Chico Basin Ranch is home to a variety of valuable ecosystems, including riparian wetland and wooded areas that act as a haven for migratory and resident birds. Each spring and fall, we work with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to operate a banding station on the ranch to monitor birds in our region.
The Chico is one of the most diverse birding sites in Colorado, with over 330 different species–some of which are rarely seen in Colorado–recorded across the ranch. The banding station offers a unique opportunity for students and the general public to see birds up close and learn about conservation and migration.
As part of our conservation efforts, Ranchlands recently partnered with Colorado Parks and Wildlife in coordination with the Bird Conservancy to initiate a wetland restoration project that involved planting native shrub species to provide good natural habitats for birds.
Most bird species at the Chico are migratory, meaning they’re just passing through. There are two types of migratory birds: summer residents and winter residents. Summer residents move north in the spring, nest during the summer, and return south in the fall, while winter residents head south for the winter. Our banding station is open during the fall and spring to catch these migratory birds at their peak.
Bird banding is important for many reasons. It allows us to get an idea of migration routes, life spans, population rates and overall health of both the birds and the ecosystems they inhabit. An influx of mountain species, for example, could indicate a lack of food in neighboring mountain regions. By banding birds, we are able to collect data over time that our banders can share internationally, furthering conservation efforts for birds and beyond.