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

Welcome to Chico Basin Ranch
A Western Kingbird perches on the metal cowboy, welcoming all to Chico Basin Ranch.
Posted by Bill M. on 07/23/2010

Black Saddlebags

This is an appropriately named dragonfly for a cattle ranch, Black Saddlebags.  While not birds, dragonflies are spectacular insects.  They have the best eyesight of all insects. All male dragonflies spend a large amount of time searching for females and most male territories includes ideal habitat for egg-laying.  Black Saddlebags males have territories that are about 100 feet long.   They often fly at waist height, near shoreline, and out over open water.  This is a highly migratory species not showing up in the northern parts of their range until summer, which makes them ideal to study when the birding comes to a slowdown during summer months.  When males and females fly in tandem, the females lay one egg at a time and bass have been observed following them, a tasty morsel for a fish.

Posted by Bill M. on 07/23/2010

The Black-chinned Hummingbird Nest
Over at the Casita, a female Black-chinned Hummingbird found the ideal spot to build its nest, on top of a rope hanging from the ceiling of the open garage.  The first nest was built in May 2009 and there were two very large nestlings in the nest on 28 June 09 (1st photo).  This year, a female, probably the same returning bird, added a second layer to the nest (2nd photo) as shown on 24 May 10.  Sometime thereafter, a third layer was added (3rd photo on 1 July) making it possibly the tallest Black-chinned Hummingbird nest ever.  Hopefully this nesting attempt is successful.  Possibly even more interesting is the number of rodent bones, including small Peromyscus skulls, incorporated into the nest(s).

Stay tuned for more of this story.
Posted by Bill M. on 07/02/2010

Young Birders at the Chico
On July first, 17 young birders aged 13-17 from the American Birding Association's Young Birder Camp spent the morning at the Chico. They came from all parts of the U.S. and Canada to learn about Colorado birds.  Not only did these kids want to see the specialty birds of the Chico, but they were also interested in beetles, bugs, butterflies, and dragonflies.  Five adults, including well-respected professional bird guides from Cape May, NJ, Michael O'Brien and artist Louise Zematis, tutored the kids and asked them challenging questions about birds.  Many of the participants are home-schooled and many are planning on a career in biology. 

A good time was had by all.

Posted by Bill M. on 07/02/2010

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