Where the Pronghorn Play

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One of my favorite Colorado animals is the pronghorn. Even after two decades of living here, I still excitedly point them out whenever we see them—and we see them a lot. They even grazed in the field across the street from our old house. I think part of their appeal is that I know that pronghorns are unique to this part of the world.

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In Pursuit of American Dippers

American Dipper_ElevenmileCyn-CO_LAH_5966-001 My husband really loves me. One reason I know this is because we spent Valentine’s Day looking for birds. Since he’s not a birder, this was a special gift indeed… although he did bring a book to read.

One of the advantages of living next to the Rocky Mountains is the presence of a fascinating bird—the American Dipper. This is the only aquatic songbird species in North America, found solely along rushing mountain streams. The birds actually “fly” underwater (think of penguins) in pursuit of the insects and other small animals that make up their diet.

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Eleven Mile Canyon

ElevenMileCyn-CO_LAH_6015It was cold. Really cold. The car thermometer read -3 (yes, that’s a minus sign) and the wind was howling. That’s what you get when you’re birding at 8,500 feet in the Rocky Mountains at the end of December. Despite four layers of winter clothing, knit hat plus fleece-lined hood, and gloves, I was shivering—and having a tremendous time!

Eight of us set off last Saturday morning for Eleven Mile Canyon, on the west side of Pikes Peak. It was all of 4 degrees as I pulled out of my driveway north of Colorado Springs, but it was early, the sun was out, and I figured it would warm up. So much for being optimistic.

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Everyone Likes American Robins

Robins are often considered harbingers of spring, and in some places they are, but here in Colorado they hang out year round. In fact, on the 2006 Christmas Bird Count, in the middle of a blizzard—with the thermometer registering a whopping 6 degrees—we tallied over 200 American Robins in our sector alone… and those were just the ones we could see in white-out conditions.

What spring actually brings is singing robins. For some reason, they have no sense of  decent timing, and will start in at 4 am with their cheerful cheery-o, cheery-o. The last thing I feel at that hour is cheery.

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