Finally spring has returned. If you are a bird lover it is the Holy Grail of seasons. It is a time when many of our bird friends return: some for short periods of time, many to nest and raise young, till their exodus comes in fall.
Most Front Range parks, lakes and creeks will be a concert of singing colorful birds. We are blessed to have one of the best natural bird habitats in the state.
Eagles, owls and hawks have already begun sitting eggs. Smaller birds are busy competing for mates, nesting sites and territory. It is quite entertaining to stand along Clear Creek and watch their antics, or listen to their spring songs.
April and May are the best months for bird nuts, or just nature lovers. It is a season of renewal. We can expect to see catbirds, house wrens, yellow warblers, yellow-rumped warblers, yellow throats, Bullock’s orioles, western tanagers, orchard orioles, cinnamon and blue-winged teal, ruby crowned kinglets, Say’s phoebes, western wood pewees, various flycatchers, and four different species of swallows. Whew! That wore me out.
I’m sure I missed something, but it’s a good start and incentive to get out there and stare up into the trees.
I like to start at Youngfield, and some days west to McIntyre. The highway noise can be quite loud, but once west it becomes quite calm. Watch the creek for baby waterfowl. Watch the low shrubs, a favorite for warblers. Be sure and check the ponds on the left for many types of water birds.
Or I will head east from Youngfield, and basically freelance my travels by the songs. Honestly you will hear them before you ever see them. I can easily spend three hours and not travel more than 1.5 miles. Traveling east to Kipling and back is a nice day’s wander.
Please be respectful of our feathered friends. Give them plenty of space. Crowding will force them off their nest. Good binoculars or zoom lens cameras are most helpful. If you are new to birding, ask questions of the many folks, such as myself, carrying cameras and bumping into trees. Please follow park rules, keeping dogs on leash.
Have fun and enjoy the best time of the year to be outdoors.
Ken Hall is a fourth-generation Coloradan and a self-taught naturalist.