A Day in the Life of a Field Technician

By | IMBCR, Science | No Comments

There are always eyes reflecting back in the beam of my headlamp. Usually, it is deer or elk, their silhouettes looking vaguely alien because of their large ears. Other times, it is a Common Poorwill that sits on the trail, eyes reflecting red, and flutters up in a panic when I walk too close. A handful of times it has been a bear, that crashes away through the undergrowth once it catches a whiff of this unwashed field tech and vanishes astonishingly quickly for an animal so large…

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A Neighbor Dispute Gone Right

By | Land Stewardship, Stewardship | No Comments

You know the old phrase: Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over. Over the two years that I’ve now been in the San Luis Valley (SLV) of Colorado, I’ve heard a lot of stories that recall that phrase. Stories of family members who no longer speak due to disagreements irrigation strategies, landowners who’ve been shot by trespassers hoping to steal water under cover of night, ranchers on their fifth year of a water court case due to a neighbor dispute. This story, however, is not one of those.

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The Wildlife is in the Details

By | Stewardship | No Comments

I stop what I’m doing for a moment and look up to watch a pair of circling Red-tailed Hawks.  They’re smugly indifferent to my work, but their presence makes it go a little faster all the same. With the Western Meadowlarks, Lark Buntings, and Cassin’s Sparrows as a soundtrack, it’s a simply beautiful day to be outside. 

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The Magic of our Environmental Learning Center

By | Bird-friendly Living, Education | No Comments

Flowers are blooming, birds are singing and kids are learning! The Environmental Learning Center (ELC)  at Bird Conservancy of the Rockies has become a place of respite and refueling for both people and nature. Situated on the northwest shore of Barr Lake State Park where the cottonwoods grow tall is our outdoor learning center that provides a unique space for all people to visit and learn about the local ecosystem and all it has to offer.

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Inspiring Future Conservationists, One Bluebird Box at a Time

By | Education, Stewardship | No Comments

One of my favorite quotes by Aldo Leopold in his book, A Sand County Almanac. A classic read for any upcoming wildlife biologist, nature-lover, or outdoors person. This quote reminds me of the well-known saying “leave it better than you found it”. A saying that had been engrained in me ever since I was just a kid playing in the river behind my house. I am fortunate that I grew up as an “outdoor kid”.

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Unmasking the Long-distance Migration of Flammulated Owls

By | Partners, Science | No Comments

By my students’ calculations, we had spent over 50 hours trying to capture this particular Flammulated Owl, dating back two summers. Make no mistake—there have been many challenging owls to capture over the course of this 40-year demographic study, but this owl had drawn extra attention from the nine students working with me that summer, with its Houdini-esque tactics for evading capture at a nest cavity high in a quaking aspen.

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