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

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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September 8, 2017

Mimicry

Queen and Viceroys mimic Monarch butterflies to escape predators.

August 16, 2017

Playa Lakes

Ephemeral lakes are full and attracting birds.

August 5, 2017

Grasshopper Walk

Twelve people joined Saturday’s grasshopper field trip sponsored by Chico Basin Ranch and the Mile High Bug Club. Participants were able to see way more insects than just grasshoppers and the three young girls present seemed impressed by the two preying mantises, a black widow spider, and of course the colorful grasshoppers, including ones called barber-pole, dinosaur, great crested, ebony, plus more than 30 other species.

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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 26, 2017

Second Annual Grasshopper Walk

One of the most important food items for nesting birds is grasshoppers. Last year the Chico grasshopper field trip tallied 41 grasshopper species. On August 5th, starting at 0730 at headquarters, we will try see what new species we can add to the list that already has over 50 grasshopper species on it. Because there are so many different micro-habitats, we will visit as many as time allows.  We hope to see representatives of all the grasshopper groups, Pygmy Grasshoppers

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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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