WHAT TO SEE NOW: GREAT HORNED OWLS

YOTB_stacked_KIn celebration of the Year of the Bird, we will highlight some of the birds and their behaviors that you can observe at certain times throughout the year.

 

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A young great horned owlet shares its nest with its mother and two siblings. All photos by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW

Nothing sparks the attention of a neighborhood like a new family moving in. On a quiet block of well-kept, mid-century homes, an unlikely pair took up residence in a penthouse condo formerly occupied for years by . . . red-tailed hawks?? Yep, these aren’t the typical new suburban arrivals, they are great horned owls. This pair, and especially their offspring, have united neighbors much more than backyard BBQs and block parties ever would. Read more

Southern Colorado’s Largest Outdoor Expo Returns June 2

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The Colorado Springs “Get Outdoors Day,” southern Colorado’s largest outdoor expo, is back at Memorial Park on Saturday, June 2, 2018.

The all-day event runs from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., and it features outdoor fun and adventure for the entire family.

More than 30 different activities are available, including biking, boating, kayaking, climbing, archery, shooting, fishing and fly fishing. Read more

What to See Now: Red-winged Blackbirds

YOTB_stacked_KIn celebration of the Year of the Bird, we will highlight some of the birds and their behaviors that you can observe at certain times throughout the year.

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A male red-winged blackbird. All photos by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW.

If you cruise along just about any road in Colorado that passes through marshy or wet land, or hike by a lake or stream, you are likely to see red-winged blackbirds. Sleek and black, with bright orange, red and yellow shoulder patches, the males are what you will notice first — sitting on a cattail, wire fence or power line singing their conk-la-lee! song. Males sing to mark their territory and attract females, both of which they will aggressively protect. I once saw a red-winged blackbird repeatedly dive-bomb a belly boater that had ventured too close to its territory. Read more

Hands-On at the Hatchery

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Bellvue Watson Fish Hatchery.  All photos by © Doug Skinner.

When I was a kid, it felt as if every adult I encountered would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I still remember being puzzled and somewhat annoyed by the question. How is a 10-year old supposed to know what they want to be when they grow up? But now, I rarely hear anyone ask that question anymore. I suspect that the question has become less common as a result of a continually evolving job market. Heck, many of the jobs we hold today were not even thought of when we were children. And for millennials and generation Z, the pace of change only seems to be accelerating. Today, the question almost seems silly. Read more

Photo Contest: 2018 Colorado Public Lands Day

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Share your best photo taken on Colorado’s public lands for a chance at winning a prize package, annual Colorado State Park pass and a subscription to Colorado Outdoors Magazine. Submit your photo by May 21 and encourage your friends to vote! Winners will be selected by CPW and Colorado Outdoors — the photo with the most “likes” will win the “people’s choice” award. Read more

Grouse Getaway

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Greater sage-grouse display on a lek in northwest Colorado.  All photos by © Wayne D. Lewis.

YOTB_stacked_KIn the pre-predawn haze on a northwest Colorado prairie, every dark spot, smudge or blot you see is a greater sage-grouse — until the gathering light proves they’re not. As sunrise approaches, the “sage-grouse” become the rocks, sagebrush and clumps of dirt they actually are. But you know the birds are there because you hear them — everywhere. It’s not the distinct call of a western meadowlark (also heard in the mix) or other prairie bird, but much more otherworldly. It’s like the sounds the exotic-cute indigenous critters would make as they surround the Zachary Quinto version of Spock on some far-off planet in a Star Trek movie. Whether we know it it or not, the occupants of Mick and Nancy Sommer’s 4Runner are in a contest to see the first real greater sage-grouse. I end up taking bronze. Read more

Hunting Colorado’s Mountain Merriam’s (& The Tenth Legion)

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The author displays a Merriam’s turkey.

The best-known book of turkey hunting’s poet laureate, Colonel (retired) Tom Kelly, is Tenth Legion. The title comes from the Tenth Legion of the Roman Army, a matchless military force that stood fast against barbarian hordes for centuries. Over generations, the soldiers forming the Tenth Legion’s ranks became a cult, a breed apart, and their feats have become a touchstone for unstinting commitment, writes Jim Casada in his American Hunter article, “Reflections of a Marvelous Madness.” Such is the commitment and dedication I see demonstrated by those like my friend, Rick Hooley, and conservation officer, Rob Brazie. Read more

Searching for Gunnison-sage Grouse

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Nate Seward, CPW Wildlife Biologist, searches for Gunnison sage-grouse. All photo by © Joe Lewandowski/CPW


YOTB_stacked_KBy 6 a.m. most mornings from mid-March through mid-May, Nate Seward is sitting on cold ground – or snow, or mud ‒ peering through a spotting scope watching Gunnison sage-grouse perform their annual dance. But he’s not just bird-watching for fun. He’s counting the birds at areas known as “leks”, where males gather to establish their dominance and where females gather to choose a mate. The daily work by Seward is an essential component in the long-term conservation effort by Colorado Parks and Wildlife to sustain this iconic species of the American West. Read more

Celebrating 30 years of the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies

YOTB_stacked_KA spring snowstorm pounded the roadways for most of my white-knuckle drive to Barr Lake State Park the morning of April 21, while my 13-year-old daughter, Natalie, slept peacefully in the passenger seat. I had awakened her early in the morning with the promise of live raptors and kite flying at the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies’ 30th-anniversary celebration. The weather caused the Kite Festival celebration to be canceled, but plenty of birders still showed up at Barr Lake to check out some raptors and support 30 years of work by the Bird Conservancy Read more

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