Though it occurred greater than 40 years in the past, Ann Bonnell can pinpoint the second she determined it will be intriguing to pursue birding as a pastime. She had been mountaineering in Pence Park close to Evergreen when she noticed a Blue Grosbeak, an attention-grabbing hen with electrical blue coloring and a silver beak.
“That may be a stunning hen,” Bonnell, 83, mentioned this week. “And I assumed, ‘Man, it could be fascinating to study extra about birds.’ “
That was within the late Nineteen Seventies. Since then, she has realized a lot about birds that the native Audubon Society typically refers callers to her when individuals are making an attempt to establish a hen.
“With our irritating lives, birding is a superb factor to do,” mentioned Bonnell, who lives in Littleton. “I take pleasure in watching their habits and listening to their songs. And it forces me to get outdoors. I all the time inform individuals birding is concerning the least expensive pastime you may have. You don’t even actually need a pair of binoculars, or you may get an affordable pair. I began out with a $25 pair of binoculars and used these for years. I didn’t purchase an costly pair till about three years in the past.”
Right here is Bonnell’s listing of the ten most fascinating birds alongside the Entrance Vary which might be widespread sufficient to identify. (For reference, Bonnell recommends the “Kaufman Subject Information to Birds of North America” by Kenn Kaufman, the “Sibley Subject Information to Birds of Western North America” by David Sibley, and the web site All About Birds, created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.)
Some birds change colours with the seasons, and the American Goldfinch is one in every of them. Proper now the males are sensible yellow with black on high of the pinnacle, whereas the females are olive-colored. “The American Goldfinch is simply stunning,” Bonnell mentioned. “They’re a neat little hen. They’ll simply pose for you. They’ll get on a department and go searching like, ‘See how stunning I’m?’ In case you have feeders, they like thistle seeds, and so they’ll take shelled sunflower seeds.”
This is without doubt one of the massive birds of prey that soars overhead on the lookout for meals, and is without doubt one of the most typical hawks in North America. It’s light-colored beneath, and the shoulders of the wings are darkish. It additionally has a dash-and-comma” sample on the vanguard of the wings (referred to as that as a result of they’re within the form of punctuation marks). “They’re beginning to nest within the metropolis,” Bonnell mentioned. “They will discover bunny rabbits and rodents. Alleys have rubbish and rodents, to allow them to make a superb residing within the metropolis.”
This hawk is a gunmetal coloration with a flat high to its head, and it’s light-colored beneath. Just like the Purple-tailed Hawk, it has moved into town, and it has change into the nemesis of the little birds in your yard as a result of it would eat them. “Once you see birds in your yard, in the event that they’re consuming one thing, they’ll take a pair bites and so they look throughout, as a result of they’re awaiting Cooper’s Hawks,” Bonnell mentioned. “He’ll come and snap them up in his talons, decide the feathers off and eat the entire thing. My birds are very vigilant. They don’t even take a chunk till they appear round.” Cooper’s Hawks additionally will eat rodents and small snakes.
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This man is type of darkish brown, virtually black on the again with white spots on its wings. Beneath it’s a shade of orange, and it’s concerning the measurement of a robin. “That’s a very neat little hen,” Bonnell mentioned. “The male is darker than the feminine, however they’re coloured equally. It’s a floor feeder. You very seldom would see it up in a tree. It skulks round, so lots of people miss them. They disguise below your bushes.”
Nice Horned Owl
You may hear it calling at night time, Bonnell mentioned, mimicking the sound as “Hoo, hoo-hoo. Hoo, hoo-hoo.” Seeing them is one other matter. They wish to perch on branches subsequent to the trunk of timber, in order that they mix in with the trunk. “It’s actually exhausting as a result of they’re like ventriloquists,” Bonnell mentioned. “It’s exhausting to determine the place that sound is coming from. You simply need to look the place a department comes out from the trunk. You don’t get an actual silhouette. All you’ll see is eyes.” They feed on rabbits and mice, largely at midnight or late within the day and early within the morning. “They’ve actually good listening to,” Bonnell mentioned. “They are saying they’ll hear a mouse rustling in leaves from a pair hundred ft. Then they’ll simply pounce on a bunch of leaves and give you a mouse. And they’re lazy. They don’t construct their very own nests. They use different hen nests.” By the way in which, these “horns” are literally simply feathers.
These are stunning brown woodpeckers, grey on the again with lengthy payments, speckles on the breast and the male has a purple streak subsequent to the invoice. They will, nevertheless, be extraordinarily annoying. “They love your downspout after they’re doing their courtship presently of yr,” Bonnell mentioned. “They are going to sit on the sting of the gutter and bang on the steel. It can rile your complete home. Throughout the summer season, you’ll hear this peck-peck-peck, peck-peck-peck. They’re going alongside below the eves, getting spiders.”
Typically present in grassy fields, on fence posts alongside roads or often sitting on yard fences, the Western Meadowlark is gentle brown on the again, the colour of useless grass, and yellow on the entrance with a black V on its breast and a protracted invoice. “It has an attractive track,” Bonnell mentioned. “The decision is type of a chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp, tweedle-eee-lee.” The Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes it as a “buoyant, flutelike melody.”
Smaller than a pigeon, the Mourning Dove is darkish grey with darker spots on its wings. Their name can sound a little bit unhappy, therefore the title. Lately an enemy has invaded, the Eurasian Collared-Dove. “It’s extra the dimensions of a pigeon,” Bonnell mentioned. “It has a black line across the neck. They’re involved that they might run the Mourning Dove out. Mourning Doves transfer in pairs so much, whereas the Collared-Doves are often by themselves.” Bonnell says when she finds a pile of feathers in her yard from a Cooper’s Hawk assault and tries to infer what hen acquired eaten, it’s often the Eurasian Collared-Dove as a result of they aren’t native to the realm, in order that they aren’t looking out for Cooper’s Hawks the way in which native birds are.
These are huge black and white birds, and so they’re noisy. “They take little hen eggs, and generally they’ll eat a child hen if it’s sufficiently small,” Bonnell mentioned. Like all crows, they’re very clever. “They’ve finished all types of experiments with them, the place they’ll work out how one can get meals. They’ll determine it out.” Magpies adopted searching events of Plains Indians, feeding on leftovers from bison kills, in keeping with the Cornell Lab, and Lewis and Clark reported that magpies entered their tents to steal meals.
These tiny, hyperactive grey birds arrived within the Denver space a number of years in the past. “They don’t sit nonetheless,” Bonnell mentioned. “They hop right here and hop there. They get on branches and eat any type of scale (an insect rising on the tree) or any stuff that’s consuming in your branches, and aphids. In addition they like suet, if in case you have a feeder. They are going to are available in bunches. Generally there will likely be 10 of them. They by no means sit nonetheless, so it’s not possible to get your binoculars on them.”
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