Chico Basin Ranch

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about CHICO BASIN RANCH

The Chico is an 87,000 acre cattle ranch on the eastern plains of Colorado. Its sprawling ranges of short grass and sandsage prairie, spring-fed lakes, and creeks are home to diverse populations of birds, pronghorn, deer, fish, prairie dogs, coyote, badgers, and much more. Owned by the Colorado State Land Board and managed by Ranchlands, the Chico also offers education, farming, recreation, sporting, arts, and hospitality programs.

January 2, 2018

“The Next Generation of Conservation Ranchers”

Duke Phillips could have been a “normal” rancher. Raised in northern Mexico in a second-generation ranching family, he came of age in a world where cowboys shot coyotes to protect their calves, ranches were grazed in their entirety year-round, and cattlemen were just that–men who raised cattle. The rancher-conservationist had yet to emerge. While the tide has been changing in recent years, with more and more farmers and ranchers embracing their role as land stewards, perhaps Phillips’ most radical act has been not just to join this growing group of agricultural conservationists, but, since the very beginning, to throw the doors open and invite others to observe and participate in the project for sustainable ranching.

November 10, 2017

Circumpolar Species

Of the four species of longspur, Lapland Longspur is the most abundant with a worldwide population estimated at 150,000,000 breeding over a large circumpolar range.  On the Chico, they are seen on occasion in November into early December if you walk in shortgrass prairie and get lucky. Like all longspurs, their hind toe is elongated as implied in their scientific name, Calcarius laponnicus, Calarius from Latin calcar, or spur, referring to their very long hind toe.  In summer they are beautiful birds, but like the other longspur species, they are dull-colored during winter months and unlike many songbirds who molt to obtain a breeding plumage, longspurs obtain their breeding plumage by a slow wearing of their feather tips.

October 19, 2017

Double-crested Cormorants

Named for head feathers appearing during breeding season, Double-crested Cormorants were adversely affected after WWII when the use of DDT was permissible as a pesticide.

October 16, 2017

Broad-winged Hawk

Usually a secretive eastern forest species, at least three Broad-winged Hawks were observed the first week of October on Chico Basin Ranch.

October 9, 2017

Bird Banding Recap

A glimpse into the richly variegated world of Pink-sided Juncos, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and Golden-crowned Kinglets.

October 4, 2017

A Closer Look

There is another, hidden side of the Chico Basin Ranch that you have to get down on your knees to see.