April 18, 2017
Long-eared Owls, sometimes wintering on the Chico, are vole specialists. Although they nest and roost in dense habitats, they hunt in open areas. Under a big roost it is possible to find hundreds of owl pellets, reguritated remains of dinner. Long-eared Owls breed in the northern U.S., Canada, and Eurasia north to 65 degrees. There is one record of a pair of Long-eared Owls nesting on the Chico. Roosts can be as small as two individuals and as large as …
March 28, 2017
The small, long-legged owl with white eyebrows and bright yellow eyes who lives in ground burrows is called Burrowing Owl. Unlike the resident owls in the southern parts of their range, Chico’s Burrowing Owls are migratory. They are also found in northern and in southern South American grasslands where they are resident and non-migratory. On Chico and in other areas of eastern Colorado, Burrowing Owls can be found from late March into fall in abandoned prairie-dog burrows (photo). They are …
March 21, 2017
Although Barn Owls nest upon the rafters of old barns their true nest site is the open cavity in large trees, usually where a limb has broken off. Barn Owls are in a different family than the true owls with longer legs and serrated middle toes. In the world there are 11 species, only one species in North America. They are one of the most abundant owl species in the world but because they hunt only at night they are …
November 21, 2016
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 …
September 26, 2016
Prior to Saturday there had been zero Northern Saw-whet Owls banded on the Chico and only two had been seen. But, on Saturday Laura-Marie caught and banded Chico’s first and then today, Monday, she caught Chico’s second (and two days later a third was caught). Here volunteer banding assistant, Dr. Anna Joy gets to release the bird before she had to leave to teach anatomy/physiology to a bunch of college students.
Called Saw-whet because one of its calls resembles the sound …
May 3, 2013
A Great Horned Owl nestling poked its head out of a tree cavity for the first time on May 3rd. Always popular with school groups and protected from potential predators by the tree nest.
March 20, 2012
The deer skull nest is one of the many surprises I come across on the ranch. It’s been there for a long time and the crew and guests see it everyday as it is located right next door to our saddlehouse. The same birds probably return each year and build it back up. The placement is perfect and gives the deer character and a little bit of a hair style.
Another little surprise – After being away for a month and arriving …
January 31, 2012
Last week we had a light dusting of snow on the ranch that quickly melted away on the prairie floor, but left a little moisture in the mountains. The mountains right now look like they’ve been dusted in powder sugar and usually remain that way until the next snow.
Watching the bison in the early winter morning or in the snow is always a treat as they blow big plumes of air and snort around as they eat. When the clouds …