Tag Archives: Conservation

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

With Eyes on the Sky, Raptor Monitors Help Protect the Ecosystem

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YOTB_stacked_KWere you one of more than 14 million visitors to a Colorado State Park in 2017? People have been flocking to our parks in record numbers over the last few years. And there are good reasons. Our state parks are located in some of Colorado’s most spectacular landscapes and they host a plethora of recreational activities, ranging from fishing and hunting to hiking, biking, kayaking and climbing. The increased popularity is a reassuring sign of people’s interest in the outdoors; however, the popularity brings with it the dynamic challenge of balancing recreation and the human impact on the ecosystem. Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff is tasked with identifying methods to monitor and strike a balance between nature and human interaction so that the park system remains healthy and available for generations to come. Read more

Species of Greatest Conservation Need: Brown-capped Rosy-Finch

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Brown-capped Rosy Finch. All photos by © Joe Lewandowski/CPW

YOTB_stacked_KThe brown-capped rosy-finch goes by a delicate name, but it is one tough little bird that lives year-round in Colorado’s high country. While biologists don’t have much information about the brown-capped rosy-finch, there is concern that the population might be declining. Colorado Parks and Wildlife researchers, along with other collaborators, have started a project to learn more about the species and are inviting the state’s bird watchers to help gather information.

In CPW’s State Wildlife Action Plan, the brown-capped rosy-finch is identified as one of the 55 tier 1 “Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN)” in Colorado. Based on anecdotal evidence from the National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count, numbers of brown-capped rosy-finches are down, raising concern among scientists that climate change could be affecting the finch’s high-altitude habitat. 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

A New Year’s Resolution for a Better Colorado

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Thinking about your New Year’s resolutions for 2018? Why not consider a resolution that offers an opportunity to improve your health and wellbeing, while positively influencing the people and environment in which we live?

With this lofty objective in mind, Colorado Parks and Wildlife invites you to resolve to become part of the State Parks NatureFinder project and to support conservation as a citizen scientist. Conveniently, this resolution should fit nicely into the usual bundle of resolutions – like starting a new workout, losing weight, enjoying life to the fullest, and spending more time with family and friends. And with a little outdoor multitasking as a citizen scientist, you can provide the valuable service of viewing and tracking changes in biodiversity! Read more

Shedding Velvet

COVER-buck-shedding-velvet-Wayne-D-Lewis-DSC_0128This time of year, most outdoors-obsessed Coloradans grab their cell phones, Nikons, Canons — anything with a lens — and head to the mountains in search of Instagram-worthy photos of changing aspens. Local TV forecasters show detailed maps of peak times in peak areas, guiding caravans of leaf lovers into the hills. For them, the official signs of the change of season are mountains painted yellow and gold.

I, however, wanted to chronicle a different sign of the season — one more interesting to orange-clad hunters: that of mule deer bucks shedding their antler velvet. During the first few weeks of September, a few times a week, I would leave work and head to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge in northeast Denver hoping to find bucks lit by the golden-hour light. At the Arsenal, they have decent populations of both mule and white-tailed deer, but by the time I started this project, the whitetail bucks had all shed their velvet.

Andy Holland, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife big game manager, thinks that the peak date for mule deer shedding is Sept. 15. “But it varies,” he says. Read more

United We Stand, Divided We Fall: A Message for Sportsmen

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Image design by Jerry Neal/CPW.

Unless you’ve been living in a galaxy far, far, away, you’ve probably noticed that we are a nation divided. We’ve become a country of Republicans vs. Democrats, conservatives vs. liberals and Red vs. Blue instead of the collective Red, White and Blue. And if you made it through the 2016 election without losing at least half of your Facebook friends, well done. Yet, politics aside, there is a common thread that binds us all as Americans, and I believe great things are in store for our nation’s future despite our perceived differences.

Although not as dramatic or polarizing, I see a similar division among sportsmen these days. I see fly fishermen who berate those who spinfish; hunters who attack fellow hunters (especially women) for harvesting mountain lions or bears; archery, muzzleloader and rifle hunters who bicker about which method of take is the most noble; and catch-and-release advocates who bash someone for legally keeping a fish or two for the dinner table.   Read more

CPW Improves Gunnison Sage-Grouse Habitat

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A Gunnison sage-grouse. Photo by Bob Gress.

The Gunnison sage-grouse is an iconic species in Colorado. In the Gunnison Basin, CPW biologists are working to improve habitat to help the population of the birds there. This video explains how CPW is working in cooperation with private landowners and other conservation partners on projects to improve and restore “wet meadows” which are very important for Gunnison sage-grouse.

Video produced by Joe Lewandowski/CPW.

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