CALLING ALL NATURE LOVERS: Help us reach 20,000 observations!

We are quickly approaching 20,000 observations, with less than 200 to go! This is a big milestone and a huge accomplishment -- and we couldn't have done it without the help of over 1,380 observers.

We need your help reaching this goal! Even during chilly winter months with snow on the ground, there are plenty of observations to be made in state parks around Colorado.

Plants: My personal favorite at this time of year is winter botany. The conifers, of course, become hard to miss in the wintertime, when other trees and shrubs have dropped their leaves. Look for Rocky Mountain juniper, ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and spruce in the foothills and mountains. Learning to identify deciduous trees like Rocky Mountain maple and shrubs like Gambel oak can help get to know these plants in a new way. In rocky places, you might find mountain mahogany with the charismatic curli-que seeds still attached.

Birds: Barr Lake State Park has the largest concentration of wintering Bald Eagles in the state, with hundreds of eagles migrating through the park from mid-December through February. Winter is an excellent time to look for ducks! When the days begin to shorten and the temperature cools down, look for Gadwalls, American Wigeons, Green-winged Teal, Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, and Hooded Mergansers. Some birds, like Rough-legged Hawks, spend the summer in the Arctic and can be spotted in Colorado in the winter. Some high altitude birds, like Dark-eyed Juncos and Rosy Finches, spend their summers in the mountains and move to lower elevations in the winter to avoid severe weather. And of course, you can find Robins, Nuthatches, Black-Capped Chickadees, and Great Horned Owls in Colorado year-round.

Wildlife: As the snow deepens in the high country, animals move to wintering grounds i​​​​​​n lower elevations and valley bottoms, including moose, deer, and elk. At higher elevations, you might be lucky enough to spot a bighorn sheep or a rare glimpse of a bobcat or cougar.

Remember: Winter is a stressful time for wildlife - please maintain distance at all times!
Wildlife viewing ethics are particularly important during the winter. In winter, animals are under stress from cold and reduced food supplies; being chased may cause them to lose critical fat—which may threaten their survival. Maintain distance and do not cause animals to change their behavior.

Read some Tips for Winter Wildlife Viewing from CPW:

Posted by coparksandwildlife coparksandwildlife, February 05, 2020 21:18


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