Winter Raptors
Category: Birding at the Chico
One of the Chico winter specialties is Ferruginous Hawk, a priaire species that sometimes hunts from high in the air before swooping down on its mostly mammalian prey.  In Coloraodo, prairie dogs are a favored food item along with jackrabbits and any large prairie dog colony is a good location to look for this species. 

When nesting, they have been observed to dive on coyotes, chasing them away from their nests.  Ferruginous is in reference to the rusty coloation of some of the feather groups seen here on the underwings and flanks.  Ferruginous Hawk is one of the most powerful buteos enabling it to pursue larger prey than other buteo hawks.   
Posted by Bill M. on 11/15/2010

Northern Pintails
Category: Birding at the Chico

Pintails, named for the long tail feathers in the males; they are dabbling ducks and therefore feeds with its tail tipped up, paddling with its feet in shallow water for seeds of aquatic plants found on the bottom.  Unlike the scaup, Northern Pintails explode into the air like teal when taking flight.  They are one of the fasted flying ducks.

Posted by Bill M. on 11/15/2010

Lesser Scaup
Category: Birding at the Chico
Waterfowl can be seen moving around the Chico ponds as jump shooters visit all of the ponds hoping to take home a string of ducks.  Staying in one spot can be the key to photographing ducks in flight during the waterfowl hunting season.

Lesser Scaup, here one male with 6 females contemplate a landing at HQ Pond. Ofen called bluebills by hunters, they are prairie ducks that migrate inland  in spring and fall. Like other diving ducks, scaup have their feet placed well back on  their bodies.  Diving ducks need to run across the water using both their feet and wings in order to get airborn.

Scaup use both their feet and wings to propell themselves underwater.  They usually search in 5-6 feet of water taking equal amounts of plant and animal matter in their diets.
Posted by Bill M. on 11/15/2010

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