DESCRIPTIONS

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.  

 

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
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Binoculars recommended

Thursday, May 12, 2022

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Th1: 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm. FULL Adams Open Space, Bird Walk

Song Sparrow

(This is the same trip as F3 & S9) 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 15 participants.

Sem1:  6:00 pm – 6:45 pm. Birds of the Pikes Peak Region – Virtual

Black-crowned Night-heron

Please join us for a Zoom presentation of “Birding in the Pikes Peak Region”, a slideshow and talk geared for beginning birders and those new to the Pikes Peak Region. Your presenter will be David Rudin of “Have Binoculars Will Travel”.

https://www.coloradospringsbirding.com/

David will share with you his photos, experiences, and anecdotes about birds he has discovered throughout the seasons and ecosystems of the Pikes Peak Region, including in his own backyard. The presentation will be approximately 30 minutes long with time for questions afterwards.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet in the comfort of your own home.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 100 participants.

Friday, May 13, 2022

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F1: 6:00 am – 11:00 am. FULL Chico Basin Ranch, Guided Bird Hike & Bird Banding Demo

A newly banded Kentucky Warbler

(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.
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F2: 7:00 am – 10:00 am. FULL The Fountain Valley School, Guided Bird Walk

Birders
Festival birders

(This is the same trip as S8 & Su7) 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.
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F3: 7:00 am – 10:00 am. FULL Adams Open Space, Guided Bird Walk

Mississippi Kite

(This is the same trip as Th1 & S9) 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.
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F4: 7:00 am – 11:00 am. FULL Clear Spring Ranch Park, Guided Bird Walk

Clear Spring Ranch festival birders

(This is the same trip as S6 and Su5) 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.
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F5: 7:30 am – 11:00 am. FULL Kane Ranch Open Space, Bird Hike

Burrowing Owl

Kane Ranch open Space is one of El Paso County’s newest parks and open spaces additions and may still not yet be open to the public before the festival. This short-grass prairie habitat includes a prairie dog town and dry cottonwood creek bed.

This new, remote area has not been birded much yet, but we hope to see Burrowing Owls, Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, raptors, sparrows, and other prairie species. This easy trail is relatively flat, but be prepared for no shade.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy/Moderate.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
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F6: 7:30 am – 11:00 pm. FULL Mueller State Park, Guided Bird Hike

Western Bluebird

With over 115 resident and migratory bird species, Mueller State Park in Teller County offers excellent opportunities to view such species as Williamson’s Sapsucker, Canada Jay, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Mountain Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, Evening Grosbeak, Cassin’s Finch, Green-tailed Towhee and many others. Join us for a 3 to 4 mile morning hike through mixed coniferous forest, mountain meadows and wetland communities to look for avian activity and listen for serenading male songbirds.

Dress for the weather, it may be cool at the beginning but it could warm up quickly depending on where and how far we walk. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, bring a hat, sunscreen, field guide, water and whatever snacks you may need.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate – Depending on how far we travel to locate bird activity this will be a 3 to 4 mile hike on several different trails. There will be some steep climbs and uneven terrain so sturdy hiking boots and hiking poles are recommended. Although the pace will be slow, be aware that you will be hiking at elevations around 9,500 feet elevation.
  • Meet at the Mueller SP 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 a minimum of 6 participants and a maximum of 12 participants.
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F7: 8:30 am – 11:30 am. FULL Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Guided Bird Hike

“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.

F8: 9:00 am – 11:00 am. FULL Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Foothill Flowers

Wild Geranium

Cheyenne Mountain State Park, located just a few minutes south of Colorado Springs off Highway 115, has over 27 miles of trails that wind trough prairie grasslands, oak shrublands, and pine forests. Pat Cooper, long-time Parks volunteer and Native Plant Master, leads this wildflower excursion to find and identify what’s blooming in the foothills ecosystem. In addition to identification, Pat will discuss characteristics of individual plant families and touch on the ethnobotany of some of the more interesting species. Lastly, she will share a brief history of the two families that occupied the ranch property before it became Cheyenne Mountain State Park.

Please wear closed-toe shoes, bring water, snacks, hat, sunscreen, pencil, notebook and dress for the weather. Bring your camera along for great photo opportunities. Local COVID guidelines will be encouraged. Children 10 and older welcomed.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders, age 10 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 a minimum of 6 participants and a maximum of 15 participants.

F9: 10:00 am – Noon. Fountain Creek, Native Fish Identification and Sampling Techniques

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) fish biologists study native fish populations to determine which species are thriving and which ones are threatened or endangered. Observe a CPW fisheries biology crew as they demonstrate seining and electroshock sampling techniques to catch and identify native fish species present in Fountain Creek.

Electroshocking Demonstration

The Colorado Front Range native fish biologist conserves and manages native species by maintaining region-wide inventories through sampling of streams, lakes and reservoirs. Inventories established from sampling help to document species composition, distribution and relative abundances of Eastern Plains fish throughout their habitat. Besides fish species, fish biologists also have to know the surrounding area’s flora and fauna to make accurate assessments. All the information gathered assist the biologist in making decisions about fishing regulations and the management of fish populations.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders, age 12 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate to difficult.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek south of Willow Springs. Participants meet at the south parking lot at the Willow Springs fishing ponds off Highway 85 (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration,
  • Limited to a minimum of 6 participants and a maximum of 12 participants.

F10: 10:00 am – Noon. Fountain Creek Regional Park, Bug Watching Walkabout

Wolf Spider with her egg sac

Join the Mile High Bug Club as they look for all manner of insects, spider and their kin, from pollinators to predators to leaf-eaters and scavengers. There is scarcely any place you cannot find insects, but this guided safari of the small will help you develop search images.

Be prepared to be surprised, in a good way, by the astonishing diversity of the six- and eight-legged creatures that share the landscape with you.

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

Sem2: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. The 2020 Bird Die-off: Impacts Seen from Colorado Banding Stations – Virtual

Wilson’s Warbler

(This is the same seminar as Sem9) In early September of 2020, birds migrating across Western North America experienced a massive die-off event that extended from Mexico to Canada. It captured the attention of people beyond the birding community with much speculation as to what may have caused this dramatic event.

We’ll take a close look at what the scientific community has learned since, including potential impacts observed at two long-term Colorado banding stations; Barr Lake State Park and Chico Basin Ranch.

Join Colin Woolley from the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies for a Zoom presentation on how the 2020 bird die-off impacted the banding stations throughout Colorado.

Sem3: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Live Birds of Prey, Fountain Creek Nature Center

Diana Miller with a Red-tailed Hawk

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 60 participants.

Sem4: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. Feeding is for the Birds, Wild Birds Unlimited Store

Spend an hour with the owners of the Wild Birds Unlimited store, the festival’s major sponsor, learning what is the best food for our local avian friends. Our birds live at different altitudes and ecosystems so their food requirements vary as well.

  • Appropriate for everyone.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy – indoors.
  • Meet at the Wild Birds Unlimited store (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 20 participants.

Sem5: 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm. Gardening for the Birds – Virtual

Cactus

Learn how to turn your yard into a haven that attracts adult birds and provides the shelter and food for future generations using native plants.

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

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

Join this 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 year we are meeting in-person at Fountain Creek Nature Center. If weather permits, following Leslie’s presentation you will go outside and practice some of the techniques which were discussed.

  • Appropriate for all festival participants, age 12 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy – indoors.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 40 participants.
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F11: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. FULL Garden of the Gods, Guided Bird Walk

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.
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F12: 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm. FULL Fountain Creek Regional Park, Guided Bird Walk

American Redstart

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.
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F13:  5:00 pm – Midnight. FULL Flammulated Owls

Flammulated Owl

Flammulated Owls are tiny raptors that winter as far south as Central America, and they spend the summer months breeding in western North America, including Colorado, where they hide in the shadows of ponderosa pines by day, and fly as silently as a breeze to capture moths on starlit needles by night.

Participants in this festival adventure will learn about the natural history and ecology of the owl, and will participate in a nocturnal field excursion to the Manitou Experimental Forest in an attempt to hear whispers of the owl’s territorial song, and possibly attempt captures of fist-sized owls.

Participants should be prepared for short hikes over steep, mountainous terrain, in a landscape illuminated only by soft starlight (and your headlamp), and will need to bring multiple layers to stay warm and dry at the 8,500 ft. elevation.

  • Appropriate for birders 12 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy then Difficult. Dress for the weather – layered, warm clothing, wear sturdy hiking boots, bring a headlamp and a spirit of adventure.
  • Meet at Bear Creek Nature Center (map) for an introductory presentation and then drive to the Manitou Experimental Forest to look for the owls.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 12 participants.
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F14: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. FULL Garden of the Gods, Swifts, Falcons, & Geology Walk

Garden of the Gods City Park

(This is the same trip as S12) 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 these elements combine during a walk looking for birds, animals and plants, while also discovering how geology shapes this beautiful park.

This accessible guided walk is along the Perkin’s Central Garden Trail. It is a smooth 1.5 mile long, concrete path with about 88 ft. of elevation gain. It falls into a mostly gentle grade category with an estimated 5% or less average grade. Accessible restrooms, parking, and scenic overlook available at the trail-head.

Possible bird species include: White-throated Swift, Prairie Falcon, Northern Flicker, Spotted Towhee, Bushtit, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Townsend’s Solitaire.

  • 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.

F15: 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm. FULL Bear Creek Regional Park, Bug Black Lighting with The Mile High Bug Club

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 14, 2022

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S1: 6:00 am – 11:00 am. FULL Chico Basin Ranch, Guided Bird Hike & Bird Banding Demo

Birding Headquarters Pond

(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.
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S2: 6:00 pm – Noon. FULL Horse Creek Ranch, Bird Hike

Turkey Vulture, 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 10 participants.
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S3: 6:00 am – 1:00 pm. FULL 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.
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S4: 6:00 am – 1:00 pm. FULL The Nature Conservancy’s Brett Gray Ranch, Guided Bird Hike

(This is the same trip as Su2) 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.

Sem6: 6:30 am – 7:30 am. FULL Starsmore Visitor & Nature Center, Hummingbird Banding, Session 1
Sem7:
 7:45 am – 8:45 am. FULL Starsmore Visitor & Nature Center, Hummingbird Banding, Session 2

Broad-tailed hummingbird, Male

Join Fred and Tena Engelman for an opportunity to observe early migrating hummingbirds. They have been studying hummingbirds for more than 20 years and are authorized to capture and band hummingbirds by federal and state permits.

Each hummingbird is carefully identified, banded, weighed, and measured prior to release. You will be able to learn interesting facts regarding Colorado’s hummingbird species and likely have an opportunity to photograph these amazing birds in the hand.

Sem8: 9:00 am – 10:00 am. Hummingbirds
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 Sem6 or Sem7
  • Appropriate for everyone.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 10 participants per banding session.
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S5: 6:30 am – 11:30 am. FULL Hanna Ranch, Guided Bird Hike

Orchard Oriole singing

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.
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S6: 6:30 am – Noon. FULL Clear Spring Ranch Park, Guided Bird Walk

Northern Flicker

(This is the same trip as F4 & Su5) 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.
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S7: 6:30 am – Noon. FULL Corral Bluffs Open Space, Guided Bird Hike

Canyon 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.
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S8: 7:00 am – 10:00 am. The Fountain Valley School, Guided Bird Walk

Birder
Festival birder

(This is the same trip as F2 & Su7) 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.
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S9: 7:00 am – 10:00 am. Adams Open Space, Guided Bird Walk

Western Tanager

(This is the same trip as Th1 & 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.
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S10: 7:30 am – 11:00 am.  FULL The Nature Conservancy’s Aiken Canyon Preserve, Guided Bird Hike

Aiken Canyon Preserve

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 7:30 am.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 10 participants.
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S11 8:00 am – 11:00 am. FULL Manitou Lake Recreation Area, Guided Montane Bird Hike

Manitou Lake Recreation Area

(This is the same trip as Su11) 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: $8/car entrance fee ($4.00/car with valid, annual national parks pass).
  • Limited to 15 participants.
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S12: 8:30 am – 10:30 am. FULL Garden of the Gods, Swifts, Falcons, & Geology Walk

Prairie Falcon fledgling

(This is the same trip as F14) 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.

This accessible guided walk is along the Perkin’s Central Garden Trail. It is a smooth 1.5 mile long, concrete path with about 88 ft. of elevation gain. It falls into a mostly gentle grade category with an estimated 5% or less average grade. Accessible restrooms, parking, and scenic overlook available at the trail-head.

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.
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S13: 8:30 am – 11:30 am. Fountain Creek Regional Park, Guided Bird Walk

Spotting a bird

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.
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S14: 11:30 am – 2:00 pm. Chico Basin Ranch Headquarters, Lunch & Ranch Ecology

Some of the hard-working ranch horses

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).

Sem9: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. The 2020 Bird Die-off: Impacts Seen from Colorado Banding Stations – Virtual

Wilson’s Warbler

(This is the same seminar as Sem9) In early September of 2020, birds migrating across Western North America experienced a massive die-off event that extended from Mexico to Canada. It captured the attention of people beyond the birding community with much speculation as to what may have caused this dramatic event.

We’ll take a close look at what the scientific community has learned since, including potential impacts observed at two long-term Colorado banding stations; Barr Lake State Park and Chico Basin Ranch.

Join Colin Woolley from the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies for a Zoom presentation on how the 2020 bird die-off impacted the banding stations throughout Colorado.

W2: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. “eBird – A Tool for All Birders From Beginners to Experts”

Screenshot of the eBird website

Join local birder Mel Goff as he helps you learn about the world’s premier free internet-based platform that allows you to find more birds, track your bird lists and photos and explore sighting s from around the neighborhood to around the world. eBird is an easy to use program that provides you with the opportunity to explore the world of birds through the eyes of hundreds of thousands of birders who have contributed more than 60 million checklists to the eBird database.

Plan your next birding vacation, find your next target bird, chase a rarity, and set your next birding goal – all while taking part in the world’s largest citizen science birding project. This presentation will help you learn more about eBird whether you are new to birding or an expert. Participants should feel free to bring laptops, tablets, or cellphones to se eBird’s features firsthand.

  • Appropriate for everyone who uses a computer.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy – indoors.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map)
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 60 participants.

W3: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. “Scratch Your Way Into Art”

Scratchboard Hooded Merganser

Come learn about scratchboard art from this year’s festival artist! Heidi Eaton will have supplies for you to learn how to create artwork on scratch paper. This unique art form uses tools to scratch away a black coating and expose the white underneath. It is especially great for creating the fur and feathers of animals.

  • Appropriate for everyone and families with children age 12 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy—indoors.
  • Meet at Bear Creek Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 10 participants.
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S15: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. FULL Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Behind the Scenes Tour

Eurasian Griffon, Cheyenne Mtn. Zoo

(This is the same trip as Su12) 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.

Sem10: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm. FULL Raptor Identification

Learn to identify 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 an in-person workshop this year at Fountain Creek Nature Center.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 60 participants.

Sem11: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm. Colorado’s Watchable Wildlife Program – Maximize Your Wildlife Viewing Experience – Minimize Your Disturbance – Virtual

Sandhill Cranes

Colorado’s Watchable Wildlife program was created to provide information and techniques for the public to enjoy a positive and safe wildlife viewing experience while minimizing the impact on the species being observed. From backyards to the peaks and plains of Colorado, wildlife can be seen everywhere if you know how, where, and when to look.

Join Jeremy Agnew, a long time Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteer/instructor, for a virtual presentation on best practices for improving wildlife viewing skills and understanding the responsibilities of an ethical wildlife observer. Jeremy will also share some of his favorite books on wildlife adaptation, behavior and natural history.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy – indoors.
  • Meet at 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 Pavilions (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
  • Organization tables
  • Live Music by Tidal Breeze Jazz Arts
  • Door Prizes and more!
  • Cost: Included with festival registration
  • Limited to 130 participants

We will have sandwich trays from Colonel Mustard’s Sandwich Shop (there will be a vegetarian option but no gluten-free option), veggie trays, assorted bags of chips and cookies as well as Phantom Canyon Beer and non-alcoholic beverages.

See which bird species have been seen during the festival and mingle with other festival participants.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

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Su1: 6:00 am – 11:00 am. FULL Chico Basin Ranch, Guided Bird Hike & Bird Banding Demo

Lark Bunting

 (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.
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Su2: 6:00 am – 1:00 pm. FULL The Nature Conservancy’s Brett Gray Ranch, Guided Bird Hike

Brett Gray Ranch birders

(This is the same trip as S4) 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.
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Su3: 6:30 am – 11:00 am. FULL Aiken Canyon Preserve, Guided Bird Hike

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.
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Su4: 6:30 am – 11:00 am. FULL Glen Eyrie , Guided Bird Walk

Can you identify the song of a Spotted Towhee?

Historically home to the Utes and later the founder of Colorado Springs, General Palmer, Glen Eyrie is a tucked-away gem along the foothills of Pikes Peak. This 720-acre property hosts dramatic sandstone formations and the mouth of Queen’s Canyon, from which Camp Creek flows.

Among the pinyons, junipers, and spruces of Glen Eyrie, a variety of birds can be expected, including Wild Turkey, White-throated Swift, Canyon Wren, Rock Wren, Western Tanager, Lazuli Bunting, and Virginia’s Warbler.

  • Appropriate for beginning and intermediate birders ages 12 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate.
  • Meet at the north end of the Safeway parking lot at 4405 Centennial Blvd., Colorado Springs, 80907 (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 10 participants.
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Su5: 6:30 am – Noon. Clear Spring Ranch, Guided Bird Walk

(This is the same trip as F4 & S6) 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.
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Su6: 6:30 am – Noon. FULL Jimmy Camp Creek Open Space, Guided Bird Hike

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.
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Su7: 7:00 am – 10:00 am. FULL Fountain Valley School, Guided Bird Walk

Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat

(This is the same trip as F2 & S8) 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.
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Su8: 7:00 am – 11:00 am. FULL Fountain Creek Regional Park, Guided Bird Walk

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.
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Su9: 7:00 am – Noon. FULL Venetucci Farm and Cross Creek Park, Guided Bird Walk

Venetucci Farm

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.
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Su10: 7:00 am – Noon. FULL Kiowa Creek Ranch and Sanctuary, Guided Bird Hike

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.
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Su11: 8:00 am – Noon. FULL Manitou Lake Recreation Area, Guided Montane Bird Hike

Manitou Lake Recreation Area

(This is the same trip as S11) 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: $8/car entrance fee ($4.00/car with valid, annual national parks pass).
  • Limited to 15 participants.
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Su12: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. FULL Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Behind the Scenes Tour

Penguin

(This is the same trip as S15) 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.

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.

Sem12: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. The Green Big Year, Scott Somershoe – Virtual

The Colorado birding community lost one of its pillars when Joe Roller passed away in November 2020. To honor Joe, Scott decided to embark on a Green Big Year that requires walking or riding his bike from his home in Littleton, CO to get as many species as possible throughout 2021.

Rock Wren on Scott’s bike

Scott partnered with the Colorado Field Ornithologists (CFO) and Joe’s family to create the Joe Roller Memorial Grant to support the study and conservation of avian species found in, and moving through, Colorado. The Joe Roller Memorial Grant will be added to the top research grants awarded by CFO each year.

Scott exceeded his initial “realistic” goal of 250 species with four months left in the year and finished with 285 species while cycling over 3,120 miles. Scott will share a few of the countless fun days of birding and cycling, and some tough days, and a little background on his work as an ornithologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  • Appropriate for everyone.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy – indoors.
  • Meet at the comfort of your own living room.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 100 participants.