Birds of the Western Slope Aug. 23, 2017
By Evelyn Horn
Published Thursday, August 24, 2017 7:50 am
It's that time again, and I can hardly wait! The Yampa Valley Crane Festival begins on Thursday, Aug. 31, and continues until Sept 3. There are scheduled events to fit most anyone's tastes and there are shuttles to take you there -- all of it in Steamboat Springs.
Karen Vail will lead a wildflower walk on top of the mountain. The pontoon-boat birding trip is still available and you're encouraged to bring sun screen, drinking water, camera and binoculars. Times are: 8:15, 9:15, 10:15, and 11:15. An hour of birding on Lake Calamount is an enjoyable and worthwhile event, even if no cranes are visible. Each tour takes about one hour.
Events for children include an owl presentation, coloring contest, a story-telling event, a study of owl pellets and how the owl eats and digests it food. Each morning there is a shuttle scheduled ($10 or $15 non-refundable to pay for gas and driver). There are also film viewings including: Cranes of the Rocky Mountain, Migrating with the Sandhill Crane, the film Billions to None (a must see!), and the Eagle Huntress a thirteen-year old girl in Mongolia who attempts to become (the first female eagle-hunter). Each morning there are scheduled bird-walks with a variety of leaders, hay-ride event on Hayden ranch and explanation of conservation.
Most of the sessions are held in the library, a spacious room for people and exhibits. The array of activities is impressive including nature-writing, wild life photography workshop, the art of landscape, and the osprey nest at the Yampa River Botanic Park. Of course there is a reception, picnic, and breakfast. The Broad Band (all women) will entertain us.
On Friday, Lizza Rossi of the Bird Conservation Coordinator of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, will share information about the Rocky Mountain population of Greater Sandhill Cranes (OUR CRANES). I know that the idea of promoting the population has been around since the 1970 and it will be interesting to see how far back the history goes. This group was named Canadensis canadensis tabida with tabida meaning dwindling or decreasing.
At a later time, this group was chosen to host the endangered Whooping Cranes, Grus americana. When this occurred, 1989 or so, Evelyn Horn came upon the scene just as the attempt with the whoopers was canceled. An "expert" was no longer needed and I was just standing around looking at the cranes.
I am excited and thrilled that I can go to this festival again. Hope to see you there!