Tag Archives: birdwatching

Monte Vista Crane Festival

The Monte Vista Crane Festival is one of the many wonderful events staged around the country to celebrate and observe the migration of the majestic sandhill cranes. Unfortunately, this year I arrived in Monte Vista a day after the crane festival ended. I wasn’t too concerned— after all, the cranes don’t migrate based on the three days of festivities, events, art shows and talks scheduled out by humans. Although I was sorry to have missed it, I was ready to seek out my own adventure.

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Nature’s Dinner Table

On a recent outing along the Colorado River, wildlife photographer Richard Spitzer witnessed the power and beauty of raptors in a way that few ever will. In the series of photos below, Spitzer captures golden eagles, a bald eagle, and a number of magpies in a heated competition for a seat at nature’s dinner table. Warning: While the following photos showcase the agility and magnificence of some of Colorado’s largest raptors, they do depict graphic content.

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The True Meaning of the Christmas Bird Count

CPW Wildlife Biologist April Estep and volunteer Bobby Day participate in the annual Christmas Bird Count at the United States Air Force Academy.
All photos by © Travis Duncan/CPW

2018 was The Year of the Bird, a year in which Colorado Parks and Wildlife joined organizations like National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and BirdLife International to help rally local and worldwide awareness and support for birds and their habitats in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

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Castlewood Canyon Birding Adventure

Birding team at viewing station 6

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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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 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

A Majestic Mystery

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Bald Eagle. Photo by © Wayne Lewis/CPW.

Mystery surrounds bald eagles as CPW parks celebrate the national symbol

There’s a mystery surrounding Colorado’s bald eagles. The birds migrate through Colorado every year by the hundreds, roosting, hunting, fishing, nesting and producing new chicks. But recently they’ve migrated away from a favorite viewing site and no one is quite sure why.

Just 25 years ago, so many bald eagles congregated at Lake Pueblo State Park, in Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s (CPW) southeast region, that a winter festival was created to celebrate the majestic national symbol.

But something strange has happened. These days, it’s getting hard at Lake Pueblo to find any bald eagles, instantly recognizable with their distinctive white heads and tails accenting their dark brown bodies and wings, and their piercing eyes looking down over imposing hooked yellow beaks. Read more

4 Ways to Celebrate the Year of the Bird

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Photo by © Mike DelliVeneri/CPW

YOTB_stacked_K2018 marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird protection law ever passed. To honor its success, nature lovers around the world are joining forces to make 2018 the “Year of the Bird.” The next twelve months will be a celebration of scientific research and conservation efforts that protect birds today and will inspire and recommit support for the next hundred years.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is proud to join a group of more than one hundred conservation-minded organizations, such as National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and BirdLife International, to help rally local and worldwide awareness and support for birds and their habitats. Ensuring the success of migratory birds is an integral part of CPW’s mission to protect the wildlife resources of Colorado for current and future generations. Read more