The festival promises to be a special event! Spring migration in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is often full of surprises. El Paso County, where the short-grass prairies rise to meet the majestic top of Pikes Peak, has much to offer.
Again this year, join world-renown Flammulated Owl researcher, Dr. Brian Linkhart, in the Manitou Experimental Forest to look for these diminutive raptors. Or visit a working cattle ranch to learn how ranchers and birders work together to preserve critical bird habitat. Stroll around a mountain lake looking and listening for returning summer residents or 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. Hike with a botanist and learn about the plants in the region.
Fountain Creek, an oasis on the plains, offers essential food and rest areas for many resident birds and those migrating through the area. Spend some time at 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. Walk the land where Charles Aiken raised his sheep and see which bird species live there today. Observe which bird species thrive in our regional parks or learn about the geology of the renown Colorado Springs Garden of the Gods city park. You can enjoy a behind the scenes tour at one of America’s most respected zoos, see birds in the hand at banding sessions, enjoy local farming demonstrations or enjoy a barbeque with ranch hands at a working ranch. New for the festival is the Friday night set up by the local astronomy society; see which constellations are passing overhead.
On Saturday afternoon you can learn 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? Look at some live, native spiders and other interesting insects. Hear how dinosaurs and birds are connected and learn what new insects are being discovered in Fountain Creek Regional Park.
On Saturday evening, join us for hors d’oeuvres and a presentation by author, photographer and Colorado middle school teacher Bill Schmoker. He will give a presentation about his most recent journey to the Arctic Circle and the North Pole. Find out why he went on this once in a lifetime adventure and what fascinating things he saw and experienced.
Look over the website for festival information, registration, speaker bios, and field trip descriptions to help you decide how to spend your weekend in and around the Front Range. There are events for everyone. We hope you will join us in Colorado Springs, Colorado on May 19 – 21, 2017 for dynamic birding field trips and appealing seminars and workshops.
The Pikes Peak Birding and Nature Festival is delighted to welcome keynote speaker Bill Schmoker to this year’s event.
In addition to his 24 years of teaching middle school science in Boulder, Bill is an instructor for the American Birding Association, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, and Boulder County Nature Association. His leadership roles in the birding community include terms as Colorado Field Ornithologists president, Colorado Bird Records Committee member, and regional eBird Reviewer.
Bill has embarked on two Arctic Ocean research expeditions as a PolarTREC Teacher and explored Greenland as a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. A widely-published bird/wildlife photographer, author, and public speaker, Bill finds adventure and seeks new knowledge wherever he finds himself, whether gardening in his back yard, on an icebreaker at the North Pole, and everything in between.