The most recent addition to the Chico Basin Ranch Bird Checklist is Red Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicaria). There are only three […]
The Mountain Plover is one of only 12 bird species endemic to the western Great Plains. Does plover rhyme with […]
Swallows are common throughout the world and often nest in close proximity to humans. At Chico Basin Ranch during spring, […]
Comparing the bill lengths of the 30 species of shorebirds recorded on Chico Basin Ranch reveals an amazing difference in […]
Duke Phillips could have been a “normal” rancher. Raised in northern Mexico in a second-generation ranching family, he came of age in a world where cowboys shot coyotes to protect their calves, ranches were grazed in their entirety year-round, and cattlemen were just that–men who raised cattle. The rancher-conservationist had yet to emerge. While the tide has been changing in recent years, with more and more farmers and ranchers embracing their role as land stewards, perhaps Phillips’ most radical act has been not just to join this growing group of agricultural conservationists, but, since the very beginning, to throw the doors open and invite others to observe and participate in the project for sustainable ranching.
Of the four species of longspur, Lapland Longspur is the most abundant with a worldwide population estimated at 150,000,000 breeding over a large circumpolar range. On the Chico, they are seen on occasion in November into early December if you walk in shortgrass prairie and get lucky. Like all longspurs, their hind toe is elongated as implied in their scientific name, Calcarius laponnicus, Calarius from Latin calcar, or spur, referring to their very long hind toe. In summer they are beautiful birds, but like the other longspur species, they are dull-colored during winter months and unlike many songbirds who molt to obtain a breeding plumage, longspurs obtain their breeding plumage by a slow wearing of their feather tips.
Named for head feathers appearing during breeding season, Double-crested Cormorants were adversely affected after WWII when the use of DDT was permissible as a pesticide.
Usually a secretive eastern forest species, at least three Broad-winged Hawks were observed the first week of October on Chico Basin Ranch.
Migrating over Chico Basin Ranch.
More mountain species than normal were seen on the Chico this migration season.