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Outdoors

  • Squirrels and bird feeders not a good mix

    Another question from a reader this week asked how to keep squirrels out of bird feeders. Any of you who have read this column regularly recall that I wrote some time ago that I had given up trying to outsmart the squirrels.

  • Books provide important bird-identifying information

    The questions I am most frequently asked are, “What is the best bird book for this area?” or “What is the best bird book for identification? or “What book do you use?” Actually, I use three books most frequently.

  • Cottonwoods, aspen grace landscape on midsummer’s eve

    Today, June 20, is the summer solstice, the day that people of many races and cultures around the world celebrate as midsummer night’s eve, the longest day of the year and thereby the shortest night of the year.

  • Three basic rules to feed hummingbirds

    Although many species of bird return to nest in this area at various times, the hummingbirds seem to be very regular in their arrival dates, and most everyone who lives here seems to agree that when the hummingbirds arrive, it is truly summer.
    Although they return at lower elevations a bit earlier than they do here, the broad-tailed hummingbirds that nest in our immediate area usually arrive between April 25 and April 27, and they have done so for close to the 50 years I have lived here.

  • House wrens working their way into the foothills

    The little brown house wren has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. They always nested in a box in our yard on the farm where I grew up, and they were common nesting birds in most every yard in the village.

  • Rare Lewis’ woodpecker sighted near Bailey

    May has had its usual fling of one last snowstorm. Fortunately, this year it was just about four inches, not the four feet it brought us a few years ago. Now that it has succeeded in ruining Mother’s Day for a good many people, it seems to be clearing up and the coming week’s forecast looks like we will be having not just spring, but summer weather.

  • Spring temperatures throw off bird migration

    Driving into Evergreen this past weekend was a great pleasure. Spring has used her magic to turn the otherwise dreary day into a splash of color and beauty.
    The stream valleys were fringed with chartreuse lace as the willow’s golden twigs put out new green leaves, bringing color to every creek. It happens every spring, but I never tire of its glory. The streams are so proud of their new chartreuse dress that they dance all the way down to the plains.

  • Virginia rail makes its way back to Evergreen Lake

    Last week, Loie Evans phoned to tell me there was a Virginia rail at Evergreen Lake. They have been seen and heard at the lake before, but they are not as regularly seen as the sora.
    Rails are difficult to see for they live among the reeds and grasses in marshes and seldom come out in the open where you can have a good look at them. They are not particularly shy or afraid of people; they just like to stay in their marsh where they find the food they need.

  • First flowers of spring bring color to foothills landscapes

    It is wonderful to see spring greening the hills once more. I drove south to Colorado Springs and Pueblo with friends last week and was once more impressed by the changing landscape south of Colorado Springs.

  • Western red squirrels begin roaming forests in April

    March has been an interesting month with weather zig-zagging between record highs, record lows, exceptional spring-like weather along with exceptional drought with which came a serious forest fire near Conifer. All of this brought a great deal of uncertainty.
    April has already greeted us with a rain and a snowstorm, and we can’t help but wonder what else it will bring before the month is up. April has a reputation of being unable to make up its mind as to whether she will spring or put on her parka and dive back into winter.