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Friday, April 19, 2013

Birdwatchers Flock to Annual Birding festival

Birdwatchers and aficionados from around the country will gather in southwest Colorado May 8 to 12 to search for and spot over 150 birds on the Colorado Plateau.
Spring migrants and early nesters attract birdwatchers from across the nation to the Ute Mountain/Mesa Verde Birding Festival.
Now in its 9th year, the festival takes place in the diverse habitats of southwest Colorado’s Mesa Verde Country®. Several of the birding field trips visit spectacular archaeological areas such as Mesa Verde National Park and the Ute Tribal Park.
Along with expert-led tours to spot and document sightings, the festival includes a reception, workshops and lectures, an art show and dinner with keynote speaker Mark Obmascik. He is the author of “The Big Year,” the story of a 365-day marathon of birdwatching, which was later made into a popular movie starring Steve Martin.
Habitats in the area include mountain high country, river corridors and rugged red rock canyons, says Lynn Dyer, executive director of Mesa Verde Country®, the southwest Colorado travel destination surrounding Mesa Verde National Park.
In past years, birdwatchers have documented up to 166 bird species, including: Lucy’s warbler; black Phoebe; wild turkey; western tanager; black-chinned hummingbird; roadrunner; Clark’s nutcracker; and green-tailed and spotted towhee.
Last year’s tour to Vermillion Cliffs, AZ to view the California Condors, was such a spectacular success it will be repeated again this year. One of the new tours for 2013, in celebration of the anniversary of The Old Spanish Trail, will follow the Historic Trail between Cortez and Pagosa Springs, with an overnight in Pagosa, and a stop at Colorado’s newest National Monument, Chimney Rock.
Festival registration, which includes the welcome reception, lectures and workshops, and the dinner, is $50. Tours are priced separately. To register, contact the Cortez Cultural Center at 970-565-1151 or info@cortezculturalcenter.com, or visit www.cortezculturalcenter.org
For a full schedule of festival events, see www.mesaverdecountry.com.
For more information about top events in Colorado take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Colorado