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Birding at the Chico

The Chico Basin Ranch is a major flyway for migratory birds, due to the abundant springs, lakes and bird habitat on the ranch. The ranch works closely with Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and has over 300 birds on the ranch bird list. Many people come to the ranch in the spring and fall to bird.

Bill Maynard is one of birders that comes most frequently. When we asked him if he would keep the ranch birding journal, he was pleased and agreed to do it. Thank you Bill! Bill has taught high school biology, worked as a naturalist for the National Park Service and as a biologist for a variety of government agencies. He has also worked for the American Birding Association at their national headquarters in Colorado Springs. 

Click Here to download the Ranch Bird Checklist

Click Here to download the Birding Trail Map (4mb PDF)

Click Here to download the Ranch Dragonfly and Damselfly Checklist



Who's Your Daddy?
Birds sometimes breed with other birds of different species producing hybrids that often look like two different species combined.  This sparrow was photographed on the Chico yesterday by Jeannie Mitchell.  One of the parents is a Harris's Sparrow and the other might be it's closest relative, White-crowned Sparrow.  The two species winter together, White-crowns are very common in winter on the Chico while Harris's Sparrow is rare here.  Harris's Sparrow is believed to be the only Candaian endemic breeding passerine, all other Canadian passerines also breed elsewhere.  Harris was Edward Harris who accompanied Audubon on his travels up the Missouri River in 1843.  It was in Missouri where the first specimen was collected by Thomas Nuttall in 1834.  Harris's Sparrow was one of the last passerines to have its eggs and nest discovered and described due to its remote breeing location in arctic Canada.
Posted by Bill M. on 01/22/2013

Ferruginous Hawk - Chico
Ferrugionous Hawk is an uncommon raptor.  However, during winter, they can be common in areas with prairie-dogs; seeing them on the Chico is expected.  In Colorado, Ferruginous Hawk is listed as a Species of Special Concern and they have adapted to the prairie ecosystem.  This species sometimes perches at the entrance to a prairie-dog burrow and waits for a prairie-dog to emerge. From historic times, black-tailed prairie-dogs has been reduced by 95% and as a result the number of Ferruginous Hawks in their range have also declined.  In areas where there are gophers, Ferruginous Hawks will grab at the earth as gophers push soil to the top of its shallow burrow.  Unlike most raptors that fly away from gun shots, Ferruginous Hawks will frequently fly towards rifle shots, looking for dead squirrels or prairie-dogs.  This is a large raptor with a wingspan as long as 60 inches.  In flight they hold their wings elevated in a dihedral.
Posted by Bill M. on 01/10/2013

   
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CONTACT US 719.683.7960 info@chicobasinranch.com