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2013 Annual Convention in Cortez

held May 16-19

Colorado Field Ornithologists - 2013 Convention Wrap-up

Colorado Field Ornithologists held its annual convention in under-birded and off-the-beaten-path Montezuma County in southwestern Colorado.

Convention Headquarters: Our convention was based in Cortez, the county seat. Convention headquarters was at the Baymont Inn and Suites, 2321 East Main Street, Cortez, CO 81321, Telephone:(970)565-3400, with some events hosted elsewhere around the city. Convention registration began mid February after publication of our 2013 Convention Brochure.

About Montezuma County:

Trailside view of Mesa Verde National ParkThis county is the southwestern cornerstone of Colorado and contains well-known landmarks such as Mesa Verde National Park and the Four Corners, and lesser known national monuments like Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients. The city of Cortez is in a centralized location that allows easy access to adjacent Dolores, San Juan and La Plata counties. The Montezuma area provides a wide diversity of bird habitat types—desert scrubland, reservoirs, canyon creek riparian, piñion–juniper woodland, coniferous mountain forest—and we will be looking for birds associated with those habitats. Many experienced birders believe that this county would be a likely place to find Colorado's next first state record.

Grace's WarblerWelcome Picnic:

Last year's Thursday night barbeque was so popular that the CFO has decided to repeat the event this year. We offered a FREE kickoff beef barbeque picnic dinner and social gathering Thursday evening at the Cortez Recreation Center outdoor pavillion. This event, again, proved to be hughly popular.

Convention Banquet:

This year's convention banquet was held on Saturday May 18 at the Elk's Lodge, 2100 N. Dolores Road (SR-145) in Cortez. As always, the CFO convention featured a great speaker and program! This year we enjoyed a fun and inspiring talk from top 2011 Big Year Birder John Vanderpoel. This presentation was the highlight of this year's banquet.

Paper Sessions and Bird ID Challenge:

Colorado Birds Editor Nathan Pieplow orgainized our scientific paper session on Saturday afternoon. Paper presenters offered the latest field ornithological research about Colorado birds. Nathan was also the Master of Ceremonies for the annual Bird ID challenge on Friday evening.

Convention Art:

Our 2013 convention artwork was created by talented bird artist Jen Brumfield. Jen is a Naturalist/Artist for Cleveland Metroparks, bird illustrator and author of several natural history field guides. Jen's art has appeared in field guides, on the cover of Birding magazine, and in many other venues. She has created a beautiful logo that highlights Lucy's Warbler. Her painting also graces the back of our 2013 convention T-shirt which also has the CFO logo on the front. You can view more of Jen's work on her website at

About Our Keynote Speaker:

John Vanderpoel,John Vanderpoel - Full Chase Mode

In 2011 John Vanderpoel, an avid and experienced birdwatcher, decided to push his boundaries and do a birding "Big Year". Vanderpoel's Big Year began January 1, 2011 with the House Sparrow being an inauspicious bird species No. 1. He got 56 other bird species that day near his Colorado home. The rest of the year was a "mad dash" as Vanderpoel chased birds across the United States and Canada. His travels took him all across the United States and into Canada as well. He was on the road birdwatching two out of three days all that year. He ended the year with an amazing 744 species, the second largest total ever recorded for a Big Year. John's careful documentation via his www.bigyear2011 blog has set new standards for Big Year accounting.

Vanderpoel, who had 708 bird species on his life list before beginning his Big Year, got into birding in 1966 with the spring warbler migration near Chicago. He later lived in Mexico and became enthralled with hummingbirds. Vanderpoel retired from the Ball Corporation in Colorado and now runs his own company, Peregrine Video Production of Niwot, Colorado, which produces birding videos.

John Vanderpoel is the creator and producer of the critically acclaimed identification videos, the Advanced Birding Video Series with Jon Dunn. He writes about his Big Year experience in his upcoming book Full Chase Mode. John's CFO Banquet presentation— Full Chase Mode —was a highlight of our 2013 Convention.