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"Explore Colorado's Northeast Plains" • Sterling, Logan County • Thursday–Sunday, August 28–31, 2014



• Online registration is now closed.
• Read the 2014 Convention Brochure:
• View the convention schedule:
• View the Schedule of Paper Sessions and read the abstracts:
• Find out who is on your field trips:
• Looking for a restaurant? Here are menus from local Sterling restaurants:
  • Wonderful House
  • Old Town Bistro
  • Jimmy's Pizza
  • Delgado's Dugout
  • Gallagher's River City Grill
  • More restaurant info
• Did you sign up for breakfast or lunch?
• See the list of field trip maps and leaders:
• Do you have questions regarding online registration?

Welcome to Colorado Field Ornithologists' 2014 Birding Convention!
We're delighted you can be with us.

For our 2014 Convention, we'll be heading Out East—to Sterling & vicinity. We've held conventions in eastern Colorado before, but there's a twist this year: Instead of birding together in May or June, as we usually do, we'll be convening during the Labor Day weekend.

Fall migration in eastern Colorado is a very different experience. Instead of the riot of color and sound in spring migration, we'll be challenged by subtlety: birds in juvenile plumage, molting adults, and flight calls and "chip notes." And there will be many more birds than in spring! The sheer number of birds reaches its annual maximum in Colorado in late summer.

Fall migration in northeastern Colorado is especially exciting. Shorebirds will be at maximum diversity, with a great mix of juvenile and adult plumages. Migrants—including sought-after eastern vagrants—will be around. We're guaranteed to see anywhere from a few (if winds are southerly) to great multitudes (if we get a fallout). And many of the regional specialties will still be around: Red-headed Woodpeckers, Northern Cardinals, Field Sparrows, and the beloved Mississippi Kites of "downtown" Sterling.

Field Trips Summary

This year's field trips include visits to Pawnee National Grasslands and Crow Valley Campground; Riverside, Jackson and Prewitt Reservoirs; Tamarack, Jumbo and Red Lion SWA's; and county busting trips (Phillips and Sedgewick counties). There will be a private trip to the Swenlund Ranch on the north shore of Sterling Reservoir and many other exciting locales. Trips will visit Logan, Weld, Morgan, Washington, Yuma, Phillips and Sedwick Counties.

Jon Dunn (see biosketch below) will be joining us for some field trips to contribute his invaluable skills with shorebird identification. There will also be workshops on "What Birds Eat" with Dave Leatherman and bird photography with Bill Schmoker.

Convention Highlights

There's more—much more—to the annual CFO Convention than field trips. We'll start things off with a welcome picnic in Sterling; we guarantee great company and food, and we can practically guarantee Mississippi Kites and Chimney Swifts in the skies above. The Friday night "ID Challenge" promises to amuse and enlighten, as always, we have already lined up great talks for the Saturday afternoon paper session, and the Saturday evening banquet will feature a very special guest, Jon Dunn.

Convention Information

(Please download and print the 2014 Convention Brochure and bring it with you to the convention.)

Convention Location

The convention headquarters will be at the Ramada Sterling for all trip departures, meetings, and the Saturday night banquet. The Ramada Inn is located at 22140 U.S. 6, Sterling, CO 80751 US, Telephone: 1-970-522-2625, Website:


Rooms will be available at the convention headquarters and several nearby hotels at a discounted rate. Hotels offering a discounted convention rate are:

Please identify yourself as a CFO Convention participant when telephoning for a reservation, so you get the above discounted rates. All above rates before tax. All of these motels are close together near I-76, a bit east of town. To review all lodging in Sterling visit:, or check

Note: Please make your room reservations soon, as Labor Day weekend is a busy time.


The Thursday evening convention Welcome Picnic will be held in Columbine Park in Sterling from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. A BBQ dinner from Steger BBQ ( will be supplied free of charge. The picnic will be open to everyone who has registered for the convention. Note: Alcohol is not allowed in the park.

The hotel will be open for a cash breakfast at their Country Kitchen at 5:00 am Friday through Sunday mornings. Breakfast burritos and box lunches can be ordered through this registration form and picked up in the hotel lobby from 5:00 am to 7:30 am the day of your field trip.

The banquet dinner on Saturday will be held 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm in the Ramada meeting rooms, with a social hour held 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm in the courtyard across from the Sterling Room. The Ramada's Banquet Bar will be open and holding a cash only bar. The banquet dinner must be ordered through the registration form and paid in advance.

Convention Art

The emblem for the 2014 convention is the Baird's Sandpiper. In most of the USA, this bird is uncommon to rare. But in northeastern Colorado in late August, the species can be common to abundant. By the end of the convention, we'll know all about the plumages, calls, and unbelievable trans-hemispheric migrations of Calidris bairdii.

Our 2014 convention T-shirt art showing Baird's Sandpiper has been created from an original photograph by Bill Schmoker. Mr. Schmoker is widely known around Colorado for his crisp and varied wildlife photography. Bill will also be holding photography classes during our convention.

Bill's photo graces the back of our 2014 convention T-shirt which also has the CFO logo on the front. The 2014 Convention T-shirts must be ordered by July 15 through the registration form. No T-shirts orders can be accepted after this date.


Preferred registration is online, or complete the registration form at the end of the convention brochure and mail in your form with an enclosed check. Online registration will be available before mail-in, costs $10 less, and is the best way to have first choice on field trips. Please complete and submit your registration before July 15, 2014, and ensure that payment is included. Field trips are open ONLY to those paying the Convention registration fee.

Registration packets and walk-in registration will be available on Thursday, August 28, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm at the convention Welcome Picnic. Registration will also be available on Friday, August 29, at the Ramada Inn from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Prices are higher for mail-in, non-member, and late (after July 15, 2014) registration. CFO membership information is available HERE or on the last page of the convention brochure.

Cancellation Policy

A $10 fee will be applied to all cancellations. After July 15 refunds will also deduct expenses incurred, including any merchandise not picked up at the convention.

Travel and Weather

Roads can be slick or muddy during wet weather, so use caution in the unlikely event we encounter rain. Much of the northeast is private ranchland so be respectful of these areas.

All vehicles entering state or federal parks must have appropriate passes. All convention participants between the ages of 18 and 64 must have a Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp or Colorado Fishing License in order to visit Prewitt or Jumbo SWAs. Go on line at for more information.

Weather will likely be hot on the plains in August so bring sun protective gear and water with you on all field trips. Rain gear may be advised as afternoon thunder showers are a possibility. Insect repellent is a good idea for some trips.


Convention changes or cancellations will be posted prior to the convention on this page.

To get the most out of the CFO convention arrive Thursday evening for the Welcome Picnic and depart late Sunday or early Monday after enjoying the full-day field trips on Friday and Sunday. The 2014 convention in Sterling will offer exciting birding adventures and you'll love our many field trips in Colorado's northeast plains. Catch up with old birding friends, meet new birders, and enjoy a wonderful weekend of birding in Logan County. See you there!

More Info: For full convention details, please read our 2014 Convention Brochure.

About Our Keynote Speaker:

An Evening With Jon Dunn

CFO is delighted to welcome keynote speaker Jon Dunn to our 2014 Convention. Jon Dunn is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest birders of all time. He is one of the world's foremost experts on the the status, distribution, and identification of North American birds, and a prolific author of books and articles on birds. He has been a major player through the years in the American Ornithologists' Union, the American Birding Association, and Western Field Ornithologists. Dunn is chief consultant to the acclaimed National Geographic Society field guides to birds—including the "NGS" guide that you probably own a copy of. Bring yours, and he will sign it.

In addition to delivering the banquet address, Jon Dunn will be significantly involved in all aspects of the Convention. He is looking forward to joining us for field trips, he has offered a special workshop on identifying "peeps" (sandpipers in the genus Calidris), and he will hold a Q&A session on how the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list Committee functions. If you've been birding before with Jon Dunn, you know that you'll want to attend this Convention! If you've never enjoyed the experience, what are you waiting for? Visit to read an interview with Jon Dunn.

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