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Not So Fast My Friend
Category: Birding at the Chico
A great example of the relentless pursuit of food by birds, in this case a Western Kingbird and a cactus dodger type of cicada (Cacamas sp). This cicada was securely in the kingbird's mouth but as I slowly drove closer to get in range for a photograph the kingbird opened its mouth and the cicada tried to escape.  A meal this size is prized so the kingbird went after the cicada and successfully recaptured the cicada and maneuvered it head first so it would slide down more easily. Often birds will first remove wings and heads of insects first before swallowing. Most people take it for granted that birds need to eat, sometimes a constant search for the next food item. Photography and filmography are two of the best ways to record some of the many insects and other prey items birds eat in order to feed their young and to stay alive. 
Posted by Bill M. on 08/06/2017

Grasshopper Walk - 5 August 2017
Category: Birding at the Chico
 Twelve people joined Saturday's grasshopper field trip sponsored by Chico Basin Ranch and the Mile High Bug Club. Participants were able to see way more insects than just grasshoppers and the three young girls present seemed impressed by the two preying mantises, a black widow spider, and of course the colorful grasshoppers including ones called barber-pole, dinosaur, great crested, ebony plus more than 30 other species.  
Posted by Bill M. on 08/05/2017

Mourning Doves
Category: Birding at the Chico
 Mourning Doves nest on the Chico and nest in 48 of our 50 states. Their common name comes from their song with sounds mournful to many.  They nest early and often.  The species name, macroura, comes from the Greek macros (long)and oura (tail) and adults have a long tail making this species 12 inches in length. Their song is low-pitched, soft and mournful and sounds like oo-ah cooo-cooo-coo. Because it so soft, the song can easily go undetected.  This species usually leaves Colorado by mid-September although a few sometimes remain if there is abundant food.  It is popular with hunters and 42 of the Lower 48 states allows hunting of this species which sometimes, but not lately, concentrates in large numbers in or near large sunflower patches where the birds forage on the ground feeding on the sunflower seeds. They are fast in flight, sometimes flying over 40 mph.  This one was recently perched on the metal cowboy marking the turn towards the bird banding station. 
Posted by Bill M. on 08/01/2017

   
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