Take a Birding Tour

Conservation birding tours with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies combine world-class bird-watching with science-based education to showcase the biodiversity of locally and continentally important bird areas, increase awareness and support our conservation programs. We offer tours regularly in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains regions, as well as internationally. Tours are led by Bird Conservancy biologists with support from partners with local knowledge and sometimes exclusive access to key birding areas — and proceeds support bird conservation programs!

Visit our Events Page for information about single-day birding outings and educational programs.



This birding tour is full! Please contact Joe Pettit at [email protected] or (303) 659 – 4348 x 12 to be put on a waitlist.

Join Bird Conservancy of the Rockies for an amazing weekend of exploration and discovery in Northern Colorado. Scientists, birders, and expert guides will lead a small group of guests to birding hotspots in and around Fort Collins during the spring bird migration and provide insights into the vital conservation activities conducted by Bird Conservancy in the region and beyond. This exclusive trip is perfect for birders, nature lovers and anyone interested in bird conservation.

The highlight of the trip is Soapstone Prairie. Located 45 minutes north of Fort Collins, Soapstone is an extraordinary wildlife habitat with over 28 square miles of wide-open vistas and amazing grasslands. Soapstone Prairie is owned and managed by Fort Collins Natural Areas. Bird Conservancy of the Rockies has had a presence there for many years. From the discovery of breeding Baird Sparrows to the construction of a Motus radio telemetry tracking station, Soapstone is an active laboratory for our science and conservation programs. While at Soapstone, guests will be led by premier birding guide and Senior Research Scientist Arvind Panjabi to areas not normally accessible to the general public and get an overview of his work across the central flyway. Our visit will also include a trip to the Motus station to learn more about this leading-edge technology from Avian Ecologist and Motus network lead, Matt Webb.

Guests will also visit Bird Conservancy’s new public bird banding station at Dixon Reservoir for a private, up-close demonstration of this vital science and outreach activity with Chief Conservation Scientist, Brandt Ryder. Dixon Reservoir is a true bird hotspot with over 250 species on record. Spring migration is certain to keep the area busy and you will have a bevy of exceptional birders on hand to help you build your life list!

When not in the field, guests will enjoy wonderful accommodations and dining at the Fort Collins Hilton. Each evening will feature a private reception and dinner with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies scientists, conservationist and educators who will share insights into our activities and the impacts they have had over the past three decades. 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.

eBird.org Dixon Reservoir Species List: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L212245

eBird.org Soapstone Prairie Species List: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L2990328

Lodging: The Hilton Fort Collins: https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/fnlcohf-hilton-fort-collins/

Soapstone Prairie: https://www.fcgov.com/naturalareas/finder/soapstone

If you have any questions please contact Joe Pettit at [email protected] or (303) 659-4348 x 12


FRIDAY, MAY 17, 2024

3:00 p.m. – Check-in available at Hilton Fort Collins

5:30 p.m. – Guest reception and introductions

6:30 p.m. – Dinner


SATURDAY, MAY 18, 2024

6:30 a.m. – Breakfast

7:30 a.m. – Travel to Soapstone

8:30 a.m. – Guided birding

11:00 a.m. – Motus Discussion

12:00 p.m. – Lunch in the field

2:00 p.m. – Travel to hotel with stops at birding spots along the way

5:30 p.m. – Guest reception

6:30 p.m. – Dinner

SUNDAY, MAY 19, 2024

7:00 a.m. – Breakfast

8:00 a.m. – Travel to Dixon Reservoir

8:30 a.m. – Bird banding demonstration with Brandt

9:30 a.m. – Birding

11:00 a.m. – Travel to lunch

11:30 a.m. – Lunch

12:30 p.m. – Departures


Cost of the trip is $800 per person based on two people sharing a double occupancy room. $950 if you prefer a private, single occupancy room.

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 Fort Collins, items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone, drinks from the bar, and gratuities for luggage handling or personal services.

Brandt Ryder – Chief Conservation Scientist

Brandt earned a Bachelors of Wildlife Biology from Unity College in (1999) and then went on to get a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in (2008). Brandt’s dissertation focused on the demography and social behavior of tropical lekking birds. Prior to joining Bird Conservancy, Brandt worked for a decade as a research scientist for the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center focusing on the conservation and behavior of birds across their annual cycle. Brandt has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers on a diversity of topics including urban ecology, migration ecology, landscape ecology and behavioral ecology. Brandt enjoys the outdoors in his free time through hiking, running, and doing landscape and astrophotography.

Matt Webb – Avian Ecologist

Matt was born and raised in Salida, CO. Around age 10, at odds with his preferences, his family moved to the ‘dull’ plains of Northern Colorado. To Matt’s surprise, he fell in love with the endless roll and incredible diversity of the shortgrass prairies. He later spent some time in Pittsburgh, PA, working at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the American Bird Conservancy, and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology and a Master’s in Conservation Leadership, both received from Colorado State University. When not building automated radio telemetry stations, Matt enjoys mothing, photographing beetles, riding and fixing bicycles, turning over stones, and dragging his family outside at night to watch the International Space Station go by.

Joe Pettit – Development Director

Joe is a development professional with experience spanning performing arts, conservation, climate change, foreign policy, political campaigns and urban horticulture. He grew up in eastern Nebraska and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. When not working, he can be found gardening, cycling, cooking, and, of course, birding.

Tyler Cash – Digital Engagement Manager/Educator

Tyler grew up in sunny southern California where he spent most of his time outside and in the ocean. He graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, where he gained extensive knowledge in natural history. After college Tyler worked at several different Outdoor Education facilities where he held several different roles ranging from Teaching Naturalist to Education Coordinator to Camp Manager. Tyler is excited to share his knowledge and love of birds and the outdoors with the Bird Conservancy community. In his free time you can find him hiking, climbing, traveling & exploring the mountains with his wife and two Australian Shepherds Pinyon and Manuka.

Taylor Dziedzina – Development/Executive Assistant

Taylor has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University. After college, she worked at Colorado Parks and Wildlife as the Statewide Volunteer Program Assistant. For the past three years Taylor has been a field biologist leading surveys in the Intermountain West for threatened and endangered species. In her spare time Taylor can be found hiking and backpacking with her dog, Delilah, birdwatching, or curled up with a good book.

For more information:
[email protected]

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