The Mountain Plover Festival takes place each spring in Karval, Colorado, about 65 miles east of Colorado Springs.
Dan Merewether with the Karval Community Alliance refers to the six or seven-inch tall mountain plover as the "ghost of the prairie." The brown and white bird is camouflaged by the short grass prairie and fallow fields where it nests each spring.
"Unless it moves, you can't see it," Merewether said. "You can be watching it and it suddenly ducks down or stands still and you lose sight of it."
The bird was nearly put on the endangered species list in 2006, and populations are still struggling due to the loss of habitat. Along with the plover, Karval is home to as many as 60 species of birds in the spring.
"We're on a flyway, so we see lots of shorebirds and other birds and a lot of prairie birds that may not show up in the mountains," Merewether said.
The festival is an opportunity for amateur and expert birdwatchers alike to observe and learn from one another, as well as build community, he said. All of the money raised at the festival goes back into the unincorporated town of Karval, Merewether added.
When it comes to accommodations and food for the event, the town's 40 residents work together to house and feed visitors because according to Merewether, "we don't have a hotel or motel in town."
"We call it a 'home stay' where you can stay with the local family," Merewether said. "We also have the ability to plug in campers if somebody wishes to do that or set up tents."
The festival runs from April 29 to May 1. Accommodations are limited so pre-registration is necessary. More information is available at www.mountainploverfestival.com.
You want to know what is really going on in Southern Colorado these days. We have got just the thing for people like you: the KRCC Weekly Digest. Sign up here and we will see you in your email inbox soon!