Yampa Valley Crane Festival

Yampa Valley Crane Festival

Thursday, September 3, 2020 (All day)
Friday, September 4, 2020 (All day)
Saturday, September 5, 2020 (All day)
Sunday, September 6, 2020 (All day)
  • Multi-day Event - Access Info Below
The cranes are migrating through the Yampa Valley despite our pandemic. Enjoy a virtual 2020 festival to honor their fly-by!

The 9th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival takes place on its traditional end-of-summer weekend, but it's virtual this year. The Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition has produced a series of fun and educational videos about Greater Sandhill Cranes and other bird- and nature-related topics around the Yampa Valley and Northwest Colorado. In addition, some of the most popular crane festival events have been turned into recorded sessions for your enjoyment and education.

All videos will be available for free at the link above, starting on Thursday, Sept. 3. Here are the videos you will be able to stream from the comfort and safety of your home:

Keynote Video

  • From Ice Age to the Present – a Brief History of Sandhill Cranes in Northwest Colorado by Van Graham
    Eye catching Sandhill Cranes, along with the other fourteen crane species found around the world, capture the imagination. They’re distinctive birds, and we aspire to know and understand them. Many books and scientific research papers document the life history of Sandhill Cranes as they travel across North America. Numerous fables, myths and legends have also been handed down through time, each with a unique story regarding this distinctive bird. Northwest Colorado’s Sandhill Cranes have a fascinating history all their own. This film offers a historic glimpse of Sandhill Cranes through the ages in the rugged Rocky Mountains of Northwest Colorado. Run time: 35 min

Videos about Sandhill Cranes

  • Sandhill Cranes of the Yampa Valley by Erin Gelling
    The Yampa Valley in Northwest Colorado is home to Greater Sandhill Cranes who arrive in the spring, breed during the summer, and stage in the fall before migration. Run time: 6 min.
  • From Nests to Colts: Breeding Ecology of Sandhill Cranes by Erin Gelling
    Every year, Sandhill Cranes spend great time and energy raising and protecting their young who must grow fast before summer’s end. Run time: 6 min.
  • 39 Days by Nancy Merrill
    Follow a Yampa Valley crane pair and and their chicks - from nesting to hatching through the day-by-day progress of two chicks becoming colts. Run time: 5 min.
  • Cranes and Agriculture in the Yampa Valley by Laura Foulk, Barb Hughes & Nancy Merrill. Filmed by Barry Kaplan and Erin Gelling. Edited by Erin Gelling
    Agriculture and Greater Sandhill Cranes are mutually important aspects of the Yampa Valley. Ranchers discuss their views of cranes, their agricultural practices, and how some are implementing new practices to benefit cranes in the Yampa Valley.
  • Crops for Cranes featuring Laura Foulk and Barb Hughes, filmed by Barry Kaplan and Erin Gelling 
    Learn about the Yampa Valley's grassroots conservation collaboration between agriculture and crane.
  • Sandhill Crane or Great Blue Heron by CCCC mascot Sandy, filmed by Barry Kaplan
    Sandy, our official Yampa Valley Crane Festival mascot, pairs up with a Great Blue Heron sculpture to offer an amusing and accurate explanation of the differences between Sandhill Cranes and Great Blue Herons. Run time: 3 min.
  • Greater Sandhill Crane School Program by Jo Smith and Jennie Lay
    Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition and Bud Werner Memorial Library have joined together to create a crane educational video for youngsters of all ages. Run time: 22 min.

Videos About the Festival

  • Behind the Scenes of the Yampa Valley Crane Festival by Jo Smith
    Join along in experiencing the dedicated effort to producing the crane festival each fall! Run time: 8 min.
  • Crane Yoga by Liz Leipold, filmed and edited by Abby Jensen
    Join yoga teacher and occupational therapist Liz Leipold on your mat at home to celebrate the Greater Sandhill Cranes of the Yampa Valley. Traditional yoga poses with variations will lead “crane yogis” in movement that reflects the life cycle of the crane. Run time: 10 min.
  • Crane Coloring Contest by Jo Smith
    View all the entries in this year’s Crane Coloring Contest, then see who the winners are in each age group.
  • Crane Photo Contest by Abby Jensen
    Prizes are awarded in three categories this year: amateur, professional, and locations outside the Yampa Valley. Run time: 2 min.
  • Carpenter Ranch Historic Homestead Tour by Betsy Blakeslee, filmed by Barry Kaplan
    Join long-time ranch manager Betsy Blakeslee for a history tour of The Nature Conservancy’s Carpenter Ranch, an important breeding and staging area for Greater Sandhill Cranes and a landmark agricultural property in the Yampa Valley. Run time: 29 min.
  • Crane Storytime – by Steamboat Spellbinders David Moulton and Tom Page, filmed by Barry Kaplan, assisted by Sherry Holland
    Listen to crane tales for all ages. Run time: 15 min

Crane Art Videos

  • Crane Art of the Yampa Valley by Dona Steele and Barry Kaplan
    Come along on our expeditionary tour of lovely crane art that’s found throughout the beautiful Yampa Valley of Northwest Colorado – and meet some of the artists who created these distinctive pieces along the way. Run time: 19 min.
  • Creation of a Yard Art Crane by Susie Jackson, filmed and edited by Abby Jensen
    Watch a time-lapse video of local artist Susie Jackson creating her unique yard art crane for the 2020 Yampa Valley Crane Festival. Run time: 4 min.
  • Crane-inspired Creative Arts Contest featuring Abby Jensen, Liz Ruzicka & Lauren Ehrlich, filmed by Barry Kaplan
    Learn about CCCC’s crane-inspired Creative Arts Contest and Scholarship Program for high school seniors. Enjoy hearing from two of this year’s contest winners. Run time: 10 min
  • Fourth of July Crane Dancers featuring CCCC Crane Dancers, filmed and edited by Abby Jensen
    Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition's award-winning July 4th parade Crane Dancers didn’t want to miss their traditional Independence Day appearance this year…so they went virtual! Run time: 6 min.

Videos about Birds & Wildlife of the Yampa Valley

  • Nesting Birds of the Yampa Valley by Grey Barbier and Noah Brinkman
    Watch and learn about the nesting behavior of some common Yampa Valley bird species, photographed and narrated by two of the Yampa Valley’s best young birders.Run time: 8 min.
  • Backyard Birds: How to Attract Them to your Yard by Grey Barbier and Noah Brinkman
    Noah and Grey, two Steamboat Springs High School birding enthusiasts, explain some successful ways to attract birds to your backyard. Run time: 5 min.
  • Common Birds of the Yampa Valley by Grey Barbier and Noah Brinkman
    Two young Yampa Valley birders offer an in-depth review of some bird species you might encounter around the Yampa Valley. Run time 6 min
  • Hummingbird and Hummingbird Moths: A Virtual Tour at the Yampa River Botanic Park by Andrew and Ted Floyd
  • An Audio Primer for Summer Listening in the Yampa Valley: What are all those OTHER birds you’re hearing when you’re looking at cranes by Ted Floyd
  • Wildlife at Steamboat Lake State Park by Colorado Parks & Wildlife
    Sandhill Cranes, plants and other wildlife – both big and small – are highlighted in this overview of what this magnificent state park has to offer to visitors. Run time: 5 min.

Wildlife Photography Videos

  • Wildlife Photos Made Better! by Tom Litteral
    Be a better photographer. An introduction to planning and processing your digital wildlife images. Run time: 7 min.
  • Wildlife Photography Tips by Chris Becea of Morning Light Photography Part 1: Camera Tips for Wildlife Photography Digital SLR
    Chris Becea of Morning Light Photography reviews general settings for digital SLR’s for wildlife photography. Run time: 19 min.
  • Wildlife Photography Tips by Chris Becea of Morning Light Photography Part 2–Field Work Tips
    Join Chris of Morning Light Photography and Nancy of Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition for some crane photography field tips. Run time: 5 min.    

International Crane Foundation Videos

  • Cranes: Symbols of Survival
    Learn about cranes from around the world and the work of the International Crane Foundation whose mission is to conserve all 15 species of cranes. Run time: 14 min.
  • The Extraordinary Story of George and Tex
    The story of George and Tex is about a very rare Whooping Crane, a passionate conservationist, and a very creative solution to help save the species from extinction. Run time: 13 min.

As part of the virtual festival, we hope to provide close-to-real-time coverage of the cranes as they dance and feed in the fields near Hayden. If the cranes cooperate, look for an additional “crane viewing” video to be posted on Sunday, Sept. 6.

In addition, there's a crane origami folding lesson and story at 10 a.m.  Friday, Sept. 4 on Zoom. Sign-up required. Get all the details here.

Crane Yard Art

The annual Crane Yard Art display and auction will kick-off with a safe, social distancing "walk by" exhibition on the Library Lawn along Lincoln Avenue from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, September 4. Additional online viewing, along with bidding for the Yard Art Cranes, will take place from September 4-8 at www.32auctions.com/craneyardart.

D.I.Y. Crane Viewing

Check out this list of locations where you can travel independently to view Greater Sandhill Cranes (ideally at sunrise and sunset) in the Yampa Valley.

About the Yampa Valley Crane Festival

The Greater Sandhill Crane is an iconic species of the Yampa Valley. Returning in the spring, cranes nest and raise their young in wetland areas throughout the valley. In late summer and early fall, hundreds of cranes from the Rocky Mountain flock join the local birds to rest and feed before continuing their journey south. In non-pandemic years, the festival includes daily crane viewings, expert speakers, films, art exhibits, workshops, family activities and more. In 2021, we expect to return to these activities, with Bud Werner Memorial Library as festival headquarters and the venue for many of these talks, films and events.

Learn more about the Yampa Valley Crane Festival at www.coloradocranes.org.