Gunnison Sage-Grouse by Jeff Kietzmann

December in Colorado – Day Three

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Dec 31
On December 10 (Day Three of our Colorado birding tour), we were met early by Marcel Such who is a student at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison and the four of us (Marcel, Jeff Kietzmann, Christian Hagenlocher, and I) headed to the west end of Blue Mesa Reservoir (created in 1966 along 20 miles of the Gunnison River.)  From here, we turned south and spent several hours cruising the rough roads that honeycomb the
Post-goshawk smiles by Carl Bendorf

December in Colorado – Day Two

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Dec 18
On Day Two of our Colorado birding tour, Jeff and I were met at our hotel early (5 a.m.!) by Christian Hagenlocher who currently lives and works in Buena Vista.  Christian is a terrific birder and knows this part of Colorado like the back of his hand.  In the darkness, we drove west from Buena Vista in Christian’s Subaru (completed with studded snow tires) up to Cottonwood Pass (12,126 feet) frequently stopping to listen for
Ferruginous Hawk

December in Colorado – Day One

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Dec 13
Many of our Colorado birding tours are focused on north-central Colorado to well-known hotspots including Rocky Mountain National Park and the Pawnee National Grasslands.  In early December, we organized a custom three-day trip that ventured south and west for some of Colorado’s other regional specialities. Jeff from Florida had a very specific list of species he hoped to add to his species list for 2017 (his first year of active birding.)  He’d been keeping track
Rocky Mountain National Park

Fall Birding in Colorado

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Sep 16
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

Cassin’s Vireo – An Exercise in ID

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Sep 12
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?

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Mar 30
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

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Jan 23
Approximate location of the 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:

9 Favorite Colorado Birding Resources

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Jan 13
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! Books on

Young Birders Make Colorado History

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Jan 07
In the middle, Jack & Ryan Bushong and their friend, Holden, during Boulder Christmas Bird Count 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.

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