What do bird watchers and history buffs have in common? They flock to Las Animas County the first weekend in May to celebrate “The Bent on Birding & Heritage Celebration.”
This year’s event is May 2 – 5. Billed as a “fun alternative family outing,” the weekend features auto tours, hikes, archeological presentations and of course, bird watching.
The festival is co-sponsored by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Watchable Wildlife Program and the Bent County Development Foundation. One of the highlights for this year’s event is the “Rollin’ Along the Santa Fe Trail” auto tour.
“Tours are limited, so I suggest booking early,” said CPW birding expert John Koshak. “Participants will enjoy primo hiking and birding along canyons, petroglyphs, dinosaur tracks, lakes, shores, rivers, ranches and plains.”
Dark skies and bright constellations make this area one of the best places for night bird watching in the West, said Koshak.
Events include a wine-tasting cheese and food tour, which includes visits to National Historic sites representing over 100 years of history where Kit Carson, Zebulon Pike, William Bent, former US diplomat to Russia, Ambassador L. Thompson, and Ken Curtis Gates, a.k.a. ‘Festus’ of Gunsmoke fame lived and explored.
· Thursday, May 2 – Agri-tourism-Dining, Birding and Heritage.
· Friday, May 3 – Lakes, Shores & Plains, plus evening dining at Bent’s Fort Inn, night birding
· Saturday, May 4 – Canyon Rock Art, Birding & Heritage, Boggsville BBQ, and dusk birding
· Sunday, May 5 – Early Bird flight, BFI breakfast and more.
Koshak said there will be outdoor picnics, cowboy Dutch-oven lunches and private ranch tours. “Weather permitting, we will enjoy Old West campfire legends, stories about the area’s history and gooey S’mores after dinner,” he said.
Image courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife