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

Ducks on the Move
 Only mid-August but already teal are flocking. Blue-winged and Cinnamon Teal are early fall and spring migrants, here a flock of Blue-winged Teal with one Yellow-headed Blackbird over rapidly evaporating Vega Pond. 
Posted by Bill M. on 08/19/2015

Barber-Pole Grasshopper
 One of the most brightly colored grasshoppers, and one not known to attack forage crops is called by many names.  Barber-pole, Painted, Pictured and Rainbow Grasshopper are some.  It is only active in August and September where they are found in sandy grasslands. Like lubber grasshoppers, they don't develop long wings so they can hop, but are unable to fly. Not too difficult to look at.

Posted by Bill M. on 08/04/2015

Fall Migration - Common Nighthawks
 This morning, 4 August, six Common Nighthawks were peenting overhead. Common Nighthawks breed on the Chico on the ground and the eggs are laid on bare ground. No nest.  Today, one of the males produced a booming sound by diving at a 60% angle (photo), the sound a result of air rushing through outer wing feathers and a rapid downward movement of the wings. Males will dive at young nighthawks, at females, and even at humans which was the case today.  Common Nighthawks arrive in late May but they begin heading south as early as late July.  They have one of the longest distant migrations, completely leaving the U.S. 
Posted by Bill M. on 08/04/2015

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