birding

Category Archives for // birding
September 18, 2017

Tropical Kingbird

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

September 12, 2017

Then They Go And Change Their Plumage

The poet, Ogden Nash, humorously wrote about how difficult it is to identify birds in his poem “Up From The Egg.” He mentions that even after finally being able to identify a bird it changes its plumage writing…”then it goes and changes its plumage, which plunges you back to ignorant ‘gloomage’…”  This is true but what he doesn’t say is that juvenile birds take weeks, months and sometimes even a year to molt to adult plumage. I have shown in

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August 16, 2017

Playa Lakes

Ephemeral lakes are full and attracting birds.

August 1, 2017

Mourning Doves

Mourning Doves nest on the Chico and nest in 48 of our 50 states. Their common name comes from their song with sounds mournful to many.  They nest early and often.  The species name, macroura, comes from the Greek macros (long) and oura (tail) and adults have a long tail making this species 12 inches in length. Their song is low-pitched, soft and mournful and sounds like oo-ah cooo-cooo-coo. Because it so soft, the song can easily go undetected.  This species usually leaves Colorado by mid-September although a

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July 25, 2017

Insect Bird Food

The majority of the over 10,000 bird species on planet Earth feed their young insects.  The flush of insects in the summer months in temperate North America is the reason migratory birds leave their home in the tropics and subtropics to fly north to breed.  Tons of food is available for their young. This week is National Moth Week and Chico Basin Ranch along with the Mile High Bug Club hosted the first moth night at Bell Grove.  Thirteen enthusiastic

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July 6, 2017

Polygyny

In the species called Great-tailed Grackle (perfect name), neither the male or the female is usually faithful = it is a polygynous species.  Males defend a small territory but only after they reach three years of age. But, it doesn’t matter because females may switch the area where they nested either during the current breeding season or between seasons.  Great-tailed Grackles are sexually dimorphic and the brown females are half the size of the big, purple-hued glossy male with the

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July 5, 2017

Nesting Season

Since the majority of Chico is a prairie, most of the breeding birds here are species that nest on or close to the ground. Lark Sparrow, a brightly colored bird and a loud singer, by necessity becomes secretive after eggs have been laid. Here is the completed nest and four well hidden eggs of a Lark Sparrow out in the dry wash of Black Squirrel Creek. The eggs are not brightly colored, but perfectly camouflage with a broken color pattern.

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July 5, 2017

Breeding Season

During years of good spring moisture, Lark Buntings find Chico as a good place to nest and raise their young.  The Colorado State Bird, Lark Bunting, is an excellent example of sexual dimorphism, males looking quite different from females.  Here a male mates with a female. Surprising to me, the pair mated three separate times within a 40 second time frame.  The female will lay eggs on the ground underneath a small plant like sand sage.

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