CONSERVE

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about CONSERVE

Conservation has long been a cornerstone of our operations. Since our livelihood depends on the vitality of the land, we have a vested interest in keeping these ecosystems healthy and thriving. Because we work closely with conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, we are able to take advantage of science-based management methods to which ranchers have not traditionally been exposed.

November 21, 2016

Prairie Falcon Chases Short-eared Owl

While I was driving out in the sand, a normally nocturnal Short-eared Owl was observed flying in the middle of the day. Perhaps a coyote flushed this ground roosting species.  As the owl flew west, I saw a wintering Chico Prairie Falcon flying towards the unsuspecting owl.  The resulting encounter brought both species inches away from each other and both birds raised their talons in defense. The owl was quite vocal, hissing at the falcon. When the falcon and the

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November 21, 2016

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Over the past 30 years, an eastern species, Red-bellied Woodpecker has been found to be slowly moving west into eastern Colorado counties.  It is a rare bird on the Chico with only a couple records, so it was a pleasant surprise when one was reported at the banding station on Saturday and she remains there as of the 21st of November (and now seen on the 1st of December). Separation of sexes is fairly easy with males having red in

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November 16, 2016

Canyon Towhee

The Canyon Towhee is a large, dull sparrow who is at home in the Desert Southwest, its northern range extending only slightly north of Chico into Colorado Springs.  It is considered a desert species and its nesting is triggered by spring or summer rains and therefore in some areas they can nest twice in a year. Over the past 10 years, this species has seemingly become more common on the Chico usually seen in open arid areas.  Water is the

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November 4, 2016

Lingering Migrant

Gray Catbird will sometimes winter in southern Colorado if there is enough food and for a catbird the food choice is fruits such as Russian olives and seeds. As the photograph indicates, this mimid (sings other birds songs during the breeding season) is found in dense thickets.  They usually leave Colorado by the first week of October but there is usually one or two found throughout winter somewhere in Colorado’s foothills. This one was trying to hide in the brush

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November 4, 2016

Lapland Longspur

The best way to find a longspur on Chico is too search big flocks of Horned Larks near water.  This longspur species, Lapland Longspur, is a long distance migrant, breeding on the tundra in Alaska and all the northern Canadian provinces and in Greenland and Siberia. Compared to the Chestnut-collared Longspur (see the fifth entry below), Lapland has longer wings, a stronger face pattern, and always has the rufous wing coverts not found on the other longspur species.  It is

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October 28, 2016

Late Migrant Warbler

In spite of the name American Redstart, this species is only reddish on adult spring males, the females and young males have yellow, not red. It is one of our more common, migrant, non-breeding warblers. In October, most, but not all warblers have migrated south so seeing this young male redstart at HQ was a treat.  The name comes from a corruption of the Old German name, rothstert meaning “red tail” but the European bird for which our redstart is

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October 28, 2016

Rock Pigeons on Chico

Rock Pigeon, formerly called Rock Dove, is rarely mentioned in posts because they can be abundant in cities in all of our Lower 48 states.  They are non-native, first thought to enter North America in 1606 in a domesticated form but escaped birds soon became feral. They have been domesticated for thousands of years, native to Asia, Europe, and North Africa and exist in a variety of color forms.  This species is still rare on the Chico and this bird

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October 27, 2016

Pheasant Over Glass

Not native to Chico, Colorado, or North American, Ring-necked Pheasant remains one of the most beautiful birds. Surprisingly, one flying low over Rose Pond.

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October 27, 2016

Migrant Cranes

Of the 15 species of crane worldwide, Sandhill Crane is the most numerous and it makes an annual fall appearance on the Chico in October where numbers are sometimes high.  A smallish flock (55) flew over Rose Pond this afternoon on their way south to as far as Mexico.  The larger Greater Sandhill Crane  breeds in northwest Colorado but this smaller Lesser Sandhill Crane is the one we most often encounter on the Chico. Some Sandhill Cranes breed in Siberia,

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October 20, 2016

Exploring Different Habitats

One of the species infrequently encountered in Colorado, unless a specific grassland type habitat is searched, is Chestnut-collared Longspur.  On the Chico, this species, named for the very long claw or spur on the hind toe, is fairly easy to find in a very particular habitat type.  Chestnut-collared Longspur usually never flock with other longspur species but it is commonly found in September and October mingled in with Horned Larks by water troughs where water is spilling to form a

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