I have a confession. I’m a bit of a bird nerd. I’ve always been fascinated in nature and birds are one of my favorite parts of the natural world.
Colorado’s varied landscape is home to more than 450 species of birds making it a great state for birders. There are even 27 designating birding trails, but you don’t need to go to a designated area to spot birds. In my neighborhood, not a day goes by when I don’t see several types of bird species in my yard and at least one raptor.
If you’d like a guarantee of some birding action, check out one of the state’s many birding festivals. The bird nerd in me decided to research where and when these festivals take place and I’ve compiled a list. I’m sure that I have missed some, so please leave a message if you know of another bird festival that takes place in Colorado and I will add it to this list.
Bald Eagle Festival, Barr Lake State Park, Brighton (early/mid-February)
Lake Pueblo Eagle Days – Pueblo (early Feb)
High Plain Snow Goose Festival, Lamar (Feb. 20-22)
This is an opportunity to see thousands of these beautiful birds. The event offers tours, educational programs, presentations, arts and crafts and a banquet. Learn more at HighPlainsSnowGoose.com.
Monte Vista Crane Festival, Monte Vista (mid-March)
Includes wildlife experts, local naturalists and biologist who present free educational workshops. This is a significant event for the area and many folks get involved. Go to CraneFest.com for details.
Eckert Crane Days, Eckert/Delta County (mid-March)
Go to EckertCraneDays.com to learn about this event.
The Greater Prairie Chicken Tours, Wray (March 27 to April 10)
The Wray Chamber of Commerce and East Yuma County Historical Society partner to put together these tours. Dates and times are available on their Facebook page here.
Colorado Owl Festival, Pueblo (March 27 – 28)
Weekend highlights include live owl demos, night hikes, workshops and presentations by experts in the study of owls. Learn more here.
Gunnison Sage-grouse Festival, Gunnison (early April)
Sisk-a-dee was founded in 2000 to promote the implementation of the Gunnison Sage-grouse Conservation Plan within the Gunnison Basin, Colorado. Learn more at Siskadee.org.
Karval Mountain Plover Festival, Karval (end of April)
This is a bird watching opportunity as well as a party for the town of Karval. The festival isn’t just about birds, but about injecting some tourism dollars into the town. Details about the festival are online at Karval.org.
The Lesser Prairie Chicken Tours, Holly (April & May)
Take a tour to experience the amazing dancing and mating rituals of these super-rare birds in Colorado. Tours occur in Southeast Colorado in the Holly area, and they are popular with avid birders. Learn more and register for a tour at ArenaDustTours.com.
Ute Mountain-Mesa Verde Birding Festival, Mesa Verde (early May)
Explore an array of birding hotspots that attracted all sorts of birds from loons to greebes to sparrows, grosbeaks and finches. A festival for all age groups, this is five days of bird nerd enjoyment. Go here for a schedule of events.
Pikes Peak Birding and Nature Festival (early May)
This event includes everything from birding to a behind the scenes tour of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Their website is “under construction,” so I would advise contacting Colorado Parks & Wildlife for details. Their website is CPW.state.co.us.
Humming Bird Festival, Colorado Springs (early May)
Celebrate the return of hummingbirds to Colorado at this event that includes speakers and artisan vendors. Information can be found at CheyenneCanon.org.
Bent on Birding, Las Animas (mid-May)
Bent County in Southeast Colorado is a spectacular place for birders. As winter ends the birds migrate to the area in droves. Event even includes historical reenactment. Learn more at Canyons and Plains of Southeast Colorado on Facebook.
Front Range Birding Festival, Littleton (June)
Keep tabs on this the details of this event on Facebook.
Yampa Valley Crane Festival, Steamboat Springs (mid-September)
This event features four days of free events including daily crane viewing, nature and bird walks, expert speakers, films, a bird art show, workshops, family activities and more. Click here to learn more.
Fall Birding Festival at Barr Lake, Brighton (early September)
A celebration of fall migration filled with food, fun and stories. Festival admission is $2, but all festivities are free. Follow Barr Lake State Park on Facebook to keep tabs on this event and others.
Northern Colorado Birding Fair, Fort Collins (late September)
The NOCO Birding Festival is now the NOCO Nature Festival and is a free event at the Nix Farm Natural area. Event includes live animals, interactive activities, live music, presentations and more. Go here to learn more.
Chatfield Big Sit! Littleton, (October)
A bird-a-thon where the objective is to tally as many bird species as can be seen or heard within 24 hours. Some have called this event a “tailgate party for birders.” Big Sit! parties occur all over the world. To be part of the one here in Colorado go to the Chatfield State Park website.
Cranes for Kids Festival, Monte Vista (mid-October)
This is a festival specifically for children and is a great way to introduce your child to nature and birding. Learn more here.
For a list of birding trails go to Colorado.com.