Tag Archives: birding in Colorado

What to See Now: Lark Buntings

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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Male lark bunting. All photos by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW

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The author’s dog, Jake.

This post is brought to you by the Fuzz Brothers, my dogs Digger and Jake. Digger, a large Airedale, and Jake, a surprisingly tough mix of every little foofy dog I always said I hated, are not fans of fireworks. Not one bit. As the days neared the Fourth of July, their anxiety levels steadily rose. Despite the fireworks ban and extremely dry conditions, my neighborhood sounded like the battle scenes from an Avengers’ movie played in Dolby Surround Sound. So, to alieveate the poor dogs’ stress on the loudest day of the year, I decided to take them on an Independence Day drive to one of the quietest places in Colorado — the Pawnee National Grasslands. My other Airedale, Mary, would historically go on trips like these, but she is now old and mostly deaf, and so the fireworks don’t even register. Anyway, she would rather nap. Read more

Castlewood Canyon Birding Adventure

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All photos by © Doug Skinner/CPW.

YOTB_stacked_KThe day after Governor John Hickenlooper declared 2018 the Year of the Bird in Colorado, I had the good fortune to join a group of birders that included CPW Resource Stewardship Program Coordinator Jeff Thompson and CPW Volunteer Karen Metz at Castlewood Canyon State Park. Beginning at sunrise, our group traveled to 13 different birding stations – each station associated with specific habitats – and spent exactly eight minutes at each location to survey what birds were present. Thompson and Metz do this survey work together three times each year and the work has been informing park management for the last eight years.

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What to See Now: Western Meadowlarks

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 western meadowlark in the Pawnee National Grasslands. All photos by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW.

While driving along a gravelly country road, I notice a squat shape sitting on a fence post bracing itself against a stiff Colorado breeze. To me, it looks a bit like a crude grade-school art project where the assignment is creating a bird by applying a chocolate chip beak and popsicle stick tail to an egg — a dull, mottled, grayish brown, grumpy egg. But then it raises up, exposing its bright yellow and black “V for varsity” sweater vest and bursts into song. If its melody isn’t the official song of the prairie, it deserves it as much or more than anything on country radio. Whether the song of the western meadowlark is cheerful or soulful is up to the listener, but the melody signals spring in Colorado’s grasslands. Read more

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

Bird Watching 101

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A Steller’s jay. Photo by © Wayne D. Lewis.

Have you ever seen a brilliantly colored bird disappear into a thicket of brush and wondered what it was? Maybe while walking along one of Colorado’s many rivers you saw a small, robin-sized bird dipping and diving about in the rocks and were amazed at how the bird managed to cling to the rocks as water tumbled over it. Or perhaps while you were washing dishes at your kitchen sink you happened to see all the birds at your feeder scatter as the shadow of a mysterious hawk flashed across your yard. Whatever the case may be, bird watching and bird identification is an ever-growing hobby, almost an obsession, for many folks throughout the country. Here in Colorado we have countless opportunities to view many species of birds in a variety of habitat.

Getting into bird watching is fairly simple. Here’s what you need to get started: Read more