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Outdoors

  • Looking forward to International Migratory Bird Day

    This coming Saturday, May 8, is International Migratory Bird Day, which will be celebrated locally at the Evergreen Nature Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    International Migratory Bird Day is a celebration of one of the most spectacular events in the world, the annual migration of birds. The day officially takes place on the second Saturday in May every year in most of the United States. However, it is celebrated at different times in different places due to the variation in migration.

  • Make boxes to stop birds from nesting in your homes

    Today has been a cold, damp, miserable day. After a week of unusually warm April weather, it was a blow to have a big low pressure area move in that brought together cold arctic air from the north and warm, wet Gulf Coast air from the south right over Colorado.

    This is typical of April in Colorado. If anything can be called typical of our spring weather, it is the pendulum swing, back and forth, from cold to hot without warning.

  • Robins have made their way back to Evergreen

    As I was coming home from a late trip to the library and grocery store, it was almost dark as I came up the hill when an American robin flew across the road right in front of me. I braked and he landed in a ponderosa pine in the yard, the same tree that a pair of robins has nested in for the past several years.

  • Cassin’s finches return to area after long hiatus

    Oh, how good it is to see green again. Today was a beautiful clear day. With a flow of warm air from the southwest, it was the first really warm day here in the mountains. Yesterday was clear and sunny, but the cold wind did not make it feel like spring.

  • There are black birds and then there are blackbirds

    All through late March, there have been reports of large flocks of blackbirds moving through the area: 150 in Kerr Gulch, 200 in Kittredge, 100 at Morrison, etc.

    We also have had more red-winged blackbirds at Evergreen Lake than there were this winter, so that means some migrants have arrived. The flock is much more talkative than it was, and males are displaying their red-shoulder epaulets, which indicate that some females have arrived and picked out nesting sites that must be defended.

  • Sandhill crane migration is a sight to behold

    Actually it was not bitter cold or the storm could have been much worse than it actually was. This is the week that I always call crane week for almost every year my husband Bill and I used to go to Nebraska at this time to see the sandhill crane migration.

    I had planned to go again this year and be a co-leader with Kathanne Lynch for an Evergreen Audubon trip, but apparently few Auduboners realized what a very special trip this is, and no one signed up to go. Or maybe they were just afraid of spring blizzards on the plains. My loss, I’m sorry to say.

  • Springtime brings a variety of returning birds

    It is just about dark on Thursday, March 18, and I have been standing out by the carport listening for the evening song of a robin.

    It has been a warm, hazy, partially cloudy spring-like day. Oddly enough, it has not dropped below freezing yet, but I expect it soon will. The weathermen on all the TV stations have been forecasting snow tonight. So, it looks like the first day of spring, March 20, will once more be snowy, which will probably be long gone by the time you receive this paper.

  • Rock squirrels are rarely sighted in Evergreen

    It was shortly after we moved to Colorado that my late husband and I were birding one morning in Red Rocks Park, and we saw our first rock squirrel.

    Rock squirrels are the biggest of all the many ground-squirrel clan, and despite the fact that they are ground squirrels, they are quite capable of climbing over rocks and boulders and even well into trees as if they thought they were tree squirrels.

  • Put out boxes so birds can build nests

    Spring is here, even if March, as usual, is producing snowstorms. However, the snow has delayed the arrival of the first bluebird.

    Or perhaps they have arrived and my network of reporters hasn’t informed me about it. If no one has seen a bluebird yet, it is most unusual. They often arrive in late February and usually are here in good numbers by the first week of March. These early birds are followed by the laggards, and by the end of March the main migration is finished and our nesting birds are here.

  • Tent caterpillars help more than hurt wildlife

    If you are one of the many people who find tent caterpillars objectionable in your backyard, now is the time to control them.

    I know they do little harm in our forests, but I find it difficult to be tolerant of them. Their favorite food is the new leaves of apple trees, so they were very common and considered destructive pests in the apple-growing sections of New York state where I grew up.