Looking to escape the bustle of the city, or warm up from the chilly temperatures lingering in the mountains? Awaken your inner bird nerd and head to Karval, a tiny country town two hours southeast of Denver, for the annual Mountain Plover Festival.
The event, which kicks off April 28th, 2023, is a weekend-long celebration of—you guessed it—mountain plovers, the migratory ground birds that return from their annual migration every spring to nest in Colorado’s eastern plains.
A frequent companion of classic prairie wildlife like antelope and prairie dogs, mountain plovers build their nests on the ground, where they’re safely camouflaged in the short grasses by their dusty plumage.
While their ability to vanish into their surroundings earned them the nickname “prairie ghosts,” there’s nothing subtle about their courtship. Males show off their aerial talents by soaring high above the ground, flapping their wings with the deliberate cadence of an amorous slow clap, calling to the females below with their sweet, sweet song that sounds like… cows mooing in the distance.
Female mountain plovers really go for it.
In addition to watching the mountain plovers’ display, festival goers will enjoy wildlife tours, home style cooking, authentic western entertainment, and true country hospitality.
For those looking to camp, sites can be found at Karval Reservoir, Kinney Lake, and Hugo State Park. Not a camper? No problem. Local families, farmers, and ranchers are opening their homes to host festival goers.
Check out the festival’s official website for more information: mountainploverfestival.com