Colorado Field Ornithologists is devoted to the study, conservation, and enjoyment of Colorado's birds. Each year CFO funds research and conservation projects that will have a lasting benefit to Colorado birds and the habitats upon which they rely. CFO also provides scholarships for youth and students to attend scientific conferences or birding camps to promote the education of the next generation of bird enthusiasts, researchers, and conservationists.  

Colorado Birding Challenge Conservation Grants

The Colorado Birding Challenge is a fun, county-based birding and conservation event organized by Colorado Field Ornithologists each year. The objectives of the Challenge are to engage birders in a fun day of finding and learning about Colorado's birds, to provide support for the expanding programs and work of Colorado Field Ornithologists, and to raise funds for an important conservation initiative.

Past Challenge conservation initiative grant recipients have received from $20,000 to $40,000, depending on how much is raised by the Challenge, to support the important work to conserve Colorado birds and their threatened habitats. Organizations and individuals with conservation projects impacting Colorado birds and their habitats are invited to submit proposals.

2024 Deadline: 31 March 2024 at 11:59 pm

Research Grants

CFO makes grants to individuals or organizations to fund programs and projects that will have a lasting benefit to Colorado birds, and the habitats upon which they rely. CFO provides grants for projects requesting $600-$1500. CFO grants can either fund a full project or be applied as matching funds for larger grants benefitting Colorado birds.


Eligibility: CFO grants are open to individuals and organizations that fit the following criteria: 

    • Conducting avian research in Colorado or species that use habitat in Colorado for either breeding or migrating.

Limitations: CFO grants cannot be applied to the following costs:

    • Institutional overhead/indirect costs.
    • Researcher salaries (stipends for field assistants are permitted)
    • Requests for equipment where use goes beyond the scope of the project (such as cameras, spotting scopes, and office equipment) are usually not permitted and require specific justification.

Reporting Requirements: Recipients of funding will:

    • Present their findings at the annual CFO convention within two calendar years of completing the research supported by CFO.

2024 Grants

Deadline: December 31, 2023

Submission: Email the complete PDF to

Notification of funding decision: March 31, 2024

Joe Roller Memorial Grant & Travel Scholarship

In honor of long-time Colorado birder Joe Roller, the Joe Roller Memorial Fund supports each year's top-ranked research grant. The Joe Roller Memorial Fund also supports one youth travel scholarship a year. The fund was initially funded through donations to Scott Somershoe's 2021 Green Big Year, a carbon-free birding initiative, and is sustained through the investment of the original funds and additional donations. 

Research Grant Awardees

2023 Sara Garcia UC Boulder
Assessing environmental heterogeneity among Barn Swallow nesting sites
2023 Joe Roller Memorial Grant Awardee
2023 Sara Padula UC Boulder
Comparing the genetics of spatial cognition in two species of food caching chickadees
2023 Jack Domeika Colorado College
Estimating the effect of habitat quality on gene flow, genetic diversity, and fitness in Flammulated Owls (Psiloscops flammeolus)
2023 Erica Robertson CSU Fort Collins Assessing climate risk in alpine finch species
2023 Kirstin Chapman Non-affiliated Citizen Scientist
Installation and monitoring of four kestrel nest boxes in Arvada
2023 Haley Kenyon UC Boulder
The effects of color pattern differences on between-species aggressive interactions in a Colorado avian hybrid zone

Travel Scholarships

CFO Travel Scholarships provides financial help to young Colorado birders to attend summer camps, workshops, conferences, and training programs that introduce them to science and nature through the study of birds. Scholarships typically range from $200-$800.

CFO requires that the recipients write a short summary, preferably with photos, of their experience for Colorado Birds: Quarterly Journal of Colorado Field Ornithologists or to be posted on the CFO website.

Deadline: Rolling deadline but please submit at least 4 weeks prior to the event you wish to attend.

Submission: Email application materials to the Grants & Scholarships Committee at

Notification of funding decision: Within 1 month of receiving the application. 

If you have questions, please contact us at the email above.