Birdwatchers search for rare little bird in little Colorado town

The Mountain Plover Festival is back in one of North America’s largest breeding grounds of an elusive little bird.

KARVAL, Colo. — Dozens of bird watchers will travel to a tiny Colorado town this weekend to spot a super rare bird.

The Mountain Plover Festival is back from Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1, after being canceled the past two years.

Karval, an eastern Colorado town of 35 people, invites adventurous and bird-loving individuals to the unique festival in one of North America’s largest breeding grounds of the elusive mountain plover.

The mountain plover is a rare bird that makes its nesting grounds on the dryland farming ranches in this area of ​​Colorado. The birds find the short grass prairie and fallow fields in the area to be excellent nesting grounds, where male and females each tend the nests.

The bird begins arriving at Colorado’s eastern plains in early April. Mountain plovers migrate over the Rocky Mountains from California, hence the name “mountain,” and stay in the area usually through late summer.

Unlike a typical festival, the Mountain Plover Festival gets attendees involved in an intense way. The entire festival boards buses at 6 am and heads out to public and private land to see Native American ruins, one-room school houses, historic ranches, lots of wildlife and to search for the elusive little bird.

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Third-generation ranchers lead tours in a historic area where the Goodnight–Loving Cattle Trail ran in the late 1860s, driving the large-scale movement of Texas Longhorns north to Colorado.

“We bring the plover lovers to the bird,” said Karval Community Alliance President Dan Merewether. “Along with bird watching, our guests get the chance to mingle with farmers and ranchers who have lived on this land for generations, eat home-style food including a chuck wagon dinner with authentic Western entertainment and learn about conservation practices and the history of this single part of Colorado.”

Learn more about the festival at

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