The 5th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival takes place in Steamboat Springs and Hayden, Colorado, from September 8-11, featuring guided crane viewing sessions, talks by crane experts, live owls, family activities, and more.
This year’s festival will extend its focus beyond the local Greater Sandhill Cranes, with experts on hand to highlight North America’s endangered Whooping Cranes and several of Asia’s crane species. The keynote speaker, Nyambayar Batbayar, Director of Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia, will present “Mongolia – Land of Blue Sky and Cranes” on Saturday. Other guest speakers include John Azua, Paul Tebbel, Barry Hartup and Liz Shnackenberg. To see the full line up click here.
Highlights of the festival include a screening of Audubon: John James Audubon and the Birds of America, a gallery gathering featuring local crane art, educational displays, a community barbecue at the historic Carpenter Ranch, and a sketch-a-bird session that includes live owls from HawkQuest.
Ted Floyd, editor of Birding magazine, and Jeff Birek, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies outreach biologist, will lead guided bird walks. Jim Henson’s daughter, Heather Henson, will also lead a crane storytelling and puppetry workshop for kids!
“The Yampa Valley Crane Festival offers the public an opportunity to view and learn about these charismatic Greater Sandhill Cranes in the beautiful high mountain setting of Northwest Colorado. Since its inception in 2012 the festival has featured some of the most outstanding crane experts in the world. The quality of our speakers and the variety of both educational and fun activities offered at the festival has resulted in increased attendance year after year” says Nancy Merrill, founder and president of Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition (CCCC).
Sandhill Cranes are an iconic species of the Yampa Valley and Northwest Colorado. For years, a group of enthusiastic birders and nature lovers has gathered each fall near Hayden, Colorado, to watch the cranes, both adults and young, forage for food, dance in fields, and practice flying in anticipation of their migration south to warmer wintering territory. The sights and sounds of these spectacular birds on their fall staging ground led some to dream about an event in which locals and tourists would gather together to learn about this population of cranes and to celebrate their presence in Northwest Colorado. The Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition, Inc. turned this dream into a reality.
CCCC is dedicated to the conservation and protection of Sandhill Cranes in Colorado. Yampa Valley Crane Festival is presented by the CCCC, with help from partners including the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Bud Werner Memorial Library, The Nature Conservancy, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and many other local businesses and organizations.