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Conservation Birding Tour – Sandhill Crane Migration

March 24, 2023 - March 26, 2023

Please note that this trip is currently full!
If you would like to be added to a waitlist of this trip or be contacted about future trips, please contact Joe Pettit

Join Bird Conservancy of the Rockies at the iconic Zapata Ranch for a weekend of exploration in the majestic San Luis Valley. Guests will be joined by scientists, birders, ranchers, and expert guides as they tour the 100,000 acre ranch and visit the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge to view Sandhill Cranes on their spring migration. This exclusive trip is perfect for birders, nature lovers and anyone interested in land conservation.

Medano – Zapata Ranch

The group will explore the extensive meadows, lakes, historic headquarters, and bison barn while learning about the 2,000-head wild bison herd and it’s role in conservation. We will explore the original Medano Homestead which dates back to the 1860s and see the fascinatingly diverse ecosystem in this portion of the ranch. As we drive amongst wild bison we will keep an eye out for the other extraordinary animals that call this side of the ranch home. Elk, porcupine, coyotes, golden eagles, great horned owls, hawks, and pronghorn are commonly spotted.

Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge

We’ll be greeted at Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge by the “gar-oo-oo” of sandhill cranes, the quacks of mallard ducks, and the vibrant whistling songs of western meadowlarks. We will also find beautiful vistas of wetlands and meadows that make up great portions of the Refuge. As a backdrop to the Refuge’s many scenic vistas, visitors can also enjoy amazing sunsets against the backdrop of the nearby San Juan Mountains.


When not in the field, guests will enjoy wonderful accommodations and dining provided by Ranchlands, the amazing team that manages the ranch. Guests will be joined by Bird Conservancy of the Rockies staff including Executive Director and Sandhill Crane expert Tammy VerCauteren and Anna Greenberg, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist based in the San Luis Valley. With a small group size, the trip will give guests a high level of access to scientists, birding experts and conservation practitioners and the opportunity for deep learning about the challenges and successes in the bird conservation world.


Cost of the trip is $995 per room based on double occupancy.

Cost Includes: Accommodations for two nights, meals as specified in the itinerary, land transportation during the journey, professional guide services, park and other entrance fees, and miscellaneous program expenses.
Cost Does Not Include: Transportation to and from Zapata Ranch, items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone, drinks from the bar, and gratuities for luggage handling or personal services.
Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is collaborating with Ranchlands to offer this trip. Ranchlands is responsible for all trip accommodations, services, and policies. Trip costs and fees will be processed by Ranchlands and will not constitute a charitable gift to Bird Conservancy of the Rockies.


March 24, 2023
March 26, 2023
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Joe Pettit (Development Director)
(303) 659-4348 x12