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Outdoors

  • Migrant birds, including fox sparrows, return to area in April

    It is late at night as I try to write this. I must try to get this article finished so the good people at the newspaper can put it in the next issue. This has been a strange week with weather warmer than usual, mostly cloudy, spring-like days and clear nights with gillions of stars.

  • Elusive Townsend’s solitaires guard their juniper berry stash

    We moved into this house on April 19, 1965. That’s nearly 48 years ago, but many of you may recall the article I wrote about trying to find a pygmy owl that we heard calling that first night.

    Unfortunately, I do not hear pygmy owls calling as much as I used to. Their call is much more often heard than the owls are seen, for these tiny owls can disappear in a clump of pine needles or other foliage, and they are ventriloquists. They are not where you think they are.

  • Mourning doves make an early appearance at feeder

    On Friday, March 8, all the weathermen were forecasting another severe snow. By Saturday evening, they had been proven to be right with another foot of snow on the patio picnic table. On Friday, I was having lunch where I could watch the birds at the feeder. It was a busy sight with all of the winter moochers trying to fill up before the snow came. There was nothing new or especially interesting to be seen, but when I moved closer to the window to see if there was anything on the ground under the feeders, there was a sudden explosion of flight as two mourning doves took off.

  • Even though it’s early March, spring has arrived

    The round table on my patio looks like a huge coconut cake with 15 inches of snow on it. The peripheral lights look like giant ice cream cones. The good fairies came during the night and plowed my driveway. The birds are flocking to my feeders. Yet, despite 15 inches of snow, my heart sings, “Spring is here!”

  • Box elder trees add character to area stream beds

    If you are lucky enough to live in one of the stream valleys, you may have some box elder trees growing near your house. I hope you will make time to really watch them for at least a few minutes every day.

     

    Not only are box elder trees interesting in their own right, but they also seem to attract many birds, especially when they have many seeds hanging on their branches. Box elder is the name by which most of us know this tree, but botanically, it is known as Acer negundo.

  • Hardy species hang around mountain area in winter

    Snowy February has fairly well lived up to its name. We have not had deep snow here, but frequent light snow and cold weather have kept the ground carpeted in white. Of course, more lies ahead for us for spring snows are usually deeper although less frequent.

     

    March snows are usually deep, wet and heavy. Even April, our second snowiest month, brings this same kind of snow with nice spring days in between. Spring can’t come too soon for me for I have cabin fever and just can’t wait to get outside.

  • Hardy species hang around mountain area in winter

    Snowy February has fairly well lived up to its name. We have not had deep snow here, but frequent light snow and cold weather have kept the ground carpeted in white. Of course, more lies ahead for us for spring snows are usually deeper although less frequent.

     

    March snows are usually deep, wet and heavy. Even April, our second snowiest month, brings this same kind of snow with nice spring days in between. Spring can’t come too soon for me for I have cabin fever and just can’t wait to get outside.

  • Canada geese have unusual history in Denver area

    Recently, a reader of this column wrote, asking me to write the story about our local Canada geese. I really don’t know much about this for the changes in the geese population occurred before we moved to this area.

  • Bird feeders, plus native plants and shrubs, will attract birds

     A long-time summer resident recently asked by writing to me via the High Timber Times if I would write an article on how she could attract birds to the yard of her summer cabin near Hangen Ranch.

     

    This is a subject that can’t be properly covered in an article of the usual length for it must cover feeding supplemental food, and planting native shrubs and non-native shrubs that will bear food that attracts birds. She does not say what her property is like: open, forested or creekside, or whether she has a flower or vegetable garden.

  • Dry winter brings mule deer to forage for food in gardens

    Winter is now deeply entrenched in spite of some exceptionally warm days and spring-like temperatures. We still need snow, but selfishly, I am pleased not to have it.