I wanted to squeeze in at least one more field trip before the first snows, so I joined up with other members of our local Audubon chapter and headed out to Ramah State Wildlife Area. Located in Colorado’s eastern El Paso County, Ramah is surrounded by miles of shortgrass prairie. The views include cows, rolling hills, and Excel Energy’s new windmill farm. There’s a shallow valley that has been dammed to trap rain runoff in wet years.
You’ve got your binoculars in hand, ID book in one pocket, notebook and pen in another, and your resolutions to be a responsible, ethical birder firmly in place—you are ready to go birding. But, where will you go?
While birds may be found virtually anywhere, they are not evenly distributed across the landscape. When birders discover a place with lots of birds (both in numbers and variety of species) that location is called, in birder-speech, a “hotspot.”
Just as people tend to congregate in places with housing and markets or restaurants, birds have their own favorite hangouts, and for the same reasons. Birds need water, food, and shelter. Any site providing all three is bound to have great birding.