Natural History Journal

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about THE NATURAL HISTORY JOURNAL

Besides being home to horses and cattle, the Chico Basin Ranch also hosts an incredible diversity of native plants, animals, and insects. A closer look at the land will reveal micro-habitats varying from sandhills to sand sage habitat, shortgrass prairies and cholla cactus grasslands. These various ecosystems provide a home for a dizzying array of birds, grasshoppers, swift foxes, pronghorn, badgers, prairie dogs and more.

Birding Checklist

Birding Map

Dragonfly &  Damselfly Checklist

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 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.

October 2, 2017

Vultures

After several days of rainy weather, Turkey Vultures were on the move in Colorado.

September 18, 2017

Tropical Kingbird

9/17/17: The first recorded sighting of a Tropical Kingbird in Colorado occurred on Chico Basin Ranch.