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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



Winter Raptors
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

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
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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CONTACT US 719.683.7960 info@chicobasinranch.com