Join us in 2024 as we search for the summer specialty birds that make Colorado a premier birding destination. Expect spectacular scenery, great birds, and a fun, shared adventure!

Best of Colorado
Summer Birding

June & July 2024

Both the June (7-10) & July (19-22) sessions have identical itineraries, target species, and pricing. The only difference is the dates.
Click on the tabs below for all the details.
Use the “Sign-Up” tab to check on availability and reserve your spot!

UPDATE 2/9/24

Our June and July adventures are SOLD OUT. If you are interested in being on waiting list for either June or July, complete the inquiry form below.
  • Overview
  • JUNE DETAILS
  • JULY DETAILS
  • Please Read
  • The Birds
  • Guides
  • SIGN UP!

What Makes Our Adventures Special?

  • Two of the top birding destinations in North America: Rocky Mountain National Park and the Pawnee National Grasslands.
  • Fantastic scenery and birding in five different life zones.
  • We will take time to enjoy the birds we see while also allowing reasonable time for photographs.
  • Expert and friendly LOCAL guides
  • Small group with two leaders and a maximum of ten participants (1 to 5 ratio).
  • Comfortable travel in two 7-passenger mini-vans; everyone gets a window and no climbing in and out of those big tour vans.
  • Group dinners included each night at the best local (non-chain) casual restaurants.
  • Typically pleasant weather with warm sunny days, cool nights, low humidity, and relatively few bugs.
  • Easy Access – our tour headquarters is just 45 minutes from Denver International Airport if you are flying.

Colorado is a big state and our route will maximize our birding in varied habitats while minimizing our driving time.  North-central Colorado offers birding from the short-grass prairies to the alpine tundra and majesty of Rocky Mountain National Park with the variety of the foothills in between.

Our tour headquarters will be Longmont, a thriving city of 100,000 centrally located just 45 minutes from both the mile-high city of Denver and Denver International Airport (DEN).

Click this icon on the map for more information on each location.

A few scenes from our recent summer tours

You can see more of our images here.

DATES: June 7-10, 2024
GUIDES: Carl Bendorf & Jennie Duberstein
INCLUDES: Three nights of lodging and 2.5 days of birding
COST: $1475 per person, double occupancy (single supplement $365)

UPDATE

Our June adventure is now SOLD OUT. Some spaces remaining on our July tour! If you are interested in being on our June waiting list, complete the inquiry form below.
Tour at a glance:

June 7:  Arrival day in Denver/Longmont and Welcome Dinner
June 8:  Pawnee National Grasslands and more — full day birding
June 9:  Rocky Mountain National Park — full day birding
June 10:  Morning birding in Boulder County Foothills and Closing Lunch

Itinerary:

DAY 1 – Arrival and Welcome Dinner. If you are arriving by plane or car, plan to meet us at the Fairfield Inn in Longmont by 5 p.m.  We’ll enjoy a welcome dinner near our hotel and learn more about birding in Colorado and our plans for the rest of our days.  Overnight in Longmont.

DAY 2 – Pawnee National Grasslands.  We’ll Leave Longmont early for the 90 minute drive northeast to the Pawnee National Grasslands.  Described by author/birder Pete Dunne as one of his favorite birding destinations in the world, Pawnee is one of the most intact examples of short-grass prairie in the Great Basin—and an unforgettable experience for any birder.  We will have a quarter million acres nearly to ourselves as we search for the resident breeding species including Swainson’s and Ferruginous Hawk, Burrowing Owl, Says, Phoebe, Western Kingbird, Black-billed Magpie, Chestnut & Thick-billed Longspurs, Cassin’s, Grasshopper, and Brewer’s Sparrows, and Lark Bunting.  We will also see the occasional Common Nighthawk utilizing the only available day-perch in sight–a roadside fence post! After a picnic lunch at Crow Valley Park, we’ll visit several water areas on our way back to Longmont for Cinnamon Teal, Western and Clark’s Grebe, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, White-faced Ibis, Yellow-headed Blackbird and Great-tailed Grackle. Dinner and overnight in Longmont.

DAY 3 – Rocky Mountain National Park.  The fourth most-visited national park (4.4 million visitors in 2021), RMNP offers some of the finest mountain birding in Colorado.  We will enter the park from the east and drive directly to the top of Trail Ridge Road (12,183 feet).  Here we will be well above treeline and in the spectacular alpine tundra home of Brown-capped Rosy-Finch and White-tailed Ptarmigan.  Both are relatively common but can be very difficult to locate. We’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the spectacular scenery amidst the abundant nesting Horned Larks and displaying American Pipits.

Later in the morning, we’ll work our way back down the east slope of the park through the sub-alpine (10,000-11,500’) and montane (8,000-10,000’) life zones which each have their own distinct mix of birds.  Here we will seek Northern Pygmy-Owl, Williamson’s and Red-naped Sapsuckers, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Hammond’s and Dusky Flycatchers, Canada Jay, Steller’s Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Mountain Chickadee, Mountain Bluebird, Townsend’s Solitaire, Pine Grosbeak, Cassin’s Finch, Red Crossbill, Green-tailed Towhee, Virginia’s and MacGillivray’s Warbler, Western Tanager, and Black-headed Grosbeak.  And we haven’t yet mentioned some of the mammals we might find such as elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, moose, yellow-bellied marmot, American pika, golden-mantled ground squirrel, and least chipmunk. Dinner and overnight in Longmont.

DAY 4 –  Boulder County Foothills. After breakfast at the hotel and checking out/storing bags, we’ll head head just ½ hour west for a morning exploring the Foothills–where the vast Great Plains prairie meets the Rocky Mountains.  We’ll focus on species we haven’t yet seen which may include White-throated Swift, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Golden Eagle, Western Wood-Pewee, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Violet-green Swallow, American Dipper, Lesser Goldfinch, Spotted Towhee, Bullock’s Oriole, and Lazuli Bunting. Our adventure will conclude with a closing picnic lunch before we drop you off at the Fairfield Inn.

TOUR COST June 7-10, 2024

Your tour cost is $1,475 per person, double occupancy.  A $300 deposit and completed registration form from each participant will confirm your adventure.  Final payment must be received by April 15, 2024; we will email you an invoice in advance for the balance due. Registrations for which payment in full is not received by April 15 will be considered as having been cancelled by the registrant (see cancellation policy below.)
A single occupancy supplement  of $365 will offer a single room throughout the tour (pending availability.)  If you are traveling alone and choose to share a room, if we cannot provide you with a rooming partner although you choose to share, the single supplement will become applicable. We will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a rooming partner is found if you do wish to share.

Maximum and Minimum Participants: This tour will have a maximum of ten participants and requires a minimum of eight participants. If the minimum is not met by May 1, 2024, the tour is subject to cancellation and all deposits and payments will be fully refunded.

What’s Included:  The tour price includes all travel as described in the itinerary, three nights of lodging in a comfortable hotel, ground transportation and meals during tour, tour materials, and the services of the leaders.  The included meals are three dinners, three lunches, and three breakfasts. Routine tips for included meals are also included.  Gratuities for your leaders are at your discretion.

Our birding tour begins on Friday June 7 at 5 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn in Longmont and ends after lunch on Monday June 10.  All transportation, lodging, and meals during this time is included. You should arrange your own transportation to and from the Fairfield Inn.

Not Included:  Air and ground transportation to and from our tour headquarters at the Fairfield inn in Longmont, alcohol, laundry, room service, hotel-mini-bar, hotel phone changes, and other items of a purely personal nature. Transportation to and from the Fairfield Inn before the tour starts and after the tour concludes is not included. We can refer you to airport shuttle services.
PLEASE NOTE: Overnight lodging is NOT included in the tour cost on our last birding day (June 10) as some participants will want to stay overnight near the airport and others will be departing by personal car for other destinations.  If you wish to stay at the tour hotel for this last night, please make arrangements with the hotel directly.
Tour at a glance:

July 19:  Arrival day in Denver/Longmont and Welcome Dinner
July 20:  Pawnee National Grasslands and more — full day birding
July 21:  Rocky Mountain National Park — full day birding
July 22:  Morning birding in Boulder County Foothills and Closing Lunch

Itinerary:

DAY 1 – Arrival and Welcome Dinner. If you are arriving by plane or car, plan to meet us at the Fairfield Inn in Longmont by 5 p.m.  We’ll enjoy a welcome dinner near our hotel and learn more about birding in Colorado and our plans for the rest of our days.  Overnight in Longmont.

DAY 2 – Pawnee National Grasslands.  We’ll Leave Longmont early for the 90 minute drive northeast to the Pawnee National Grasslands.  Described by author/birder Pete Dunne as one of his favorite birding destinations in the world, Pawnee is one of the most intact examples of short-grass prairie in the Great Basin—and an unforgettable experience for any birder.  We will have a quarter million acres nearly to ourselves as we search for the resident breeding species including Swainson’s and Ferruginous Hawk, Burrowing Owl, Says, Phoebe, Western Kingbird, Black-billed Magpie, Chestnut & Thick-billed Longspurs, Cassin’s, Grasshopper, and Brewer’s Sparrows, and Lark Bunting.  We will also see the occasional Common Nighthawk utilizing the only available day-perch in sight–a roadside fence post! After a picnic lunch at Crow Valley Park, we’ll visit several water areas on our way back to Longmont for Cinnamon Teal, Western and Clark’s Grebe, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, White-faced Ibis, Yellow-headed Blackbird and Great-tailed Grackle. Dinner and overnight in Longmont.

DAY 3 – Rocky Mountain National Park.  The fourth most-visited national park (4.4 million visitors in 2021), RMNP offers some of the finest mountain birding in Colorado.  We will enter the park from the east and drive directly to the top of Trail Ridge Road (12,183 feet).  Here we will be well above treeline and in the spectacular alpine tundra home of Brown-capped Rosy-Finch and White-tailed Ptarmigan.  Both are relatively common but can be very difficult to locate. We’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the spectacular scenery amidst the abundant nesting Horned Larks and displaying American Pipits.

Later in the morning, we’ll work our way back down the east slope of the park through the sub-alpine (10,000-11,500’) and montane (8,000-10,000’) life zones which each have their own distinct mix of birds.  Here we will seek Northern Pygmy-Owl, Williamson’s and Red-naped Sapsuckers, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Hammond’s and Dusky Flycatchers, Canada Jay, Steller’s Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Mountain Chickadee, Mountain Bluebird, Townsend’s Solitaire, Pine Grosbeak, Cassin’s Finch, Red Crossbill, Green-tailed Towhee, Virginia’s and MacGillivray’s Warbler, Western Tanager, and Black-headed Grosbeak.  And we haven’t yet mentioned some of the mammals we might find such as elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, moose, yellow-bellied marmot, American pika, golden-mantled ground squirrel, and least chipmunk. Dinner and overnight in Longmont.

DAY 4 –  Boulder County Foothills. After breakfast at the hotel and checking out/storing bags, we’ll head head just ½ hour west for a morning exploring the Foothills–where the vast Great Plains prairie meets the Rocky Mountains.  We’ll focus on species we haven’t yet seen which may include White-throated Swift, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Golden Eagle, Western Wood-Pewee, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Violet-green Swallow, American Dipper, Lesser Goldfinch, Spotted Towhee, Bullock’s Oriole, and Lazuli Bunting. Our adventure will conclude with a closing picnic lunch before we drop you off at the Fairfield Inn.

TOUR COST July 19-22, 2024

Your tour cost is $1,475 per person, double occupancy.  A $300 deposit and completed registration form from each participant will confirm your adventure.  Final payment must be received by April 15, 2024; we will email you an invoice in advance for the balance due. Registrations for which payment in full is not received by April 15 will be considered as having been cancelled by the registrant (see cancellation policy below.)
A single occupancy supplement  of $365 will offer a single room throughout the tour (pending availability.)  If you are traveling alone and choose to share a room, if we cannot provide you with a rooming partner although you choose to share, the single supplement will become applicable. We will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a rooming partner is found if you do wish to share.

Maximum and Minimum Participants: This tour will have a maximum of ten participants and requires a minimum of eight participants. If the minimum is not met by May 1, 2024, the tour is subject to cancellation and all deposits and payments will be fully refunded.

What’s Included:  The tour price includes all travel as described in the itinerary, three nights of lodging in a comfortable hotel, ground transportation and meals during tour, tour materials, and the services of the leaders.  The included meals are three dinners, three lunches, and three breakfasts. Routine tips for included meals are also included.  Gratuities for your leaders are at your discretion.

Our birding tour begins on Saturday, July 19 at 5 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn in Longmont and ends after lunch on Tuesday July 22.  All transportation, lodging, and meals during this time is included. You should arrange your own transportation to and from the Fairfield Inn.

Not Included:
Air and ground transportation to and from our tour headquarters at the Fairfield inn in Longmont, alcohol, laundry, room service, hotel-mini-bar, hotel phone changes, and other items of a purely personal nature. Transportation to and from the Fairfield Inn before the tour starts and after the tour concludes is not included. We can refer you to airport shuttle services.
Please review the following carefully to make sure this tour is a good fit for you:

Altitude, Mobility, and Stamina:  Participants should be aware of the potential effects of altitude and take steps to prepare including proper hydration.  Colorado has the highest average elevation in the United States and our birding and travel will range from roughly 4,500 feet above sea level to several brief periods about 11,000 feet.  Our overnights will be in Longmont (elevation 4,984 feet above sea level.)  Our days will be active and can include multiple walks of up to one mile on level roads or on trails with some rocky sections.  Most walks are filled with frequent pauses to observe birds.  This tour is not recommended for birders who are prone to altitude-related health issues,  have mobility issues, or who have difficulty or are unwilling to climb unassisted in and out of mini-vans (including the back seat.)  We recommend that you consult with your physician prior to committing to this trip and if you have health conditions or concerns about your ability to undertake moderate activity at higher elevations.

COVID-19:  In May 2023 the WHO (World Health Organization), the CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control) downgraded their alert level for COVID-19 and declared an end to the public health emergency. We will continue to apply commonsense procedures to keep participants as safe and healthy as possible while on tour. Please advise the leaders if you feel sick or are exhibiting sickness symptoms while on tour. Leaders will also monitor the group, and may request that a sick participant, or participant exhibiting symptoms, wear a mask while in close quarters with the group (in the van, for example). If a participant is sick while on tour, the leader has the right to ask them to stay back and rest at the hotel for a day or two if circumstances allow.

Please be aware that some travel insurance policies may not cover COVID-19-related illnesses or expenses. If a participant is unable to continue with their tour due to a COVID-related reason, all costs associated with isolating and/or later rejoining the tour are the participant’s responsibility.

Daily Schedule:  For optimal birding, we will start early each morning with at least one morning departure from the hotel at 5:30 a.m.   Our full birding days will conclude by 5:00 p.m. followed by a group dinner.

Our daily schedule will vary and is subject to change. A more detailed schedule will be provided to participants.  We will travel in two regular size mini-vans; participants should be prepared to ride in any seat and will be expected to switch seat locations each day.  Depending on the number of participants, space for items such as heavy-duty tripods and large backpacks may be limited each day.  We encourage you to travel light.

Non-smoking: Smoking is not permitted during any of our group activities including van travel, group birding, or meals. The block of rooms we have reserved are all non-smoking rooms.

Food Allergies / Requirements:   We will do our best to accommodate specific food allergies but we can’t guarantee that all restaurants can meet every need.   Please notify us well in advance of specific needs or requirements so we can work with you to be prepared.

Terms & Conditions and Participation Agreement: Every participant will be required to review and electronically sign the Terms & Conditions and Participation Agreement. You can preview it here.

Colorado Birding Adventures does not discriminate in its tours or activities on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, religion or religious creed, disability or handicap, sex or gender, gender identity and/or expression (including a transgender identity), sexual orientation, military or veteran status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state or local law.

Based on the above description of the physical requirements of the tour, if you are concerned about whether this tour is a good fit for you please contact us and fully explain your concerns before you register and make a deposit.  To ensure a quality experience for all participants, we may be limited in our ability to make special accommodations if you have mobility, stamina, or altitude-related limitations.

Lodging: Your hotel for the nights included in the tour cost is the Fairfield Inn & Suites Boulder/Longmont. The hotel is conveniently located closed to restaurants, grocery stores, and shopping.

Your tour cost includes three nights of lodging at the Fairfield Inn. We will have you pre-registered and your room is covered by us those three nights. You will need to present a credit card to cover any incidental expenses but the basic room charge goes on our bill. If you would like to stay an extra night before or after our official tour and wish to stay at our tour headquarters hotel, please contact the Fairfield Inn directly (phone: 303-776-8050) to make your own reservation. Let them know you are with the Colorado Birding Adventures/Carl Bendorf group and ask if the same group rate is available. Please note that summer is very busy for Colorado hotels and there is no guarantee that additional nights will be available or that the group rate will be available. If you are interested, we recommend you book as early as possible.

Meals:  Breakfasts will be as provided by the hotel or simple cold breakfasts we bring along on early mornings.  To maximize our time in the field, we’ll offer simple, delicious picnic lunches on most days. Drinking lots of water is vital at high altitude and we will have a supply with us to refill your own reusable water bottles.

Dinners will be at our favorite local restaurants (no chains) in Longmont. We will be ordering from the full restaurant menu. All restaurants will offer both vegetarian and gluten-free options.  Non-alcoholic beverages will be included with your meals. We cannot offer credit or a refund for any included meals a participant chooses to skip.

Weather/Clothing:  Weather conditions in Colorado in summer can vary widely. Average summer temperatures in Denver/Longmont are highs in the lower 80sF and lows in the 50s. However, we will have at least one early morning at higher elevations in Rocky Mountain National Park where it can be quite cold and windy even in summer; a warm hat/gloves/coat may be needed. In contrast, the temperatures at the Pawnee Grassland can easily be well into the 90s! Afternoon thunderstorms are also common anywhere.  Be prepared with layers of clothing that can adapt to chilly mornings and hot, sunny afternoons. We will not be hiking in extreme rocky places and lightweight hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes will be sufficient.  A windbreaker/rain jacket is recommended as well as a hat for sun protection.  A suggested packing list will be provided to participants.

Maximum and Minimum Participants: This tour will have a maximum of ten participants and requires a minimum of eight participants. If the minimum is not met by May 1, 2024, the tour is subject to cancellation and all deposits and payments will be fully refunded.

No guarantees, of course, but we’ll try to find as many of these prairie and mountain west species we can!!  Join our small group of like-minded fellow birders as we fill in those holes on your life or year list. This tour will truly be a summer birding bonanza!

NOTE FOR eBIRD USERS: Here’s a link to a bar chart for summer breeding season for the three counties we’ll be birding during our tours: https://ebird.org/barchart?byr=2013&eyr=2023&bmo=6&emo=7&r=US-CO-013,US-CO-069,US-CO-123

Carl Bendorf, (June & July Tours) a native Iowan and Colorado transplant, is a national leader in helping young birders, families, groups, and individuals discover the joys and benefits of birding. Carl is an experienced birding guide, past president of the Iowa Ornithologists’ Union, founder of Iowa Young Birders, and recently completed his third term as a member of the American Birding Association Board of Directors. He has served as an invited guide at the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival and on behalf of Birdwatcher’s Digest. Carl founded Colorado Birding Adventures in 2016.

Bill Schmoker (July Tour) is a leading digital photographer. Since 2001 he has built a collection of photos documenting over 650 species of North American birds. His photography is widely published and, as a published writer, Bill wrote a chapter for Good Birders Don’t Wear White He is also a past Colorado/Wyoming regional editor for North American Birds and is proud to be on the Leica Birding Team. Bill is especially fond of his involvement with the ABA’s Institute for Field Ornithology and Young Birder Programs. Bill is a popular birding guide, speaker, and workshop instructor, and teaches middle school science in Boulder, Colorado.

Jennie Duberstein (June Tour) is the director of the Sonoran Joint Venture, working to build partnerships to steward healthy environments for the birds, wildlife, and people of the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. Jennie has directed environmental education programs, developed community-based conservation projects, developed and taught courses and workshops on bird identification, ecotourism, and bird monitoring, and has studied species including Double-crested Cormorants in Sonora and Yellow-billed Cuckoos in Arizona. Currently Jennie volunteers as the Young Birder Liaison for the American Birding Association and directs their Camp Colorado program. She received her B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Virginia Tech and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona and she lives in Tucson.


If you are interested in signing up for one of our Summer 2024 Tours, please use the form below and we’ll respond quickly to confirm whether your preferred tour has available space and with instructions for completing your sign-up.



If you are interested in signing up for one of our Summer 2024 Tours, please use the form below and we’ll respond quickly to confirm whether this space available and send you instructions for completing your sign-up.