There are many places to look for birds in the Pikes Peak region. Take a hike around a mountain lake. Stroll around a mountain lake looking and listening for returning summer residents. Enjoy a hike in the aromatic junipers and scrub oaks of a foothill riparian area. Go higher in elevation and see what birds call the montane forests their home.
Visit a working cattle ranch to learn how ranchers and birders work together to preserve critical bird habitat. Join world-renown Flammulated Owl researcher, Dr. Brian Linkhart, in the Manitou Experimental Forest to look for these diminutive raptors (left). El Paso County, where the short-grass prairies rise to meet the majestic top of Pikes Peak, has much to offer.
Sound interesting? Then you need to register for the second annual Pikes Peak Birding & Nature Festival, Friday, May 20, through Sunday, May 22, 2016.
The festival offers much more than just exciting fieldtrips. See the Hummingbird Experience and visit with a couple who specialize in banding hummingbirds. Make sure you see how delicate each hand made hummingbird band truly is.
See the birds and learn about the geology of two Colorado Springs’ city parks. Experience a behind the scenes tour at one of America’s most respected zoos. View birds close-up at bird banding sessions. Learn from local farming demonstrations or visit a family owned, working ranch.
On Saturday afternoon spend an hour or two learning to identify the raptors you may find around Colorado Springs. Take the quiz and see how well you paid attention. Is it a buteo, falcon or accipiter? How do you tell a Sharp-shinned Hawk from a Cooper’s Hawk?
Saturday evening is reserved for hors d’oeuvres and a presentation by award-winning photographer and author Paul Bannick.
Spring migration in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is often full of surprises. Last year that surprise included freezing temperatures, severe thunder storms, and snow. Hopefully this year the surprises will be a bit more pleasant! (The weather did result in a fall-out, and those who braved the elements were rewarded with some terrific birds.)
With classes, demonstrations, and plenty of time outdoors, the Pikes Peak Birding & Nature Festival is a terrific way to spend the third weekend in May. Registration is open, and early bird discounts end April 17. Besides, the sooner you register, the better as field trips and classes fill quickly. I’ll see you there!