.
  • Meet inside the comfort of your own home.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 100 participants.

Sem2:  5:00 pm – 6:30 pm. Neotropical Frequent Fliers:  Flammulated Owls

Flammulated Owl

The Rocky Mountains of southern Colorado have been the home base for a 40-year investigation of the breeding ecology of FLOWs, a fist-sized insectivore that primarily breeds in the pine forests of western North America. Generations of banded (ringed) adults and their offspring on these study sites have revealed many insights on patterns in reproduction and survival, but until relatively recently, almost nothing was known of the owl’s wintering habits-indeed, migration had never been fully documented in the species, and some researchers suggested the owls might simply undergo torpor. That changed in 2010, when small dime-sized devices carried on the backs of Colorado breeders first revealed their fall and spring journeys and winter destinations, and more recent recoveries show the owls migrate as far south as southern Mexico and Central America. In this presentation we tack this annual journey, and discuss risks posed by a changing climate and habitat fragmentation.

Dr. Brian D. Linkhart has been a Professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Ecology at Colorado College since 2001, where he teaches field courses in Ornithology, Ecology, and Field Biology. Previously, he was a seasonal research biologist for the U.S. Forest Service for 18 years, and he began teaching summer field seminars on forest ecology of songbirds, grouse, hawks, and owls across the American Southwest, but for the past 20 years most summers have been devoted to mentoring 8-10 undergraduate students while conducting field research on Flammulated Owls.

This is a virtual seminar. You will receive a Zoom invitation via email with a link to the program.

  • Appropriate for everyone.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy – indoors.
  • Meet inside the comfort of your own home.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 100 participants.
binos icon

F8: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Garden of the Gods, Guided Bird Walk This Trip is Full

Violet-green Swallow

Besides the interesting geological formations, the Garden of the Gods Park offers a variety of bird species as well. Enjoy a leisurely walk in the park while looking and listening for the different birds which call this location home.

A highlight species is the Prairie Falcon which historically nests in the well-known Kissing Camels formation. This is a birding walk and the geology of the park will not be highlighted.

  • Appropriate for everyone and families with children age 8 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy—short, level walk.
  • Meet inside the Garden of the Gods Park at the North Main Parking Lot #2 (Perkins Central Garden Trailhead) (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

F9: 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm. Fountain Creek Regional Park, Guided Bird Walk This Trip is Full

Spotted Towhee, singing

Fountain Creek is a natural migration corridor and the major watercourse of the Pikes Peak region. Come explore the ponds, streams, wetlands, forest, and grasslands of this 450-acre county park to discover its birds and other wildlife. Spring migration is among the most exciting times at Fountain Creek Regional Park, always offering at least a few surprise avian visitors.

Possible bird species include: Green Heron, Virginia Rail, Eastern and Western Kingbirds, Summer and Western Tanagers, Bullock’s Oriole, and a variety of sparrows, vireos, and eastern and western warblers.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

F10: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Garden of the Gods, Swifts, Falcons, & Geology Walk This Trip is Full

Garden of the Gods City Park

Visit a Colorado Springs jewel, Garden of the Gods city park. Huge sandstone rock formations provide the backdrop for a variety of creatures from nesting White-throated Swifts and Prairie Falcons to a herd of Bighorn Sheep. Come learn how all of these elements combine during a walk looking for birds, animals and plants, while also discovering how geology shapes this beautiful park.

Possible bird species include: White-throated Swift, Prairie Falcon, Northern Flicker, Spotted Towhee, Bushtit, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Black-headed Grosbeak.

  • Appropriate for everyone and families with children age 8 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy—short, level walk.
  • Meet inside the Garden of the Gods Park at the North Main Parking Lot #2 (Perkins Central Garden Trailhead) (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.

F11: 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm. Bear Creek Regional Park, Bug Black Lighting with The Mile High Bug Club This Trip is Full

Black lighting with Mile High Bug Club.

Cap off the festival’s first day with a relaxing, sit-and-wait event for moths, beetles, and other insects attracted to black lights after dark. You will be amazed and delighted by the beauty and diversity of nocturnal life that reveals itself.

  • Appropriate for all festival participants.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Bear Creek Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

binos icon

S1: 6:00 am – 11:00 am. Chico Basin Ranch, Guided Bird Hike & Bird Banding Demo This Trip is Full

Male Ladderback Woodpecker leaves the nest

(This is the same trip as F1 & Su1) Come visit Chico Basin Ranch, an 87,000-acre family run, working cattle ranch that operates on the high prairie 30 miles southeast of Colorado Springs. Its sprawling ranges of short-grass and sand-sage prairie, spring-fed lakes, creeks, and pools are home to diverse populations of birds, pronghorn, deer, fish, prairie dogs, coyote, badgers, and much more. Visit the bird banding station, then go on a guided bird walk. If you have one, bring a walkie talkie so the cars can communicate as they travel.

Possible bird species include: Various ducks and geese, Horned Lark, Northern Harrier, Lark Bunting, Swainson’s Hawk, woodpeckers, prairie sparrows, and a variety of eastern and western warblers.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders, age 10 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map) to caravan at 6:00 am or at Hanover Fire Station (map) at 7:00 am.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

S2: 6:00 pm – Noon. Horse Creek Ranch, Bird Hike This Trip is Full

Summer Tanager, Horse Creek Ranch

The riparian woodlands along Horse Creek provide crucial breeding and migration stopover habitat for a rich diversity of birds. This 6,600-acre, family-owned cattle ranch on the short-grass prairie hosts numerous ponds and more than 40 natural springs.

Possible bird species include: Common Nighthawk, Great Horned Owl, Red-headed Woodpecker, Lark Sparrow, and a variety of flycatchers, thrushes, and eastern and western warblers. Fuel B’s, Inc. in Ellicott is the last and only restroom stop for this trip.

  • Appropriate for intermediate to advanced birders
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate (uneven, off-trail, and possibly wet hiking)
  • Meet at Loaf-N-Jug gas station, 6857 Space Village Ave, Colorado Springs, 80915 (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 5 participants.
binos icon

S3: 6:00 am – 1:00 pm. Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Ovenbird/Hermit Thrush Bird Hike

Ovenbird

Join park volunteer Debbie Barnes-Shankster on a four-mile hike, round-trip, to listen and look for Hermit Thrushes, breeding Ovenbirds, Virginia’s Warblers, and other park residents and spring migrants.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders, age 12 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate to difficult. The trails are steep, and elevations in the park range between 6,000 and 9,500 feet.
  • Meet at Cheyenne Mountain State Park Visitor Center (map).
  • Cost: Activity fee is included in registration, but cars must have a $9/car daily state parks pass, annual Colorado state parks pass ($80), or DV (Colorado Disabled Veteran) vehicle license plate.
  • Limited to 10 participants.
binos icon

S4: 6:00 am – 1:00 pm. The Nature Conservancy’s Brett Gray Ranch or Leaders’ Choice, Guided Bird Hike This Trip is Full

Brett Gray Ranch birders

Currently, The Nature Conservancy is not allowing groups on this property. By May this could change and the trip will go as scheduled. If access is not permitted, we will have a “Leader’s Choice” field trip. The 49,000-acre Brett Gray Ranch offers spectacular birding on the eastern plains of Colorado. It has a variety of habitats: dry prairie, short-grass prairie, riparian woods, marsh, cottonwood bosque, and open water. Because of these characteristics, it is a migrant trap for many species of birds at this time of year. Fuel B’s, Inc. in Ellicott is the last and only restroom stop for this trip.

Possible bird species include: Various ducks and geese, Lark Bunting, Northern Harrier, Horned Lark, Swainson’s Hawk, prairie sparrows, and a variety of eastern and western warblers.

  • Appropriate for intermediate to advanced birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate. High clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle may be helpful.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map) to caravan at 6:00 am. The 1:00 pm ending time includes return travel time to the Fountain Creek Nature Center. Birding will end around noon.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 10 participants.
binos icon

S5: 6:30 am – 11:00 am.  The Nature Conservancy’s Aiken Canyon Preserve, Guided Bird Hike This Trip is Full

Aiken Canyon Preserve

(This is the same trip as Su2) Named after ornithologist Dr. Charles Aiken, this is a great destination for birders. Over 100 species have been seen here. Located 16 miles south of Colorado Springs, these 1,621 acres are where Aiken raised his herd of sheep. Aiken Canyon is one of the last high-quality examples of the southern Front Range foothills ecosystem. The preserve is composed of a mosaic of habitat types, including shrub lands, tall-grass prairie meadows, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and mixed coniferous woodlands. Dress for the weather, a hat and sunscreen/sun protection, make sure you bring sturdy boots for hiking and plenty of water.

Possible bird species include: Virginia’s Warbler, Juniper Titmouse, Lazuli Bunting, and Ash-throated Flycatcher.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate/difficult.
  • Meet at Aiken Canyon (map) at 6:30 am.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

S6: 6:30 am – 11:30 am. Hanna Ranch, Guided Bird Hike This Trip is Full

Marsh Wren

This trip will feature the birds of the Fountain Creek migratory corridor as well as extensive marsh and short-grass prairie habitats. The important role that large ranches play in the conservation of bird populations can be seen firsthand on the 12,000-acre Hanna Ranch in southern El Paso County. We will explore the various habitats of the ranch, looking for migrant and breeding bird species, including Green and Great Blue Herons, Marsh Wren, Sora, Virginia Rail, Orchard Oriole, Brown Thrasher, and many raptor, flycatcher, sparrow, and warbler species.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Difficult – the route is all off trail walking on uneven terrain.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map) to caravan at 6:30 am. 
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 12 participants.
binos icon

S7: 6:30 am – Noon. Clear Spring Ranch Regional Park, Guided Bird Walk This Trip is Full

Downy Woodpecker

(This is the same trip as Su3) This county-managed, 970-acre park is situated along Fountain Creek, providing visitors the opportunity to witness the importance of the creek’s riparian corridor for migrant and resident birds. In addition to the riparian forest, the park hosts extensive grasslands, where sparrows, raptors, and other species can be plentiful. This area can be very buggy; bring bug repellent.

Possible bird species include: Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Grosbeak, Great Horned Owl, Brown Thrasher, and numerous migrant warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and sparrows.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy; primarily walking on level trails and dirt roads.
  • Meet at the Clear Spring Ranch parking lot (map). Go south on I-25, take exit 123, turn left and go under I-25. Follow the signs to the parking lot, do not enter the farmer’s property.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

S8: 6:30 am – Noon. Corral Bluffs Open Space, Guided Bird Hike This Trip is Full

Golden Eagles at Corral Bluffs

Corral Bluffs Open Space is a Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) property located east of Colorado Springs consisting of over 700 acres. It is a rugged and beautiful landform running along both the north and south sides of US Highway 94. Higher than the surrounding plains, Corral Bluffs provides a unique geographic perspective. Be prepared as this hike will take us through undeveloped open space—no trails! Therefore, this is classified as an intermediate hike, with varied terrain ranging from rocky slopes, to arroyo crossings, to prairie grassland and sandy creek beds.

Possible bird species include: Greater Roadrunner, Scaled Quail, Golden Eagle, Sage Thrasher, Peregrine Falcon, Canyon Towhee, and various sparrow species.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders, ages 10 and up.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate/difficult
  • Meet at Loaf N Jug gas station, 6857 Space Village Ave, CS, 80915 (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.

Sem3: 7:00 am – 8:00 am. Starsmore Visitor & Nature Center, Hummingbird Banding, Session 1
Sem4:
 8:15 am – 9:15 am. Starsmore Visitor & Nature Center, Hummingbird Banding, Session 2

Both of these trips are Full

Broad-tailed hummingbird, Male

Join federally- and state-certified hummingbird banders, Fred and Tena Engelman, who recently completed a 10-year hummingbird study in Rocky Mountain National Park, for an extraordinary morning. Get up close and personal with a Broad-tailed Hummingbird. Watch as hummingbirds are carefully weighed, measured, and identified. You will likely have the opportunity to photograph hummingbirds in the hand and learn why they are among nature’s most fascinating birds.

Sem5: 9:30 am – 10:30 am. Hummingbirds This Trip is Full
After viewing the banding, attend a hummingbird natural history presentation and Q&A session from 9:30-10:30 outside on the veranda at the Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center. This activity is a must-see for any hummingbird enthusiast. 

Although the researchers expect to encounter few migrating hummingbirds this early in the season, the banding sessions will give participants an opportunity to observe typical field research techniques and obtain information on the physical condition of early migrants.

  • Prerequisite: Must have registered for either Sem3 or Sem4
  • Appropriate for everyone.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 12 participants per banding session.
binos icon

S9: 7:00 am – 10:00 am. The Fountain Valley School, Guided Bird Walk This Trip is Full

Virginia Rail

(This is the same trip as F2 & Su5) The Fountain Valley School is a small boarding school campus in the middle of 1,500 acres of open short-grass prairie. A fairly extensive wetland lies at the south edge of the campus, providing good habitat for white-tailed deer, coyotes, and various species of birds including Virginia Rail, raptors, sparrows, and blackbirds. A small Ponderosa pine forest on the north side of the campus has been home to owls and hawks. In recent years, an active bald eagle nest has been located nearby. Who knows? We might get lucky and see ’em all.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy/moderate.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map). We will caravan from the nature center to the school. At the property, we will drive to different birding locations.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

S10: 7:00 am – 10:00 am. Adams Open Space, Guided Bird Walk This Trip is Full

Mississippi Kite

(This is the same trip as F3) Adams Open Space is a hidden gem located behind the Fountain city library. Roughly 40 acres, Jimmy Camp Creek runs through the property so there’s no telling what might be attracted to the cattails and cottonwoods located throughout the area. Mississippi Kites breed in the area and Wild Turkeys are also frequently seen here. The wide trails are well maintained and there is a new bridge over the creek. Warblers, woodpeckers, various flycatchers are all possibilities of what you might see. And as an extra bonus, there is a bird feeder behind the library which usually offers a variety of local bird life. 

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Fountain City Library parking lot, northeast corner (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 12 participants.
binos icon

S11: 7:00 am – 11:00 pm. Fountain Creek Regional Park, Guided Bird Walk This Trip is Full

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Fountain Creek is a natural migration corridor and the major watercourse of the Pikes Peak region. Come explore the ponds, streams, wetlands, forest, and grasslands of this 450-acre county park to discover its birds and other wildlife. Spring migration is among the most exciting times at Fountain Creek Regional Park, always offering at least a few surprise avian visitors.

Possible bird species include: Green Heron, Virginia Rail, Eastern and Western Kingbirds, Summer and Western Tanagers, Bullock’s Oriole, and a variety of sparrows, vireos, and eastern and western warblers.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

S12: 8:00 am – Noon. Manitou Lake Recreation Area, Guided Montane Bird Hike This Trip is Full (Please note the time change for this trip)

Manitou Lake

Enjoy the high country while looking for some of the over 170 bird species that have been sighted around Manitou Lake, marsh, riparian and ponderosa-woodland habitats. This mountain lake is six miles north of Woodland Park, Colorado on Hwy. 67.

Possible  bird species include: Sora, Red-naped Sapsucker, MacGillivray’s Warbler, White-faced Ibis, and Red Crossbill.

  • Appropriate for beginning to intermediate birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate. Flat walking, but 7,500 ft. elevation and moderate distance.
  • Meet at the southern end of the Manitou Lake parking lot (map) at 8:00 am.
  • Cost: $7/car entrance fee ($3.50/car with valid, annual national parks pass).
  • Limited to 12 participants.
binos icon

S13: 8:30 am – 10:30 am. Garden of the Gods, Swifts, Falcons, & Geology Walk This Trip is Full

Prairie Falcon fledgling

Visit a Colorado Springs jewel, Garden of the Gods city park. Huge sandstone rock formations provide the backdrop for a variety of creatures from nesting White-throated Swifts and Prairie Falcons to a herd of Bighorn Sheep. Come learn how all of these elements combine during a walk looking for birds, animals and plants, while also discovering how geology shapes this beautiful park.

Possible bird species include: White-throated Swift, Prairie Falcon, Northern Flicker, Spotted Towhee, Bushtit, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Black-headed Grosbeak.

  • Appropriate for everyone and families with children age 8 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy—short, level walk.
  • Meet inside the Garden of the Gods Park at the North Main Parking Lot #2 (Perkins Central Garden Trailhead) (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.

Sem6 10:00 am – 11:30 am. “The Origin of Birds – The Dinosaur Connection”

Origin of Birds class

Have you ever wondered what really happened to dinosaurs? This enigmatic group has now revealed several fascinating lines of evidence to indicate that birds are in fact a group of dinosaurs that out lasted the K/T Extinction event! Basic features of anatomy and new fossils will be used to indicate that there is a connection between birds and dinosaurs. The ramifications for dinosaur socialization, color, and behavior will be discussed in light of this new information.

Join Mark Izold, (MS, BS Geological Sciences: Conodont Micropaleontology), Pikes Peak Community College professor of geology, to hear about the connections between dinosaurs and today’s birds.

This is a virtual seminar. You will be sent a Zoom invitation via email with a link to the program.

  • Appropriate for everyone and families with children age 8 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy – indoors.
  • Meet inside the comfort of your own home.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 100 participants.
binos icon

S14: 11:30 am – 2:00 pm. Chico Basin Ranch Headquarters, Lunch & Ranch Ecology Tour
Come enjoy lunch, followed by a discussion about the rich diversity of wildlife on the short-grass prairie, an overview of the ranch’s history, and modern ranching practices at Chico Basin Ranch. Please make sure to fill out the dietary restrictions section when you register for this event. We cannot otherwise guarantee your needs will be met.

  • Appropriate for everyone.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate.
  • Meet at Chico Basin Ranch Headquarters (map).
  • Cost: $10/person for lunch.
  • Limited to 30 participants.
  • Lunch will be served at 12:00 pm (noon).

W2: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. Deepen Your Observation Through Nature Sketching

Join festival artist Christine Hubbell in this virtual workshop to explore how nature sketching can deepen your bird observations and fire your synapses. We’ll cover the basics of nature sketching, including tools and setup, bird observation tips, drawing, and adding color. It’s never too late to start drawing.

This is a virtual workshop. You will be sent a Zoom invitation via email with a link the program.

  • Appropriate for everyone and families with children age 8 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy—indoors.
  • Meet inside the comfort of your own home.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 100 participants.
binos icon

S15: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Behind the Scenes Tour This Trip is Full

Eurasian Griffon, Cheyenne Mtn. Zoo

Enjoy Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s bird species on a tour led by former Senior Lead Animal Keeper, Jenyva Fox. Learn about Bald Eagles while watching them receive food from their keepers. Meet the zoo’s African penguin flock with a chance to feed a penguin! Explore the African Rift Valley exhibit, learning about the care of the animals, all while keeping an eye out for the many wild bird species that frequent the zoo’s foothill ecosystem!

Observe bird training in action at The Loft with a chance to be part of the training demo. While walking around the zoo, tour participants will also look for the wild birds that make the zoo’s foothill ecosystem their home. This is a $177/person value!

  • Appropriate for everyone and families with children 5 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy/moderate (zoo grounds are quite steep).
  • Meet at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo ticket booth (map). Please follow the zoo’s COVID-19 guidelines when waiting to meet up with the tour.
  • Cost: $35/person, (non-refundable).
  • Limited to 10 participants.

Sem7: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm. Raptor Identification

Learn to ID this hawk!

Do you want to figure out which hawk is in your backyard? How about the hawk along the highway? Debbie Barnes-Shankster has been studying raptor identification for 15 years and has developed a program to help separate the various species.

This is a virtual workshop. You will be sent a Zoom invitation via email with a link to join the program.

  • Appropriate for all festival participants, age 12 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy – indoors.
  • Meet inside the comfort of your own home.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 100 participants.

BB:  5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Birds & Brews Happy Hour, Bear Creek Regional Park Headquarters (map)

Food, drinks, music, prizes, and socializing!
  • Food, Drinks, & Fun!
  • Mile High Bug Club w/live Insects
  • PPCC Wild Things w/live Animals
  • Festival Artwork for Auction
  • Live Music by All In! Jazz Trio
  • Door Prizes and more!
  • Cost: Included in festival registration

Due to El Paso County COVID restrictions, we can only host a maximum of 90 people at any time. Participants will get a pre-packaged meal prepared by Colonel Mustard’s Sandwich Emporium. All meals come with a bag of sea salt potato chips & a Sasquatch Chocolate Chip Cookie. Choice of:

  • Italian Hoagie – 6″ freshly baked hoagie with Boar’s Head Black Forest Ham, Hard Salami, Sweet Capicola, Provolone, Prosciutto di Parma, Tomato, Red Onion, Lettuce and our Colonel Dressing. 
  • Turkey Wrap – Spinach tortilla with Oven Roasted Boar’s Head Turkey, Imported Swiss, Lettuce, Tomato, Smoked Bacon, Avocado and our Colonel Sauce.
  • Vegetarian Garden Wrap – Spinach Tortilla with Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Onion, Avocado, Pepperoncini and our Colonel Dressing.
  • Gluten-Free Option – Colonel Salad: organic tri-color quinoa, fresh greens, cucumbers, tomato, feta, onion, avocado, olives and our pear vinaigrette.


Sunday, May 16, 2021

binos icon

Su1: 6:00 am – 11:00. Chico Basin Ranch, Guided Bird Hike & Bird Banding Demo This Trip is Full

Banding a Yellow-breasted Chat

 (This is the same trip as F1 & S1) Come visit Chico Basin Ranch, an 87,000-acre family-run, working cattle ranch that operates on the high prairie 30 miles southeast of Colorado Springs. Its sprawling ranges of short-grass and sand-sage prairie, spring-fed lakes, creeks, and pools are home to diverse populations of birds, pronghorn, deer, fish, prairie dogs, coyote, badgers, and much more. Visit the bird banding station, then go on a guided bird walk. If you have one, bring a walkie talkie so the cars can communicate as they travel.

Possible bird species include: Various ducks and geese, Horned Lark, Northern Harrier, Lark Bunting, Woodpeckers, Swainson’s Hawk, prairie sparrows, and a variety of eastern and western warblers.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders, age 10 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map) to caravan at 6:00 am or at Hanover Fire Station (map) at 7:00 am.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

Su2: 6:30 am – 11:00 am. Aiken Canyon Preserve, Guided Bird Hike This Trip is Full

Aiken Canyon Preserve

(This is the same as S6) Named after ornithologist, Dr. Charles Aiken, this is a great destination for birders. Over 100 species have been seen here. Located 16 miles south of Colorado Springs, these 1,621 acres are where Aiken raised his herd of sheep. Aiken Canyon is one of the last high-quality examples of the southern Front Range foothills ecosystem. The preserve is composed of a mosaic of habitat types, including shrub lands, tall grass prairie meadows, pinyon juniper woodlands and mixed coniferous woodlands. Make sure you bring sturdy boots for hiking and plenty of water.

Possible bird species include: Virginia’s Warbler, Juniper Titmouse, Lazuli Bunting, and Ash-throated Flycatcher.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate/difficult.
  • Meet at Aiken Canyon (map) at 6:30 am.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

Su3: 6:30 am – Noon. Clear Spring Ranch, Guided Bird Walk This Trip is Full

Blue Grosbeak, singing

(This is the same trip as S7) This county-managed, 970-acre park is situated along Fountain Creek, providing visitors the opportunity to witness the importance of the creek’s riparian corridor for migrant and resident birds. In addition to the riparian forest, the park hosts extensive grasslands, where sparrows, raptors, and other species can be plentiful. This area can be very buggy; bring bug repellent.

Possible bird species include: Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Grosbeak, Great Horned Owl, Brown Thrasher, and numerous migrant warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and sparrows.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy; primarily walking on level trails and dirt roads.
  • Meet at the Clear Spring Ranch parking lot (map). Go south on I-25, take exit 123, turn left and go under I-25. Follow the signs to the parking lot, do not enter the farmer’s property.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

Su4: 6:30 am – Noon. Jimmy Camp Creek Open Space, Guided Bird Hike This Trip is Full

Orange Paintbrush

Spring migration is a wonderful time of year to visit this 700-acre, city-managed park on the eastern edge of Colorado Springs. The ponderosa-juniper woodland, grassland, and riparian habitats that comprise this park are currently only accessible by guided hikes. More than 130 bird species have been recorded, along with mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, bobcats, and jackrabbits. There are no established trails in the park, so plan on a moderately difficult 4 to 5-mile hike, depending on what we find.

Possible bird species include: Canyon Towhee, Rock Wren, Sora, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Cassin’s Kingbird, Western Tanager, Dickcissel, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Lark Sparrow.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders, age 10 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate/difficult; off-trail hiking.
  • Meet at Loaf N Jug gas station, 6857 Space Village Ave, CS, 80915 (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

Su5: 7:00 am – 10:00 am. Fountain Valley School, Guided Bird Walk This Trip is Full

Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat

(This is the same trip as F2 & S9) The Fountain Valley School is a small boarding school campus in the middle of 1,500 acres of open short-grass prairie. A fairly extensive wetland lies at the south edge of the campus providing good habitat for white-tailed deer, coyotes, and various species of birds including Virginia Rails, raptors, sparrows, and blackbirds. A small ponderosa pine forest on the north side of the campus has been home to owls and hawks. In past years, an active bald eagle nest has been located nearby. Who knows, we might get lucky and see ’em all.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy/moderate.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map). We will caravan from the nature center to the school. At the property, we will drive to different birding locations.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

Su6: 7:00 am – 11:00 am. Bear Creek Canyon by Ear, Guided Bird Hike This Trip is Full

Can you identify the song of the
Yellow-rumped Warbler?

This trip will introduce beginning birders to the wonders of birding by ear. We will walk up Bear Creek Canyon to learn what bird vocalizations can tell us about birds’ biology and ways to identify bird species by their songs and calls.

The mixed conifer forest along the creek will provide us the opportunity to hear and see a variety of birds, including Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Black-headed Grosbeak, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Plumbeous and Warbling Vireos, Virginia’s and Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Western Tanager. This field trip targets beginner, ID-by-sound birders but intermediate birders are welcome.

  • Appropriate for beginning and intermediate birders ages 12 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate – we’ll be walking up and then back down Bear Creek Canyon on a gravel road, but taking our time to listen for bird song..
  • Meet at the parking area along Bear Creek Road, just before the intersection with Gold Camp Road (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 12 participants.
binos icon

Su7: 7:00 am – 11:00 am. Fountain Creek Regional Park, Guided Bird Walk This Trip is Full

Plumbeous Vireo

Fountain Creek is a natural migration corridor and the major watercourse of the Pikes Peak region. Come explore the ponds, streams, wetlands, forest, and grasslands of this 450-acre county park to discover its birds and other wildlife. Spring migration is among the most exciting times at Fountain Creek Regional Park, always offering at least a few surprise avian visitors.

Possible bird species include: Green Heron, Virginia Rail, Eastern and Western Kingbirds, Summer and Western Tanagers, Bullock’s Oriole, and a variety of sparrows, vireos, and eastern and western warblers.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

Su8: 7:00 am – Noon. Venetucci Farm and Cross Creek Park, Guided Bird Walk This Trip is Full

Orchard Oriole singing

Venetucci Farm dates back to the late 1800s and has been a Colorado Springs landmark since the 1940s, when the Venetucci family began giving away pumpkins to school children. It boasts a variety of habitats, including willow thickets, riparian forest, and open farm fields. Because the farm borders Fountain Creek, a variety of birds associated with water visit the site, as do many migrant and breeding songbirds.

Cross Creek Park offers a great complement to Venetucci Farm. This 60 acre park in Fountain, CO punches well above its weight class with 156 bird species seen, mostly in the last couple of years as the park has caught on with birders. This concentration of birds is thanks to 1940’s era Hale Reservoir and the abundant riparian vegetation hiding Soras, Virginia Rails and Marsh Wrens.

Possible bird species include: Bullock’s and Orchard Orioles, Lazuli Bunting, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Vesper Sparrow, American Avocet, Double-crested Cormorant and a variety of ducks.Appropriate for all levels of birders, age 15 and older (12 if accompanied by an adult).

  • Physical difficulty: Moderate.
  • Meet at the big red barn at Venetucci Farm (map). Enter through the south gate, accessed by turning into the entrance for St. Dominic’s Church and then turning right (north) with the green water tower on your right.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 10 participants.
binos icon

Su9: 7:00 am – Noon. Kiowa Creek Ranch and Sanctuary, Guided Bird Hike This Trip is Full

Pygmy Nuthatch

This is a rare opportunity to access Audubon Rockies’ Kiowa Creek Ranch and Sanctuary in Black Forest, in northern El Paso County. The sanctuary, which partners with Corner Post Meats, hosts 1,500 acres of native grassland meadows and Ponderosa pine forest, along with several ponds. Part of the forest burned in the 2013 Black Forest Fire, but has shown remarkable recovery, adding to the site’s diversity.

Possible bird species include: Lark Bunting, Grasshopper Sparrow, Williamson’s Sapsucker, and Olive-sided Flycatcher.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate; possible off-trail hiking.
  • Meet at Kiowa Creek Ranch and Sanctuary (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 10 participants.
binos icon

Su10: 8:00 am – Noon. Manitou Lake Recreation Area, Guided Montane Bird Hike This Trip is Full

Manitou Lake Recreation Area

Enjoy the high country while looking for some of the over 170 bird species that have been sighted around Manitou Lake, marsh, riparian and ponderosa-woodland habitats. This mountain lake is six miles north of Woodland Park, Colorado on Hwy. 67.

Possible  bird species include: Sora, Red-naped Sapsucker, MacGillivray’s Warbler, White-faced Ibis, and Red Crossbill.

  • Appropriate for beginning to intermediate birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate. Flat walking, but 7,500 ft. elevation and moderate distance.
  • Meet at the southern end of the Manitou Lake parking lot (map) at 8:00 am.
  • Cost: $7/car entrance fee ($3.50/car with valid, annual national parks pass).
  • Limited to 15 participants.
binos icon

Su11: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Behind the Scenes Tour This Trip is Full

Peacock

Enjoy Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s bird species on a tour led by former Senior Lead Animal Keeper, Jenyva Fox. Learn about Bald Eagles while watching them receive food from their keepers. Meet the zoo’s African penguin flock with a chance to feed a penguin! Explore the African Rift Valley exhibit, learning about the care of the animals, all while keeping an eye out for the many wild bird species that frequent the zoo’s foothill ecosystem!

Observe bird training in action at The Loft with a chance to be part of the training demo. While walking around the zoo, tour participants will also look for the wild birds that make the zoo’s foothill ecosystem their home. This is a $177/person value!

  • Appropriate for everyone and families with children 5 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy/moderate (zoo grounds are quite steep).
  • Meet at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo ticket booth (map). Please follow the zoo’s COVID-19 guidelines when waiting to meet up with the tour.
  • Cost: $35/person, (non-refundable).
  • Limited to 10 participants.