Camp Colorado June 23-30, 2024

Join us as we explore Colorado from grassland to glaciers. From the shortgrass prairie of northeastern Colorado to the aspen groves and alpine tundra of Rocky Mountain National Park, Camp Colorado has it all!

An amazing diversity of ecosystems lies within a few hours of Allenspark, giving campers the chance to experience many of Colorado’s varied life zones and birds. Over the course of this experience, campers will take their birding and field skills to the next level, meet other young birders with similar interests, and of course, immerse themselves the bird life and natural history of Colorado.

(Photo Credit: Jennie Duberstein, Bill Schmoker, ABA Staff Photo)

Dates: June 23-30, 2024

Number of days and nights: 8 days / 7 nights

Start and end point:

  • Starting: 23 June 2024, Highlands or Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Finishing: 30 June 2024, Highlands or DEN Airport

Lodging:

Group size:

  • ABA Camp Director: Jennie Duberstein
  • Staff: 5 (Camp Director, 3 Instructors, 1 Intern)
  • Maximum number of participants: 16

Price:

  • $1,895 per person, ages 13-17.

Included:

  • 7 nights of lodging
  • 3 meals per day from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 7
  • In session transportation to and from sites visited and transportation to and from DEN airport
  • All guiding fees for local guides
  • All entrance and park fees, to sites mentioned in the itinerary.

Not included:

  • Transportation to and from the starting point of camp
  • Purchases of a personal nature, including (but not limited to) snacks and meals during travel, souvenirs, checked baggage fees, etc.
  • No insurance is included. We strongly recommend the purchase of a comprehensive travel insurance policy, which includes “cancel for any reason” type coverage.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Participants must agree to the 2024 Health and Safety Policy for ABA Programs.

Cancellations and Refunds: All cancellations must be made in WRITING. A full refund less a $100 administration fee will be made for cancellations received by April 30, 2024. Cancellations received after April 30, 2024 will forfeit 50% of the registration fee. No refunds will be issued for cancellations made after May 31, 2024.

Booking and secure payment:

ITINERARY: July 15 – 22, 2023

(Please note: This is a sample itinerary which is subject to change pending weather, local conditions, and other circumstances)

Saturday, July 15, 2023 (Day 1): Arrival

Campers should plan to arrive at Denver International Airport (DIA) no later than 1:30 pm today.

From DIA we will travel to our base camp at Highlands in Allenspark, Colorado. After we get settled in our cabins, we’ll meet up for a brief orientation and introduction meeting. We’ll go over expectations, the camp schedule, and do a few icebreakers to get to know each other and then we’ll jump straight into birding.

We will look for species such as Northern Goshawk, Prairie Falcon, Violet-green and Tree swallows, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Mountain Chickadee, Cassin’s Finch, and more. After dinner we’ll gather for an evening program to introduce us to Colorado’s ecosystems and birds to get us excited for the week ahead.

Sunday, July 16, 2023 (Day 2): Foothills Birding

We’ll load up early and head down to lower elevation in Lyons, Colorado, for some foothills birding in Boulder County. After a quick breakfast in the field, we’ll look for birds like Golden Eagle, Cliff Swallow, White-throated Swift, Canyon Wren, Yellow-breasted Chat, Spotted Towhee, Western Scrub-Jay, Plumbeous and Warbling vireos, Gray Catbird, Bushtit, Cedar Waxwing, Lazuli Bunting, Bullock’s Oriole, and more.

After lunch and some down time, campers will have their choice of field craft workshops. Topics will vary but may include field sketching, field journaling, digital photography, iNaturalist, and more.

Monday July 17, 2023 (Day 3): Montane Riparian Birding

We’ll depart early and head to Wild Basin in the southeastern portion of Rocky Mountain National Park. We’ll spend the morning hiking in search of the elusive American Three-toed Woodpecker and other species such as American Dipper, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Steller’s Jay, Hammond’s and Dusky flycatchers, Townsend’s Solitaire, Swainson’s Thrush, Wilson’s and MacGillivray’s warblers, Yellow-rumped “Audubon’s” Warbler, Red Crossbill, Pine Siskin, Black Swift, and much more.

We’ll have lunch in the field and return to base camp for another round of field skills workshops. You can try something new or stick with your original workshop and really dig in—it’s your choice!

Once it gets dark…we’ll head out in search of owls! They can be difficult to find at this time of year, but we’ll do our best to look for Great Horned Owl and Saw-whet Owl. If we are really lucky, we may have the chance to see a Flammulated Owl or Northern Pygmy-Owl.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023 (Day 4): Alpine/Sub-Alpine Birding

We’re going high! After a quick breakfast we’ll get in the vans and make our way up Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, heading for the Alpine Visitor Center and Medicine Bow Curve. Because thunderstorms tend to roll in most afternoons at high elevations in the Colorado mountains, we’ll aim to get to the top quickly to have as much time as possible up high. The alpine tundra is a fragile but incredibly dynamic ecosystem; in addition to birds, we’ll keep our eyes open for yellow-bellied marmot and pika, as well as bighorn sheep and elk. We’ll follow a trail out onto the tundra in search of White-tailed Ptarmigan and Brown-capped Rosy-Finch, along with American Pipit, Horned Lark, White-crowned Sparrow, Common Raven, or even a stray Broad-tailed Hummingbird—you just never know what might show up here.

After a stop in the Alpine Visitors Center (a great opportunity to purchase souvenirs and gifts), we’ll slowly make our way back down the mountain stopping in several different areas to look for rosy-finches feeding along the snow fields and to do some birding in the spruce-fir sub-alpine zone, where we’ll look for Gray Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Dark-eyed (Gray-headed) Junco, Cassin’s Finch, Red Crossbill, Hermit Thrush, Evening Grosbeak, and more.

We’ll have lunch in the field and mid-afternoon we will join master bander, wildlife rehabilitator, author, artist, and director of the Colorado Avian Research and Rehabilitation Institute Scott Rashid for a special afternoon banding session. Scott, a long-time resident of Estes Park, has been banding birds at the YMCA of the Rockies since 1994 and will share with us what he’s learned over the years and give us a hands-on demonstration of his banding operation.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023 (Day 5): Grasslands

It’s time for the Ninth Annual Camp Colorado Challenge! This tradition involves campers working together to keep track of every species seen, Big Day style. Can we beat the current Camp Colorado record for this field trip? Only time will tell!

Thursday, July 20, 2023 (Day 6): Montane Birding

Today we’ll head into Rocky Mountain National Park for some more montane birding. Here we’ll make stops in willow riparian habitat, aspen groves, and ponderosa pine parklands in search of species including Lincoln’s Sparrow, Wilson’s and MacGillivray’s warblers, Red-naped Sapsucker, Mountain Bluebird, Steller’s Jay, Western Tanager, Hammond’s and Dusky flycatchers, Western Wood Pewee, and more.

In the afternoon we’ll have a Conservation and Careers Roundtable—this is your chance to hear from your instructors about some of the incredible conservation and education work they’ve been involved in around the world, to ask them questions about how they got to where they are, and to pick their brains about anything and everything. It’s also a chance for YOU to share some of your own experiences and to join in a discussion of things young birders can do to get involved in bird and habitat conservation, education, or birding.

Friday, July 21, 2023 (Day 7): Boulder Area

After breakfast, we’ll head down to Boulder, Colorado, for some riparian and reservoir birding. After lunch in the field, we’ll head over to the campus of the University of Colorado in Boulder for a behind-the-scenes tour of the bird specimen collection. We’ll talk with professors and graduate students to learn about their bird research. In the evening we’ll tally up a list of all species we saw during camp, share our favorite camp memories and experiences, and enjoy our final evening together around a campfire with s’mores.

Saturday, July 22, 2023 (Day 8): Departure

We’ll say good-bye to new, lifelong friends and head to the airport in two shifts—one for folks who have early flights and a second for those who are leaving slightly later.

2024 Health and Safety Policy for ABA Programs