Tag Archives: wildlife viewing

Camping and Hiking in Bear Country

Black bear rummaging through campsite.
Photo by Laura Kali is licensed under CC BY 2.0

With warmer weather and melting snowpack, outdoor enthusiasts are enjoying camping and hiking trips in Colorado’s many scenic locations. Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff are frequently asked what someone should do if they encounter a bear while out camping or hiking. Whether you are visiting Colorado for a vacation or are a long-time resident, it’s important to be aware of how to discourage human-bear encounters and how to avoid potential issues before heading out to live life outside.

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2018 Colorado Outdoors Photo Issue Video

COLORADO’S OUTDOORS

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Colorado Outdoors, and we’re thankful for the ability to share the stories of conservation, wildlife and our sporting and recreation heritage with you over eight decades. Started in 1938 as a publication of the newly formed Colorado Game and Fish Commission, the original Colorado Conservation Comments has undergone several changes over the years to become the full-color bimonthly magazine you hold today. One thing that has not changed is our mission to deliver information about the intersection of hunting, angling, recreation and conservation that is perhaps more vital today than ever before. Read more

Battle Scars

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Mule deer buck after a fight. All photos by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW.

For hunters, photographers, biologists, wildlife watchers, etc., when it comes to deer in the fall, the talk always turns to the rut. “When does it start? Which is first — whitetails or muleys?” While the people are debating, the bucks are out battling and chasing does in the field. This mule deer buck was captured by my camera this morning, coursing through the grasslands right after a fight. I’m not sure if he was the winner or loser, but he was riled up, sniffing, grunting and intent on finding a receptive doe. At one point, three does were on one side of a fence, so he squeezed under it to get to them as soon as possible and gave each a good sniff. Read more

Video: ‘Livin’ the Wildlife’ Red Fox

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Sibling rivalry at its best: Fox kits pose for a photo at a den near Evergreen, CO. Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the largest and most common fox species in Colorado.

Known for its cunning nature and intelligence, the “sly” fox is a skilled predator and scavenger. The fox is also well adapted to live among humans, and it often dens and hunts in urban/suburban areas. Read more

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

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

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

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

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