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2015 Annual Convention in Salida

held June 4-8

Colorado Field Ornithologists - 2015 Convention Wrap-up

CFO’s 2015 Convention was, by any measure, one of the great ones. More than 200 CFO members convened in Salida, Chaffee County, for a long weekend of good times and good birding.

Conventioneers found 175 species on convention field trips, with such highlights as Dusky Grouse, Northern Goshawk, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Peregrine and Prairie falcons, Gray Flycatcher, all three phoebe species, Pinyon Jay, Juniper Titmouse, Sage Thrasher, Black-throated Gray and Grace’s warblers, and Rufous-crowned Sparrow. View the entire species checklist here:

The birding was good, for sure. But the “indoor” aspects of the Salida convention were a huge part of the weekend, and received strong praise from many attendees. Things got under way Thursday evening in the semi-indoor venue of Salida’s Centennial Park, where the “Welcome Picnic” was held. Good food and CFO President Bill Kaempfer’s offbeat humor set the stage for the weekend to follow.

Learning about birds and their habitats is a major focus of any CFO convention, and so it was at Salida. The Saturday afternoon paper session featured one excellent presentation after another, and keynote speaker Jeffry B. Mitton enlightened the standing-room-only audience with his wide-ranging yet conceptually focused banquet presentation, “A Naturalist’s Interpretations of Interacting Species.” Back by popular demand was Jeop-birdy—equal parts educational and entertaining.

It was wonderful to have participation this year from Western Field Ornithologists (WFO), with whom CFO recently has entered into an official partnership. WFO Vice President Tom Blackman and WFO Past President Catherine Waters were in attendance, as were several current and recent WFO board members.

The best thing of all about the CFO convention?—people! It’s just amazing to reflect on how 200+ folks, from all over Colorado and all over the country, converged on a little town in the mountains for the purpose of sharing and learning about field ornithology. If you attended the 2015 convention, thank you for contributing to the splendid weekend. 

Hundreds of photos from the convention, plus many anecdotes and short stories, are permanently archived at CFO’s Facebook site. Just click on #CFOConvention for all content. If you are not on Facebook, click on this link:

What to do for an encore? In 2016, we’ll be in lower Arkansas River valley. Our base will be Lamar, Prowers County. And our dates will be the second weekend in May—possibly the best birding weekend of the year in Colorado! Stay tuned for further announcements. See you in Lamar!

Jeffry B. Mitton, Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado–Boulder, was our keynote speaker. Here Mitton enchants convention attendees on a special field trip to Browns Canyon National Monument, Chaffee County. Photo by © Peter Burke.

CFO conventioneers negotiate a treacherous crossing through High Creek Fen, Park County. Birding Editor Ted Floyd (blue shirt) and Western Field Ornithologists President Tom Blackman (green shirt, khaki vest) seem especially challenged. Andrew Floyd (shorts, of course) watches on. Photo by © Peter Burke.

Inveterate western birders and soul mates Cat Waters (left) and Hannah Floyd (right) pause at Big Sandy Draw, Chaffee County. A Juniper Titmouse is singing to the left, and several Black-throated Gray Warblers are frolicking directly behind the photographer. Photo by © Ted Floyd.

Each CFO field trip had a theme or focus. The outing to Big Sandy Draw, Chaffee County, focused on the sparse but specialized avifauna of mid-elevation piñon–juniper woodlands, featuring such desiderata as Juniper Titmouse (left) and Black-throated Gray Warbler (right). Photos: Juniper Titmouse by © Peter Burke and Black-throated Gray Warbler by © Tom Behnfield.

Thanks for birding with us in Salida, and see you in Lamar!