Colorado Parks and Wildlife to host guided bird-watching walks at Yampa River State Park
Guided walks slated for every Saturday in May
Eyeing a way to engage the community and provide an educational opportunity, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Ranger Tim Abt looks to the sky.
Abt will host a guided bird-watching walk starting at 9 a.m each Saturday in May at Yampa River State Park just outside of Hayden along U.S. Highway 40.
“I’ve been a pretty avid bird watcher my whole life,” Abt said. “This time of year you’re able to see so many species out here, so we’re at the point where we have to get interpretive programs on the books earlier before the summer gets too busy and we can’t have them.
The guided walks are relatively easy, Abt said, and won’t require much effort around the Yampa River State Park path, which traverses through the cottonwood trees in the area and travels down towards the Yampa River shores.
“It’s definitely a leisure walk on a gravel path that goes around the exterior of the park,” Abt said. “It’s about a mile-long loop; an easy-going path. There’s almost no up or down, just more of a stroll.“
Much like the snowshoe hikes that CPW and the Craig Parks and Recreation Department hosted in February, group sizes are limited for the guided walks, with nine people being the max in each group.
Abt says that CPW is asking people who are interested to contact the state park to sign up, or email Abt at email@example.com or call the park at 970-276-2061.
On the guided walks, there is the potential to see a number of species in the area, including ospreys, kestrels (most common falcon in North America), a nest of great horned owls, wood ducks, red wing black birds, sandhill cranes and more.
“Part of the fun of it is you don’t know what you’re going to see,” Abt said. “You could see two dozen species in about an hour.”
Space is limited for each walk, with the first guided walk featuring six people signed up so far.
Those interested can learn about bird behavior as well as how to identify species both visually and audibly. All ages are welcome, Abt said, and participation is free as long as participants have an annual or daily parks pass displayed on their vehicle.
The park has a limited supply of binoculars and field guides to loan out to participants. If you have your own binoculars or field guide, CPW recommends you bring them along, and also recommends bringing water, sunscreen, and bug spray.
Following the success of the snowshoe hikes, Abt is looking forward to passing along some knowledge about birds and interacting more with the community.
“As an agency that is intertwined with the community, it’s an opportunity to engage with the community and engage with each other,” Abt said. “At Yampa River and Elkhead [Reservoir], we have trouble putting together interpretive programs and are seen more as law enforcement rather than rangers, so these are opportunities to help people get educated and show them we’re not just law enforcement.”
For more information on the guided walks, email Abt at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the park at 970-276-2061.
Managing Editor Joshua Carney can be reached at 970-875-1790 or email@example.com.
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A fire being dubbed “Skull Creek” is active north of U.S Highway 40 about 70 miles west of Craig along the highway, or 60 miles west-southwest as the crow flies.