2024 Guided bird walks

2024 Guided bird walks

Bird walks are a favorite part of the Yampa Valley Crane Festival. Each bird walk is led by a qualified guide. You must provide your own transportation to each bird walk location.

Registration is required for all guided bird walks and will go live at 8:00 am on July 15, 2024.

Directions to all venues for the festival including bird walks can be found here.

Be sure to dress for weather. Some terrain will be uneven and may be wet, so wear sturdy, water resistant shoes. Binoculars are a must and a water bottle is recommended.

Registration will go live on July 15, 2024, at 8:00 am.

Friday, August 30

8 – 10:30 a.m.

Rehder Ranch Guided Bird Walk
Led by Rebecca Weiss, author of Birds of Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley.
Meet promptly at 8:00 a.m. at the Catamount Lake House parking lot. From there we will carpool a short distance to the Rehder Ranch. The Rehder Ranch is an historic sheep ranch on Harrison Creek that is managed as a nature preserve for the study of local plants and wildlife. The 250-acre ranch is located south of Steamboat Springs and to the east of Catamount Reservoir. It is surrounded on three sides by USFS lands and is bisected by Harrison Creek. Depending on time and birds, the walk will take in several parts of the preserve: the area surrounding the historic buildings; the area adjacent to Harrison Creek; the trail leading up to the family cemetery; and the trail through the aspen grove across the bridge. Target birds include warblers, vireos, hawks, kestrels, woodpeckers, tanagers, bluebirds, and more. Click here for directions.

8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Yampa River Preserve Bird Walk
Led by Chip Clouse and the Yampa Valley Birding Club.
Meet at the entrance to the Preserve promptly at 8:30 a.m. Seventeen miles west of Steamboat Springs, the Yampa River drops through a narrow gap before flowing onto one of the broadest floodplains in western Colorado. The preserve is located on the eastern edge of this floodplain.  Yampa Preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy and harbors one of the largest remaining examples of a rare riparian forest type dominated by narrowleaf cottonwood, box elder maple, and red-osier dogwood. Bird life is abundant and includes raptors, warblers, Belted Kingfishers, woodpeckers, swallows, towhees, tanagers, and more. Click here for directions.

3 – 3:45 p.m. + 4 – 4:45 p.m.

Pollinators: Hummingbirds and Hummingbird Moths
Led by Ted Floyd, editor of Birding Magazine, with an introduction by Andrew Floyd at the Yampa River Botanic Park.
A six-acre gem of ponds, berms, and over 40 gardens. It is one of the jewels of Northwest Colorado and one of the few botanic parks in the state. The Botanic Park sits at 6,800 feet above sea level, but through the use of designed microclimates it supports both alpine plants and desert plants found in the Yampa Valley. Meet at the Trillium House within the Botanic Park. Allow for a 10-minute walk from the Botanic Park parking lot to reach Trillium House, the start of the walk. Expect to find butterflies, hummingbird moths, hummingbirds, and other fall migrants. This walk is appropriate for all ages. Click here for directions.

Saturday, August 31

8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Fish Creek Falls Guided Bird Walk
Led by Noah Strycker, birder extraordinaire and author of Birding Without Borders.
Meet in the upper parking lot promptly at 8:30 a.m. There is a $5/vehicle day use fee. These dramatic falls are just outside of town and offer good montane shrubland and aspen groves as well as a spectacular waterfall that is featured on the Coors beer can. Two hiking trails lead from the parking lot. One is 1/4 mile (400 m) and goes up through several aspen groves with the occasional subalpine fir. It ends at a viewing station where the entirety of the falls can be seen. The other trail goes straight down into the U-shaped valley formed by glaciers. As it nears the bottom of the valley, one can hear the rushing sound of water over the falls and see beautiful Fish Creek. The birding should be as wonderful as the scenery –warblers, Townsend’s Solitaire, American Dipper, Mountain Bluebird, etc. Click here for directions.

8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Mt. Harris History and Guided Bird Walk
Led by Lisa and Paul Williams and Laurel Watson
Meet promptly at 8:30 a.m. This event takes place on a beautiful private property along the Yampa River near Hayden. History portion of the event will be provided by Laurel Watson, curator of Hayden Museum. Bird walk portion of this event will be led by Lisa and Paul Williams. Mount Harris was founded in 1914, when the Colorado-Utah Coal Company purchased the land for a coal mining venture. Two brothers from Iowa were in charge of developing the mining town which would become home for many people for the next 44 years. Mount Harris soon became noted as a ‘model coal camp’, the streets were wide and tree lined, and the residential area was planned in a generous way, allowing for homes to have a large yard and garden area for each family. In addition to the Colorado-Utah Coal Mine, which operated from 1914-1958, there were two other mines in the area that provided employment for residents of Mount Harris: the Wadge Mine and Wolf Creek Mine. As the mines began to close the Town started to fade and on May 20, 1958 the entire town of Mount Harris was auctioned off, houses and mining equipment were sold and moved, most of what remained was demolished. This area features rare riparian forest type dominated by narrowleaf cottonwood, box elder maple, and red-osier dogwood. Bird life is abundant and includes raptors, warblers, Belted Kingfishers, woodpeckers, swallows, towhees, tanagers, and more. Click here for directions.

8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Carpenter Ranch Bird Walk
Led by Ted Floyd, editor of Birding magazine, assisted by Andrew Floyd
Carpenter Ranch is a birdwatcher’s paradise (over 150 species on the ranch bird list) located along the Yampa River 20 miles west of Steamboat Springs. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) acquired the ranch in 1996 as the centerpiece of its broader effort to conserve the natural and agricultural heritage of the Yampa River Valley. Today, the Conservancy manages this historic, biologically significant property as a working cattle ranch to explore ways to simultaneously pursue agricultural production and the conservation of streamside and wetland habitats.

9 – 10:00 a.m.

Birding the Steamboat Springs Core Trail
Led by Chip Clouse, ProStaffer for Opticron optics and long-time bird tour leader.
Join Chip Clouse for a casual stroll along the core trail outside the Bud Werner Library. As you walk along the trail that parallels the Yampa River, Chip will help you identify the birds and other fauna of the area. Bring binoculars, water, and wear comfortable shoes. Meet on the core trail next to the Bud Werner Library parking lot. This walk will be easy and on a paved surface.

Sunday, September 1

6:45 – 10:30 a.m.

Marabou Ranch Bird Outing
Led by Rebecca Weiss, author of  “Birds of  Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley”. Meet promptly at 6:45 a.m. at Stockbridge Transit Center.
We will take a shuttle to Marabou Ranch and to various areas within the ranch. Marabou is a unique private ranch preservation community composed of only 62 custom homesteads on 1,717 acres of active ranchland. It is a working cattle and hay ranch. Wildlife resources throughout the Marabou community are abundant and have influenced its overall design and land plan. Wildlife that inhabit the area include Sharp-tailed Grouse, elk, deer, Sandhill Cranes, Great Blue Heron and Bald Eagles. The Marabou property boundaries include more than two miles of frontage along the Elk River, renowned for its gold medal fly fishing waters and excellent riparian habitat. The community extends just below Deer Mountain on the east and to the Elk River on the west. The land features lush irrigated hay meadows, pasture land, dense stands of gambel oak and aspen groves. Click here for directions.

8:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Loudy-Simpson Guided Bird Walk
Led by Forrest Luke and Allan Reishus
This bird walk will be held at Loudy-Simpson Park in Craig, Colorado. Welcome to Northwestern Colorado’s best migrant trap! Excellent riparian habitat combined with the island effect of being in the middle of Craig, makes this a superb place to look for a variety of passerine migrants during spring and fall migration. A half-mile loop trail goes through the best habitat, as well as a two-mile trail around the perimeter of the park. Wear waterproof shoes if it’s rained recently. Meet promptly at 8:00 a.m. at the kid’s playground under the shade trees. Click here for directions.

8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Yampa Preserve Guided Bird Walk
Led by Ted Floyd, editor of Birding magazine, and Andrew Floyd.
Meet promptly at 8:30 a.m. at the entrance to the Preserve. Seventeen miles west of Steamboat Springs, the Yampa River drops through a narrow gap before flowing onto one of the broadest floodplains in western Colorado. The preserve is located on the eastern edge of this floodplain. Yampa Preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy and harbors one of the largest remaining examples of a rare riparian forest type dominated by narrowleaf cottonwood, box elder maple, and red-osier dogwood. Bird life is abundant and includes raptors, warblers, Belted Kingfishers, woodpeckers, swallows, towhees, tanagers, and more. Click here for directions.