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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Colorado chickens: First birding trip after 17 months (1 Viewer)

madpitta

Well-known member
My last traveling trip was to Guyana in Oct 2019. I had great plans for 2020 and then the pandemic happened. By the time 2021 rolled in, I had a choice - lose my mind or go birding somewhere other than my @#$% backyard. My criteria was that the trip had to be safe and should not be too far away because I dreaded wearing a mask and face shield for more than a couple hours on the flight. So the choice became easy - find chickens in Colorado, a must-do for any world birder and only 2 hours away from San Francisco. I was a bit short of time so I decided to do only the western half of the state, which would get me 5 chickens in 5 days and the much-desired Rosy Finches (all 3 species). I hit all my targets and also got to see other great species and wonderful scenery.

Detailed trip report with pictures, map and diary in link below. Enjoy!

https://www.cloudbirders.com/be/download?filename=BARUAH_Colorado_04_2021.pdf
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
Beautiful photos and a great report, it reminded me how amazed I was when I opened my first field guide and saw the descriptions of these birds. I haven't been able to see any of them, but this report definitely grabbed my attention to make a trip sooner rather than later.
 

madpitta

Well-known member
Beautiful photos and a great report, it reminded me how amazed I was when I opened my first field guide and saw the descriptions of these birds. I haven't been able to see any of them, but this report definitely grabbed my attention to make a trip sooner rather than later.

Sooner the better. It should not have taken me so long to get there. Note that among the 7, the Lesser Prairie Chicken & Gunnison Sage Grouse are in serious trouble. The Lesser Prairie Chicken is almost extinct in CO and now you have to go to private ranches in extreme west Kansas to see them reliably. I intend to do that in a long weekend next April. The displays are thoroughly enjoyable and that alone makes this trip a must-do for any birder.
 

madpitta

Well-known member
A nice report on what sounds like some tough, but productive winter birding. Thanks for posting.

Mike
Yes its not a very easy trip. Plenty of driving required and very early mornings. It can be a little less hectic than my trip but of course someone still has to drive (average 5 hours daily) and you have to keep up with the cold, wind, snow and generally unpredictable weather (although I got a bit lucky there as I didn't encounter snowstorms and road closures).
 

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
Neat report.

I did the chicken tour in 2007. Even then, we had to go to Kansas for the Lesser Prairie Chicken.

We also went a little later in the month, so no snow issues.
 

madpitta

Well-known member
Neat report.

I did the chicken tour in 2007. Even then, we had to go to Kansas for the Lesser Prairie Chicken.

We also went a little later in the month, so no snow issues.
Thanks. Lesser Prairie Chicken have always been reliable in west Kansas. However there were a few reliable leks even in south east CO - especially near Lamar and these were used by tour companies until a 2016 I think. The last 7 years have been especially bad afaik (although conservation efforts have begun to shown some improvement in last two years).
 
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Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Great Report! I lived in Wyoming for a decent chunk of time, and managed to get one or another of the native grouse at some point (mostly outside of breeding season), although I still need White-tailed Ptarmigan and Lesser Prairie Chicken. My experience with Dusky Grouse at Gunnison is practically identical...they are ridiculously tame there in a manner I haven't seen with other grouse, even outside their breeding season.
 

madpitta

Well-known member
Great Report! I lived in Wyoming for a decent chunk of time, and managed to get one or another of the native grouse at some point (mostly outside of breeding season), although I still need White-tailed Ptarmigan and Lesser Prairie Chicken. My experience with Dusky Grouse at Gunnison is practically identical...they are ridiculously tame there in a manner I haven't seen with other grouse, even outside their breeding season.
Yeah the DUGR are bold and comical, although I did not know it at that time. They are not common so I was not expecting them to be pecking at cars and humans. I have a feeling testosterone might have something to do with these ill advised behaviors. The individual I encountered wasn't pay much attention to me and he was booming frequently, probably sensed the presence of females or other males nearby.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Yeah the DUGR are bold and comical, although I did not know it at that time. They are not common so I was not expecting them to be pecking at cars and humans. I have a feeling testosterone might have something to do with these ill advised behaviors. The individual I encountered wasn't pay much attention to me and he was booming frequently, probably sensed the presence of females or other males nearby.
Oddly enough, my nearly tame bird was a female, well past breeding season.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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