American Three-toed Woodpeckers and Pine Grosbeaks around Rabbit Ears Pass, and even the off-chance for a White-winged Crossbill or Boreal Owl… Brewer’s Sparrows and Sage Thrashers aplenty in the vast shrublands, and scattered family groups of Sharp-tailed Grouse and Sandhill Cranes… And in the lush riparian forests of the Yampa Valley, Veeries, Fox Sparrows, and so much more around every bend in the river.
That is just a sampler of the bounty of birdlife we expect to enjoy at this year’s CFO Convention based out of Steamboat Springs, Routt County. Breeding bird diversity is exceptionally high here, even by Colorado’s standards; some of our wide-ranging daylong trips may approach or exceed 100 species.
We are pleased to announce that convention headquarters will be the beautiful campus of the Colorado Mountain College on the west side of town. In addition to hosting a variety of CFO events at facilities boasting sweeping views out over the valley, the campus is an easy walk from downtown attractions and the Yampa River, with its variety of finches, flycatchers, warblers, woodpeckers, and more. And if all that is not enough, CFO has also arranged for use of the college dorms (with private bathrooms) for lodging, which will be able to accommodate most if not all conventioneers, at prices much more favorable than one would otherwise expect to find in this beautiful and popular resort town.
This year we are delighted to welcome Sheri Williamson, acclaimed naturalist, ornithologist, conservationist, writer, speaker, artist, hummingbird bander, and author of A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America, as our keynote speaker and special guest. Along with her equally accomplished husband, biologist Tom Wood, Sheri has agreed to join us for field trips, workshops, book signings, and more that will add greatly to our enjoyment of the convention.
Another guest of our Convention is Johanna Beam, who blazed onto the Colorado birding scene as a high school student a few years ago, and was recently recognized as the ABA Young Birder of the Year. Johanna has kindly created our Convention artwork this year—a stunning watercolor of Broad-tailed Hummingbirds. Please say hi to Johanna in the field or at a workshop or other program.
There will be so much to do at the CFO Convention! We’ll kick things off with a Thursday evening Welcome Picnic, to be held this year at The Nature Conservancy’s beautiful—and bird-rich!—Carpenter Ranch. In recent years, the Saturday afternoon science papers session has emerged as one of the strongest offerings of the Convention, and we’re looking forward to another stimulating and informative series of reports on Colorado birds and their habitats. Also stimulating and informative—and hilarious—is the Friday evening quiz show, Jeop-birdy, hosted by Colorado birding expert and CFO board member Christian Nunes. And skills workshops will help you take your birding to the next level. All of us at CFO are delighted by the contributions of students to birding and ornithology in Colorado, and this year we will once again be saying thank you with a Student Mixer, hosted by CFO board members Christy Carello and Ted Floyd.And field trips! For a great many CFO members, Convention field trips are the birding highlight of the year. CFO has organized dozens of field trips for the Convention. Must-visit sites like The Nature Conservancy’s Carpenter Ranch and the spruce–fir forests of Rabbit Ears Pass are on the itinerary, and ventures farther afield promise adventure and discovery. And if you prefer to stick closer to town, local visits—including the popular “slacker trips”—to sites along the Yampa River should be excellent.
Don’t miss out! Registration opens in March 2017. As in recent years, registration is online only, with CFO (and WFO) members enjoying a discount. And as in years past, we are offering significantly reduced registration rates to students; please spread the word to interested students.
For further information, check out the CFO Convention webpage where the latest information regarding registration, pricing, lodging, directions and field trips and other events will be posted: COBirds.org/CFO/Conventions/Next.aspx. Use #CFOConvention for online social media.
Save the Date: Western Field Ornithologists is coming to Colorado, Aug. 16–20, 2017. Keynote address by Lauryn Benedict; excellent workshops for building birding skills; and field trips all throughout the Arkansas River Valley.