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Summer Bird in the Winter
Category: Birding at the Chico
Northern Mockingbird is a common breeder on the Chico, but it retreats to the south for the winter, flying south to New Mexico and northern Mexico, although in southwestern Colorado somemockingbirds are resident.  During about 30 percent of winters a mockingbird seems to find enough to eat and therefore winters during some years on the Chico.  This one was seen today feeding on Russian olives, the tree birds love because of the amount of available fruit, but a tree designated as a noxious weed by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. 
Posted by Bill M. on 01/17/2014

Golden Eagle Hunts Prairie-dogs
Category: Birding at the Chico
Golden Eagles are most common during winter months on the Chico.  Their food consists of black-tailed prairie-dogs, desert cottontails, and black-tailed jackrabbits.  This bird was seen soaring over a prairie-dog town, the prairie dog cries alerting me to the bird flying overhead.  A bit technical, but if you examine the primaries, the 10 most outer wing feathers, you can see light bases on the inner most three primaires.  The feathers interior to those feathers, called the secondaries, are all the same color and a few have chips on the tips.  These feathers are retained juvenile feathers, about one year old.  The flight feathers from the wing tips to the light-based primaries are new feathers.  This examination makes it possible to age this bird as a one year old.  It takes five years for a Golden Eagle to attain adult plumage.
Posted by Bill M. on 01/17/2014

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