Pikes Peak Birding & Nature Festival

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DESCRIPTIONS

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EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS & a FREE Festival T-shirt available until April 17

binos iconBinoculars recommended

(Festival Event, Field Trip, Workshop, Seminar, Other Event)

Friday, May 11, 2018

binos iconF1: 5:30 pm – Midnight. Manitou Experimental Forest,  Flammulated Owls

Brian LinkhartDrive to the Manitou Experimental Forest, just north of Woodland Park, Colorado for a presentation by Dr. Brian D. Linkhart. Dr. Linkhart, considered the country’s leading expert on Flammulated Owls, has been studying the demography and habitat requirements of these diminutive, dark-eyed raptors on the Manitou Experimental Forest since 1981. His aim is the development of conservation plans for forest ecosystems containing this and other sensitive species. With this extended period of study Brian has been able to uncover some fascinating secrets about these owls. Dr. Brian D. Linkhart is a Professor of Biology at Colorado College, where he teaches courses in ornithology, ecology and field biology.

Afterward, join Brian and his students in a search for Flammulated Owl nest cavities. Hopefully, we’ll see the owls as well, although it’s a bit early in the season. Flash photography permitted. Dress warmly; nights can be quite cold at these higher altitudes. Please bring either a flashlight and/or headlamp.

  • Appropriate for adults.
  • Physical difficulty: Medium to difficult—bushwhacking in the dark.
  • Meet at the Bear Creek Nature Center parking lot to carpool (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 12 participants.

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Prairie Falcon fledgling.

F2: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Swifts, Falcons, and Garden of the Gods Geology Walk  
Kick off the 2018 Pikes Peak Birding & Nature Festival with a visit to Garden of the Gods. 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, Townsend’s Solitaire, and Black-headed Grosbeak.

  • Appropriate for everyone and families with children 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 Trail head), the first parking lot you come to if you enter from 30th Street (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 25 participants.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

binos iconS1: 6:00 am – 11:00 am. Bird Walk & Banding Demo, Chico Basin Ranch
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.

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Banding a Yellow Warbler

Visit the bird banding station, then go on a guided bird walk.

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 beginning to advanced birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map) to carpool at 6:00 am or at Hanover Fire Station (map) at 7:00 am.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 30 participants, divided into two groups of 15. One group will begin at ranch headquarters and the other will begin at the banding station. The groups will switch locations so everyone will visit both locations.
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Aiken Canyon Preserve

binos iconS2: 6:00 am – 11:00 am. Foothills Bird Hike, The Nature Conservancy’s 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, this 1,621 acres is 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 Warbler, Juniper Titmouse, Lazuli Bunting, and Ash-throated Flycatcher.

  • Appropriate for beginning to advanced birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate to difficult.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map) to carpool at 6:00 am or at Aiken Canyon (map) at 7:00 am.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
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Manitou Lake

binos iconS3: 6:00 am – Noon. Montane Guided Bird Walk, Manitou Lake   
Enjoy the high country while looking for some of the over 170 bird species that have been sighted around Manitou Lake, marsh and associated riparian and woodland habitat. This mountain lake is six miles north of Woodland Park, Colorado on Hwy. 67.

Possible bird species include: 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 Bear Creek Nature Center for (map) carpooling at 6:00 am or at the southern end of the Manitou Lake parking lot (map) at 7:00 am.
  • Cost: $6/car entrance fee ($3/car with valid, annual national parks pass).
  • Limited to 15 participants.

binos iconS4: 6:00 am – Noon. Ovenbird and Hermit Thrush Hike, Cheyenne Mountain State Park
Join park volunteer Debbie Barnes-Shankster on a four-mile hike, round trip, to listen and look for Hermit Thrushes, breeding Ovenbirds, Virginia Warblers and other park residents and spring migrants.

  • Appropriate for all levels of birders, ages 12 and above.
  • Physical difficult: Moderate to difficult. The trail is steep, and elevations in the park range between 6,000 and 9,500 feet.
  • Meet at Cheyenne Mountain State Park Visitor Center. (map)
  • Activity fee is included in registration, but cars must have a $7/car daily state parks pass, annual Colorado state parks pass ($70), or DV (Disabled Veteran) vehicle license plate.
  • Limited to 15 participants.
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Brett Gray Ranch birding

binos iconS5: 6:00 am – 1:00 pm. Birding Tour of The Nature Conservancy’s Brett Gray Ranch
This 49,000 acre ranch offers spectacular birding on the eastern plains of Colorado. It has a variety of habitats: dry prairie, short-grass prairie, riparian, 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. 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 birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy/moderate. High clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle may be helpful.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map) for carpooling 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 15 participants.

S6: 7:00 am – 8:00 am. Hummingbird Banding, Session 1—Starsmore Visitor & Nature Center
S11:
 8:15 am – 9:15 am. Hummingbird Banding, Session 2—Starsmore Visitor & Nature Center

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Broad-tailed Hummingbird

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. Hopefully, photograph hummingbirds in the hand and learn why they are one of nature’s most fascinating birds.

Sem1: 10:00 am – 11:30 am. Hummingbirds
After viewing the banding, you may attend a hummingbird natural history presentation and Q&A session from 9:30-10:30 inside the Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center. This activity is a must-see for any hummingbird enthusiast and only open to S6 and S11 registered participants. 

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.

  • Appropriate for everyone.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Starsmore Discovery Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants per banding session.
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Virginia Rail

binos iconS7: 7:00 am – 10:00 am. Guided Bird Walk, The Fountain Valley School
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, various species of sparrows, and juncos. 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 birders of all levels.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy/moderate.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map). We will carpool from the nature center to the school. At the property, we will drive to the different birding locations.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.


binos iconS8: 7:00 am –11:00 am. Fountain Creek County Park Spring Bird Count
Fountain Creek is a natural migration corridor and spring migration is the highlight of the year. Walk around the ponds, streams, wetlands, forest and open grasslands of the park looking for and counting a wide variety of birds.

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

binos iconS9: 6:00/7:00 am – 11:00 am. Dreamcatchers Equine Ranch  

  • Appropriate for …
  • Physical difficulty:
  • Meet at
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Maximum of 12 participants.
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Garden of the Gods city park

binos iconS10: 7:30 am – 9:30 am. Swifts, Falcons and Geology of Garden of the Gods Walk
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 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 Trail head), this is the first parking lot you come to if you enter from 30th Street (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 25 participants.

Sem2: 10:00 am – 11:30 am. “The Origin of Birds – The Dinosaur Connection,” Bear Creek Nature Center
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.

  • Appropriate for everyone and families with children ages 8 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Bear Creek Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 75 participants.

W1: 9:00 am – Noon. “Tarantulas of Colorado, Live Display,” Bear Creek Nature Center

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Sugar City Brown Tarantula

View the Mile High Bug Club’s exhibit of native tarantulas (live specimens) and their display(s) of pinned local insect specimens along with large prints/posters. Their goal is to show off some of the more spectacular and/or interesting arthropods that Colorado has to offer.

  • Appropriate for everyone.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Bear Creek Nature Center exhibit room (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 25 participants.

W2: 10:45 am – ?. Sketching Wildlife, Starsmore Visitor & Nature Center

  • Appropriate for everyone.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Starsmore Discovery Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.

binos iconS12: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. BBQ Lunch and Ranch Ecology Tour, Chico Basin Ranch
Come enjoy a BBQ lunch followed by a Corral Tour, to learn about the inner workings of the cattle operation and a Pond and Prairie Ecology Tour, focusing on the rich wildlife sustained by water’s presence on the short grass prairie.

  • Appropriate for everyone.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate.
  • Meet at Chico Basin Ranch Headquarters (map).
  • Cost: $10.00/person for the BBQ.
  • Limited to 30 participants.
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Eurasian Griffon, Cheyenne Mtn. Zoo

binos iconS13: 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm. Behind the Scenes Bird Tour, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo 
Visit behind-the-scenes at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s bird exhibits led by Zookeeper Jenyva Turner. Explore the African Rift Valley exhibit and Aquatics building (penguins). Meet hornbills, penguins and vultures (such as this Eurasian Griffon) in person. Great photo opportunities! Feed a hornbill or penguin. While walking around the zoo, tour participants will also look for the wild birds that make the zoo’s foothill ecosystem their home.

Wild foothill birds might include: Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Steller’s Jay, Pygmy and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Brown Creeper, and Wild Turkey.

  • Appropriate for everyone and families with children ages 8 and older.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy/moderate (zoo grounds are quite steep).
  • Meet at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo ticket booth (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 10 participants.

Sem3: 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm. Raptor Identification, Bear Creek Nature Center
hawk 2013Do you want to be able to identify that hawk in your backyard? Colorado has 18 non-rare species of diurnal raptors. Local birder Debbie Barnes-Shankster will present an information-packed program explaining how to identify Colorado’s eagles, hawks, falcons, accipiters and kites. Here is your chance to learn the tips that will greatly improve your skills.

  • Appropriate for adults and older children.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy – indoors.
  • Meet at Bear Creek Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Maximum of 75 participants.

W3: 2:00 pm -4:00 pm. “Photography with the Bird Whisperer,” Fountain Creek Nature Center
“I can tell you where to find an owl and you’ll smile for the day. I can teach you how to find your own and you’ll be hooked for life! This has always been my biggest goal when sharing my love of raptors. I found my life’s passion with photography. I’d love to help it become yours!”

Appropriate for everyone, especially photographers.

  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map).
  • Cost: Included in festival registration.
  • Limited to 60 participants.

4:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Birds & Brews Happy Hour, Fountain Creek Nature Center

  • Nature’s Educators w/ Live Birds
  • PPCC Wild Things & Festival Photography
  • Live Music by Peppergrass
  • Vendors, Birding Gear Auction, and more!

Open to the Public, Festival Registration not Required:

Broad-tailed Hummingbird, one of 4 species that frequents the Pikes Peak area.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird, one of four species that frequents the Pikes Peak area.

binos icon10:00 am – 3:00 pm. North Cheyenne Cañon Hummingbird Experience, Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center
The Friends of Cheyenne Cañon invite your entire family to the Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center to enjoy a day of hummingbird themed activities. Discover the secrets and fantastic adaptations of the world’s smallest birds. Throughout the day enjoy a bird migration game up on the mesa, learn about animals, or enjoy guided hikes with a Park Ambassador. For information go to Hummingbird Experience.

  • Appropriate for everyone.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy.
  • Starsmore Discovery Center (map).
  • Cost: No admission fee; open to the public

Sunday, May 13, 2018

binos iconSu1: 6:00 am – 9:00 am. Guided Bird Walk, North Cheyenne Cañon, Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center
Enjoy a guided walk through the forested area of North Cheyenne Cañon. This is a unique location with many hiking trails to enjoy following the guided walk. The elevation at North Cheyenne Cañon is 6,200 feet so please dress appropriately for this early morning walk. Be advised, the Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center will not be open so bathrooms will be available in the South Cañon Picnic Area located less than two blocks southeast of Starsmore, at the end of the parking lot on Evans Avenue.

Possible Cañon bird species include: Northern Flicker, Steller’s Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-tailed Hawk, Spotted Towhee, and Broad-tailed Hummingbird.

  • Appropriate for beginning to intermediate birders ages 8 and up.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate.
  • Meet at the Starsmore Discovery Center (map).
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 20 participants.

binos iconSu2: 6:00 am – 11:00 am. Bird Banding Demo and Guided Bird Walk, Chico Basin Ranch (Please see S1 for description)   cbr21       

  • Appropriate for beginning to advanced birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map) to carpool at 6:00 am or at Hanover Fire Station (map) at 7:00 am.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants. We will only have one group of birders on Sunday.

binos iconSu3: 6:00 am–11:00 am. Bird Hike, Kiowa Creek Ranch
This is a rare opportunity to access Audubon’s Kiowa Creek Ranch, located in Black Forest, in northern El Paso County.

  • Appropriate for beginning to advance birders.
  • Physical difficulty: .
  • Meet at
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.

binos iconSu4: 6:00 am–11:00 am. Foothills Birding Hike, The Nature Conservancy’s Aiken Canyon Preserve  (Please see S2 for description)  

  • Appropriate for beginning to advance birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate to difficult.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map) to carpool at 6:00 am or at Aiken Canyon (map) at 7:00 am.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.

binos iconSu5: 6:00 am — Noon. Montane Guided Bird Walk, Manitou Lake 
(Please see S3 for trip description)  

  • Appropriate for beginning to intermediate birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate. Flat walking, but 7,500 ft. elevation and moderate distance.
  • Meet at Bear Creek Nature Center (map) for carpooling at 6:00 am or Manitou Lake entrance station (map) at 7:00 am.
  • Cost: $6/car entrance fee ($3/car with valid, annual national parks pass).
  • Limited to 15 participants.

binos iconSu6: 6:00 am – 10:00 pm. PLT Ranch, Teller County

  • Appropriate for birders of all levels.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy/moderate.
  • Meet at
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Limited to 15 participants.

binos iconSu7: 6:00 am – 1:00 pm. Birding Tour of The Nature Conservancy’s Brett Gray Ranch (Please see S5 for trip description)

  • Appropriate for intermediate birders.
  • Physical difficulty: Easy/moderate. High clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle may be helpful.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map) for carpooling 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 15 participants.

binos iconSu8: 7:00 am – 10:00 am. Guided Bird Walk, The Fountain Valley School (Please see S7 for trip description)

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

binos iconSu9: 9:00 am – 11:00 am. Ethnobotany & Wildflowers at The Nature Conservancy’s Aiken Canyon Preserve

  • Appropriate for birders of all levels.
  • Physical difficulty: Moderate to difficult.
  • Meet at Fountain Creek Nature Center (map) to carpool at 6:00 am or at Aiken Canyon (map) at 7:00 am.
  • Cost: Included with festival registration.
  • Minimum 8, maximum 15 participants.

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