Welcome to the Black Canyon Audubon Society

Black Canyon Audubon Society was formed in 1990 and is one of 11 National Audubon Society chapters in Colorado. The BCAS is committed to the conservation of natural resources through our birding, conservation, and educational activities. The region covered by the Black Canyon Audubon society encompasses nearly 8,300 square miles and includes Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, San Miguel and Ouray counties. Within this region, elevations vary from 4,695 to 14,309 feet above sea level. Rainfall ranges from less than 8 inches per year in the lower valleys to more than 50 on the higher peaks. Vegetation varies from desert scrub to boreal forest and alpine tundra.

Crane Days Cancelled - See below for more information and tips for viewing cranes

Chapter Goals

  • To promote the conservation of natural resources through informative public programs, our newsletter and this web site.
  • To provide the opportunity for the observation and study of birds and other wildlife, through our field trips.
  • To offer early education programs including bird banding stations and classroom bird skin programs.
  • To empower our members and the public with the knowledge to be effective environmental advocates.
  • To contribute to the recovery of the Gunnison Sage Grouse (GUSG) through joint efforts with GUSG working groups and federal and state agencies.

In Memorium

We were deeply saddened by the news of the deaths of Julie and Richard Duncan, who many knew as neighbors in Cobble Creek in Montrose.  Both were lovers of the outdoors and wildlife.  Julie, in particular, was a participant on BCAS field trips and was a lover of birds.  We would like to recognize contributions made to the BCAS in the memory of Julie and Richard.  We will put the donations to good use in our outreach and education programs.  Thank you very much to:

Sue and Bill Hirschman     Stan Braithwaite and Keena Unruh     Kathi Poulos

Irene Reed     Tessia Smith     Christine Cummins     Kathleen Griffin

Richard Gleichauf     Lorie Lail     Elizabeth Wilder     Diego and Kayla Casillas


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Upcoming Programs:

Canceled - Flocks and Rocks: The Amazing Story of Sandhill Cranes and Fruitgrowers Reservoir - Canceled

Canceled Thursday March 19, 6:00 p.m.  David Noe is an engaging speaker with a great story to tell about Sandhill Cranes in our area.  David Noe's presentation is co-sponsored by the Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center, Delta County Libraries, and Black Canyon Audubon Society. This is a family and child friendly event that is the prelude to Eckert Crane Days Friday March 20-Sunday March 22 at Fruitgrowers Reservoir.  Join us at the Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center, 195 W Main St. Cedaredge,  A $10 suggested donation would be greatly appreciated. Call (970) 856-9195 for more information. 

Upcoming Field Trips:

First Tuesday Birding Trips

Tuesday  April 7, 9:00 a.m.  First Tuesday Birding Trip. Destinations to be announced. Bruce Ackerman will be leading a birding trip to somewhere good near Montrose.  Meet at the northeast corner of the Gold's Gym parking lot (1840 East Main St. also known as the corner of Hillcrest Dr. and Highway 50) at 9:00 a.m. to get started and carpool. This is a great way for beginning birders to learn birds of the area and to find out some great local places to go, but experienced birders will enjoy the variety of birds that are seen.  Return to Montrose will be around noon. For more information contact Bruce at (727) 858-5857 or at his This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Please note that there will not be a First Tuesday Birding Trip in May.

Cancelled!  Eckert Crane Days  Cancelled!

Crane Days has been Cancelled Friday-Sunday, March 20-22, 9 a.m.- 11:00 or so each day.  Our annual Eckert Crane Days has been cancelled in order to prevent an aggregation of people at this time of contagion.  The cranes will still be using Fruitgrowers Reservoir on their northward migration, so you can still see them on your own.  We will not have an organized BCAS presence, however.   The cranes do not have calendars, so you can expect cranes to be using Fruitgrowers Reservoir over the next few weeks - weekends and weekdays through the first part of April.

Here are some tips for viewing cranes at the reservoir:

The cranes have begun their journey northward.  They arrive each evening, when weather is favorable, about 3:30 in the afternoon.  They usually fly in high and can be heard from quite a distance before settling in.  They often land on the north side of the causeway, so viewing them from the causeway or from the parking area just west of the causeway on their arrival can be spectacular.  If you park along the causeway, please make sure your vehicle is entirely off of the road.  Local traffic along the road often moves very fast, so please do not stand in the roadway and be very careful of oncoming traffic if you cross the road.

After arrival, the cranes often resettle themselsves to the fields on the western side of the reservoir.  They are often in the fields far to the south and can be difficult to see without binoculars or a spotting scope.  The best place to see them if they are west of the reservoir is at Crane Point, which is a small pullout with an informational sign and picnic table on the curve of the road on the hill west of the reservoir.  This has limited parking, so please take care not to block the road leading westward from the pull out, as it is used by the farm you are overlooking.  Also, do not pass beyond the fence adjacent to the pull out, as it is private land and you do not have permission to be there.  The farmer who owns the land is very friendly and glad to have you view the cranes from Crane Point, but please do not enter his land.

The cranes typically leave the following morning between 10:00 and 11:00.  If the cranes are in the fields west of the reservoir, Crane Point can be a very good vantage point.  The cranes typically lift off in groups, cueing on the lift offs of nearby cranes, so can be spectacular as they circle and leave the area to fly over Grand Mesa to the north.  Because they circle around, they often fly over the causeway and the parking area to the east on the northern side of the reservoir.  Again, please be aware of traffic on North Road and do not impede it by parking in the roadway, be careful not to wander into the road when distracted by the cranes, and take care if you feel the need to cross the road.

Birdwatching can be an activity that can be practiced safely in this time of worry of infection from the Corona Virus.  Please give your fellow birders space - 6 feet is recommended - so that you do not inadvertently infect one another.  If you share a spotting scope or other items, such as binoculars or bird guides, please use disinfectant wipes between uses.  Common sense and respect for personal space is key.  You can still talk to one another and exult in the spectacle of the cranes and other birds, but have self awareness so that you do not get run over, do not impede traffic, do not trespass, and do not come uncomfortably close to others who may be concerned with contracting the virus.

 Ridgway State Park Field Trip

Saturday, April 18, 8:30 a.m.-12:00.  Join Don Marsh as we look for early spring arrivals at Ridgway State Park.  Note:  The park charges an $8 dollar entrance fee, but we’ll try to minimize the number of cars and utilize available park passes.  Meet at the northeast corner of the Gold's Gym parking lot (1840 East Main St. also known as the corner of Hillcrest Dr. and Highway 50) at 8:30 a.m. to get started and carpool. If coming from the south, you may also meet the group at the Ridgway State Park Visitor Center at 9 am.    Return to Montrose in early afternoon. For more information contact Don Marsh at (209) 256-5744 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

West End Field Trip

Tuesday & Wednesday, May 5 - 6.  Black Canyon Audubon will sponsor a field trip to Paradox Valley and other West End venues for a spring birding adventure.  The opportunity to see over 70 species is very high.  The Paradox Valley and West End areas have a great mix of habitats, ranging from desert scrub to classic alpine to riparian, allowing for a rich mix of birds during the spring migration.  Expect to see a host of migrants - black-throated sparrow, vireos, yellow-breasted chat, Grace’s warbler, black phoebe, and a variety of waterfowl.  Expect several short walks to access bird habitat.  Day 1 will wrap up near Naturita, so participants can access either hotel accommodations or camp for the night.  The Uravan Ball Park campground is open for our use, and the Rimrock Hotel - (970) 865-2500 - in Naturita has nice rooms at reasonable prices.  The field trip is limited to 12 participants.  Directions to the meeting site will be sent to those who sign up.  For questions and to sign up contact Bill Harris at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Billy Creek Wildlife Area Field Trip

Saturday, May 16, 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.  Join Don Marsh as we explore the Billy Creek Wildlife Area and look for spring migrants.  Meet at the northeast corner of the Gold's Gym parking lot (1840 East Main St. also known as the corner of Hillcrest Dr. and Highway 50) at 8:00 a.m. to get started and carpool.  If coming from the south, you may also meet the group at La Zona Colona Coffee in Colona at 8:30 am.  Return to Montrose in early afternoon, so bring a lunch.  For more information contact Don Marsh at (209) 256-5744 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Leucistic red tail Neil Perry 2019l

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk near Solar Road south of Montrose.  Photo taken by Robin Lewis on March 26, 2019.


BCAS Donations Through AmazonSmile.com

Although we encourage everyone to shop locally, in the event that you choose to make a purchase through Amazon, please do so by way of AmazonSmile.com and select the Black Canyon Audubon Society as the organization that a percentage of your eligible Amazon purchases will be sent automatically as a charitable contribution. Purchases must be made by going to AmazonSmile for this to take place. Anyone can support the Black Canyon Audubon Society by choosing us as your designated AmazonSmile.com non-profit organization by clicking the link below:


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