Fall Birding in Colorado

Fall Birding in Colorado

Visiting birders to Colorado tend to fall into two main categories: Many come in April for a Colorado “Chicken Tour” to enjoy the grouse, prairie-chickens, and ptarmigan.  Another major wave of birders visit in the breeding season (May-July) for the great variety of Colorado specialities.  But the fall season also offers tremendous birding opportunities. Rocky Mountain National Park by Andrew E. Russell via Flickr   Pawnee Buttes Storm Clouds by Michael Kirsh via Flickr  

Cassin’s Vireo – An Exercise in ID

Cassin’s Vireo – An Exercise in ID

Cassin’s Vireo is an interesting bird here in Colorado.  In 1997, the American Ornithologists Union determined that the former Solitary Vireo was actually three separate species and now we have Blue-headed Vireo, Plumbeous Vireo, and Cassin’s Vireo.  The default breeding species among this trio in Colorado is the Plumbeous but Cassin’s does migrate through Colorado in the spring in fall.  There are many more Colorado reports in the fall compared to the spring but definitive

Who Was Woodhouse?

Who Was Woodhouse?

Nice video of Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay in Colorado by Colette Micallef Samuel Washington Woodhouse (1821-1904) One of the birds we typically encounter on our Colorado birding tours is Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay. But who in the heck is Woodhouse? Samuel Washington Woodhouse was a surgeon-naturalist from Philadelphia who accompanied a U.S. Army survey expedition in the U.S. Southwest in 1849-1851. During the expedition, Woodhouse collected four species new to science, Cassin’s Sparrow, Black-capped, White-throated Swift, and another bird

Our Disappearing Great Plains

Our Disappearing Great Plains

The World Wildlife Fund issued an alarming press release this past November stating that “In 2014 the Great Plains lost more acres of grasslands than the Brazilian Amazon lost to deforestation.” According to the WWF report, 53 million acres of America’s Great Plains “have been lost since 2009, threatening important and iconic species like grassland songbirds…” Four species of birds have been particularly hard hit by this habitat loss: McCown’s Longspur, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Lark Bunting,

9 Favorite Colorado Birding Resources

There are many excellent resources for learning about Colorado’s great birding opportunities. Here is a list of 9 of my personal favorites. I don’t intend this to be an exhaustive list–just a sampling of the books and online resources I use most often. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all the knowledgeable and friendly Colorado birders who have welcomed me and willingly shared their time and expertise.  Thank you all! NOTE: Although

Young Birders Make Colorado History

On December 16, 13-year-old twin young birders, Jack and Ryan Bushong discovered a Purple Sandpiper in Summit County, Colorado.  This was the first recorded occurrence of this species in Colorado.  In subsequent weeks, an estimated 400 birders braved snow and cold to get a glimpse. You can read more in the Denver Post and see a news video here. Just two days later, we had the chance to spend a morning with Jack, Ryan, and