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Outdoors

  • Wildlife watch: The scourge of mange and the mighty mites

    By Christie Greene
    For the Courier

  • Tent caterpillars help more than hurt wildlife

    (Reprinted from March 10, 2010)

    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.

  • Rosy finches flock to tundra in variety of latitudes

    (Reprinted from March 5, 2008)

    For many years when winter visitors to Colorado called us to inquire about where they could see rosy finches, we would either take them or send them to the top of Squaw Mountain to visit the Swanlunds.

    When we were faced with this request recently, we didn’t know a really “sure spot” to send these visitors.

  • You can help with Great Backyard Bird Count

    (Reprinted from March 4, 2009)

    Editor’s note: This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count will be Feb. 17-20)

    I have just mailed in a count for the Great Backyard Bird Count to the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology at Ithaca, N.Y. This count is a joint effort of the Laboratory of Ornithology and Audubon. It is such an easy count to do that I thought some of you might be interested in taking part next year.

  • Red-winged blackbirds are a feisty bunch

    (Reprinted from Feb. 6, 2008)

    Usually cold and wintry, February is made bearable by the first signs of spring — nothing as showy as the first daffodil in bloom, but still good, dependable signs of spring.

  • Shrikes common in foothills, though not easy to identify

    (Reprinted from Jan. 23, 2008)

    For some time now, the birds at our feeders have been nervous, flying into the prickly thickness of a nearby blue spruce or darting into the lilac bushes every time anything moves in the yard or even inside the window. Such behavior, especially in cold, snowy weather, can mean only one thing. There is a predator of some kind working in the area. But what kind? That is the question.

  • The final fate of Frances the goose

    Several readers of this column have inquired recently if I knew what had become of “Frances” the Canada goose that lingered at Evergreen Lake into winter. Since I had suggested that the people who were concerned about Frances should call Carol Wade, I called her last week to find out what had transpired.

  • Winter cottonwoods and a new year of good birding

    Reprinted from Dec. 31, 2008

    The good news is that the winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year. From now on, each day grows a bit longer until the spring equinox brings equal days and nights, the official beginning of spring.

    Actually, the first signs of spring appear long before March 21. Easter daises will be found blooming in February, early migrant birds will begin to move, and the twigs of the cottonwoods and willows will begin to glow with color as sap rises upward to nourish buds and soon-to-be flowers and leaves.

  • Winter solstice heralds the coming of spring

    (Reprinted from Dec. 28, 2009)

    Looking out the window, I still see snow on the ground, and we will have snow for at least three more months. However, this past Monday, Dec. 20, was the changing point, and yesterday was the beginning of the change, the winter solstice, or the first day of winter.

    That’s the day my husband, Bill, used to call the best day of the year because it meant that from that day forward every day became a bit longer, and this meant spring was on its way. The best time of the year.

  • Snowberries make an appearance despite little snow

    (Reprinted from Dec. 5, 2012)

    This has been an exceptionally warm, dry fall. We often have nice weather on Thanksgiving, but to have 60-degree days in December is unusual. Moist air coming in from the Pacific Ocean has soaked the West Coast with rain.

    It may reach here by the time this is published, and as it hits the higher mountains, it may well turn to snow. However, that still remains uncertain.