Category Archives for // migration
April 2, 2017

Bird Banding

Each spring and fall, the Chico maintains a bird banding station in partnership with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. It’s a perfect opportunity for school kids to experience scientific research first-hand.

February 8, 2017

Tracking Colorado Pronghorn

Pronghorn are one of the most iconic species of the American plains, yet biologists know very little about their movements in southeastern Colorado.

January 29, 2017

Sandhill Crane Migration

Every spring and fall, Sandhill Cranes stop over on the Medano-Zapata Ranch during their annual migration.

Photos by Matthew DeLorme and Madeline Jorden

December 19, 2016

The Year in Birds

Large plains cottonwoods and riparian areas surrounded by sedges, rushes and cattails make the Chico an avian oasis.

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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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 26, 2016


Yesterday morning we rode from headquarters in the dark to get a jump start on the cattle. We hit the back of the pasture right at 7 o’clock when the sun was rising. In the distance I could hear an unfamiliar sound at the nearby reservoir. As I went about moving cattle, a flock of Sandhill Cranes took flight from the water and continued on their migration.

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September 13, 2016

Thrashers in the Cholla

In September, a walk in the cholla cactus will often result in seeing two thrasher species.  The migrant Sage Thrasher is is dark gray with a shortish straight bill and the resident Curve-billed Thrasher (photo) is easy to find except when it is nesting.  The curve of its bill and larger size than Sage Thrasher make the two species fairly easy to separate, plus a Curve-billed Thrasher has large breast spots than Sage Thrasher breast spots.

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August 20, 2016

Bird Banding Beings September 1st

Chico is a bird migrant trap. Southbound birds heading to the southern U.S., Mexico, and for some species even to South America need to stop to restore their fat reserves.  A great place for them to do that is at Chico Basin Ranch. School groups, new birders and veterans alike, all see an amazing array of bird species at Chico.  Why don’t they look like they do in Spring? Come to the Banding Station to find out.  How do you

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March 7, 2011

Snow, Cranes and Bald Eagles

Every March the Sandhill Cranes migrate through the valley and have slowly been making their way in each day since the end of last week. I saw my first group relaxing in a field on the way into town and could see their tall, skinny, grey frames poking about and forgot how tall they were. At first you think you are looking at the front side of a huge coyote, but then you quickly see several hundred of these grey

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