BBQ, Award Winners and 143 Pounds of Wings

By August 29, 2012Event

Whew! The dust has finally settled after two fun events at Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory to help raise funds in support of our conservation and education programs.

Last Saturday, RMBO hosted its BBQ for the Birds at the Old Stone House Environmental Learning Center in Brighton. With much-welcome cool temps and lingering clouds, the morning included bird banding, bird walks with RMBO biologists, a family nature hike, live music and raptors, and a series of engaging workshops and presentations. RMBO welcomed over 200 folks to this annual event, who packed the backyard at the Old Stone House before lunch to hear Dr. James Enderson’s talk on Peregrine Falcons. With the scent of grilling burgers wafting into the backyard, Dr. Enderson discussed nearly 50 years of work dedicated to rehabilitating Peregrine Falcons in the Rocky Mountains.

James Enderson

Dr. James Enderson gives the keynote talk on the return of the Peregrine Falcon at the BBQ for the Birds in the backyard of the Old Stone House in Brighton. Photo by Teddy Parker-Renga.

Congratulations to our award winners at the picnic: Cindi Kelly, recipient of the Nelda Gamble Volunteer of the Year Award, and Duane Nelson, recipient of the Richard G. Levad Award. Cindi, our Bald Eagle Watch Coordinator, has donated hundreds of hours annually to make the Bald Eagle Watch program a success. Duane, a pillar in the Colorado birding community, was recognized for his dedication to bird conservation, including his discovery of and work at the Dinosaur Ridge Hawk Watch Site and 22 years studying, managing and conserving Colorado’s Piping Plovers and Least Terns.

To warm up for the BBQ, RMBO hosted its first-ever Wing Ding: Have a Brew for the Birds the week before the picnic at Avogadro’s Number in Fort Collins. Nearly 250 people attended the Wing Ding to enjoy beer, wine, wings and bluegrass in support of bird conservation. Despite some early rain, folks were able to kick up their heels to local bluegrass band Finnders and Youngberg and enjoy the libations and food – they polished off over 143 pounds of wings!

Finnders & Youngberg

Local bluegrass favorites Finnders and Youngberg play the Wing Ding: Have a Brew for the Birds at Avogadro’s Number in Fort Collins; playing bass is RMBO’s own Erin Youngberg. Photo by Emily Snode.

Now that the BBQ grill has cooled down, the awards have been handed out, and the staff at RMBO has finally gotten the chicken wing sauce out from under their fingernails, it’s time once again to thank YOU – our partners, volunteers, friends, supporters, and community members – for  making these events such a great success. We’d also like to thank our sponsors (Wing Ding: Finnders and Youngberg, New Belgium Brewing, Avogadro’s Number, Wild Birds Unlimited – Fort Collins, OtterCares Foundation and Josh Cellars; BBQ for the Birds: the Dellora A. and Lester J. Norris Foundation, Wild Birds Unlimited – Denver and Arvada, and Wildland Resources) for their support.

Thank you all for helping to conserve birds and their habitats! In the words of our newest board member Grady Grissom, a rancher in southeast Colorado who spoke at the BBQ:

“In today’s world, we can’t afford an environmental philosophy that segregates humans from the natural system. Instead we need a conservation philosophy where the human component and natural component can coexist together.”