Monitoring for Yellow Rail in Colorado with Eric DeFonso

Jul 22, 2022 5:00PM—7:00PM


Monte Vista NWR

Cost Free for CFO members, $10 for non-members

Event Contact Eric Defonso | Email


Earlier this week Eric DeFonso discovered a singing yellow rail only the second ever for Colorado (first was in 1906). Later a second one was found in the same marsh. CFO will offer this field trip to educate birders about this interesting bird.

We will journey to the Monte Vista NWR to listen carefully for the extremely rare Yellow Rail that has been detected since July 12th. The bird can be heard from the auto-tour route at the 2nd stop (about 2/3 mile from the main entrance), but we will also listen for a 2nd bird that has been reported between the 1st and 2nd stops. We will arrive in the late afternoon (after 5pm) and leave when Refuge closes to the public 1 hr after sunset (9:22pm, or 2122), or earlier if participants are ready to do so. The Yellow Rail is only detectable by its characteristic ticking sound – the bird has not yet been seen, nor is likely to be seen. Photography is unlikely, but please feel free to bring cameras and especially your means of recording bird sounds! Cell phones can make pretty good recordings these days, and that’s what I used when recording the bird back on the 12th when I first encountered it.

Eric DeFonso has been involved in the birding and conservation community in Colorado for over 15 years, ranging from volunteer stints with a raptor rehabilitation program and being on the Board of Directors for the Fort Collins Audubon Society, to giving presentations to Audubon chapters across the state and guiding field trips for the Colorado Field Ornithologists. Eric has an extensive collection of bird sound recordings, and now writes a regular column on birding by ear for the journal Colorado Birds. Eric has also been a surveyor for the ongoing IMBCR Breeding Bird survey project run by the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies since 2013, and has been the crew leader since 2021. He also now serves on the Colorado Bird Records Committee, and edits reports for the North American Birds journal by the American Birding Association (ABA).

This event is for CFO Members only and registration is free for CFO members.