Ken Hall here. Or you may refer to me as the bird nut.
Spring has sprung in all its glory. We have wonderful rains, the color green has returned and lilacs are blooming. There’s no better time to be outdoors enjoying all its beauty.
It pleases me to see so many people out slow wandering the trails, with binoculars or cameras in hand. Nice and kind people who are truly interested in the beauty of nature. I have made many new friends on my wanders.
This spring is unlike any I remember with a huge influx of migratory birds, in both quantity and variety. The color yellow has returned, along with reds and blues. I have in the past two weeks photographed Western Tanagers, Bullock’s Oriole, Black-Headed Grosbeaks, Yellow-Rumped and Yellow Warblers, Goldfinch, Lesser Goldfinch, Cedar Waxwings, Wilson’s Snipe, Bushtits and Lazuli Buntings. I’ve also photographed many waterbirds: Herons, Egrets, Cormorants, Spotted Sandpipers, Yellow Legs, Wood Ducks and more.
Many of these birds are staging temporarily, then moving on to higher nesting climates. But others will nest here, leaving in the fall. The Bullock’s Oriole builds a hanging basket type of nest high in willow or cottonwood trees. They have a song much like a robin.
Yellow Warblers nest in thick brush and edges of cattails. There is nothing cuter than newly fledged Yellow Warblers.
Bushtits also build a hanging basket, but much smaller than an Oriole’s.
Some of the other birds will choose to nest here, but typically move to higher elevations. I could go on and on about the songs and habits of these birds. But a good bird book, binoculars, a camera or a birding journal make it much more enjoyable.
This month again I will emphasize keeping your distance from birds: Don’t encroach inside their comfort zone.
Watch for flashes of yellow, and have fun being outdoors. Take a child or senior citizen with you. Wheat Ridge does a wonderful job with their trail system, keeping them maintained for everyone’s enjoyment.
Ken Hall is a fourth-generation Coloradan and a self-taught naturalist.