Nature & Wildlife
Pg 10 - The Sunshine Express
Summer Birding Tips
Colorado hiking, biking, boating, camping, fish-
ing and hunting, all have something in com-
mon, they are a gateway to viewing wildlife,
including some 400 species of birds.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife recognizes summer
as an ideal time to try birding in State Parks
and Wildlife areas in a variety of habitats on the
plains, in the mountains or near wetlands.
CPW offers tips useful for both first-time and
Thirty-year birding enthusiast and Mueller State
Park staffer Linda Groat, who has led countless
wildlife watchers to diverse areas of the country
in search of birds, says the first step is taking
the time to get outdoors and slow down. ¡°Don¡¯t
be in a rush, take the time to listen and watch,
just stop and be still, sit a few minutes,¡± said
But birders won¡¯t have to wait long if they are
outdoors during times of high bird activity.
Active birds are usually present in the morn-
ing and at dusk when they are finding food to
¡°As with most organisms, conserving current
energy stores is important,¡± said CPW¡¯s Bird
Conservation Coordinator David Klute. ¡°When
birds forage in the early morning and at dusk
they expend less energy than they would dur-
ing hot summer days when they may be resting
or tending young during the most extreme
Factors like elevation and weather may affect
when birds are most active too according to
Klute. ¡°Breeding season, usually late spring to
early summer, is when birds tend to be active
throughout the day,¡± adds Klute. ¡°When looking
Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers free park en-
trance to active-duty military and veterans during
the month of August as a result of House Bill 15-
1045, signed into law May 27, 2015.
¡°We invite Colorado¡¯s military community to enjoy
all of the beauty and recreational opportunities
Colorado State Parks have to offer,¡± said CPW
Parks & Recreation Asst. Director, Margaret Taylor.
CPW encourages eligible individuals to get their
pass in advance at any CPW office or state park to
avoid delays at the gate on a planned recreation
¡°Archery, boating, rock climbing, hiking, geocach-
ing and wildlife-viewing, along with well-equipped
nature centers and picnic areas are just a few of
the options for service members to relax and re-
charge,¡± added Taylor.
See all the options in the 2015 Parks Guide.
Veterans and active-duty military personnel (in-
cluding active duty, Reserve and National Guard
members) can obtain a military hang-tag pass
valid for free admission during the month of Au-
gust, by showing the CPW parks staff one of the
-Active or retired military identification, -DD
Form 2765, -DD214, -Veterans Affairs medi-
cal card, -A current Colorado Driver¡¯s License
or state issued identification card with the
veteran seal printed on it.
Once eligibility is confirmed, the military hang-tag
pass is issued to the service member. The hang-
tag pass is valid when hung from the rear-view
mirror of a service member occupied vehicle, and
admits all passengers of that vehicle.
Park entrance fees are waived for vet-
erans and active-duty personnel in the
month of August, but activities like fishing
and camping will still require a valid li-
cense and permit. Go to: cpw.state.co.us/
default.aspx to locate a state park near
This year $150,000 was appropriated from
general funds to mitigate lost revenue.
Free access for veterans and active duty
military is slated to continue every year in
which general fund dollars are appropri-
ated by the General Assembly.
For more info see the Military/Veterans
August Pass 2015 Fact Sheet. Feel free to
distribute this fact sheet at Vet Centers,
Morale, Welfare & Recreation and Veter-
an¡¯s Affairs offices around the state.
CPW is an enterprise agency, relying
primarily on license sales, state parks
fees and registration fees to support its
operations, including: 42 state parks and
more than 350 wildlife areas covering ap-
proximately 900,000 acres, management
of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching,
camping, motorized and non-motorized
trails, boating and outdoor education.
CPW¡¯s work contributes approximately $6
billion in total economic impact annually
Free Parks Entry For Veterans
for birds outside of breeding season, locat-
ing a specific birds¡¯ ideal habitat increases
the likelihood of catching a glimpse of
Some birders use bird identification guides
to determine what bird they want to see,
while others acquaint themselves with what
habitat birds prefer. Most birders enjoy the
challenge either way.
¡°When you see a bird, try to get a snapshot
in your mind, where are the patches of
color, what is the size and shape, is it long
and pointy or short and fat,¡± recommends
Groat. ¡°Visual characteristics can help you
identify the bird, but habitat can be useful
Habitat, where a bird lives, is part of an
ecosystem, made up of living and nonliving
matter. In Colorado, eight ecosystems are
identified by Colorado Birding Trail and
Denver Museum of Natural History.
Klute, who works with a variety of wildlife part-
ners to monitor and ensure sufficient habitat
for specific species of birds, says the amount of
moisture, types of plants, trees and shrubs, as
well as temperature and presence of other wild-
life all provide clues about a given habitat.
¡°Distinguishing between a Sage Shrubland
and Juniper Woodland can help birders deduce
what species are likely in the area and provide
a starting point when referencing field guides
by Audubon, Sibley and Peterson, websites like
BIRDNET, cobirds.org, and others, for further
identification,¡± added Klute.
Bird posture and voice can help identify a spe-
cies, too. A variety of applications are available
for download on smartphones and desktops that
allow a birder to learn bird songs or help iden-
tify a song recorded in the field.
CPW reminds every wildlife watcher to re-
spect animals and never chase, feed, handle or
disturb wildlife. Back off if the animal changes
behavior while viewing and always leave pets at
Also, as with any outdoor activity, dress appro-
priately and be prepared for changing weather
conditions. Protect against insects, bring water
and use a trail map to make sure of the distance
back to shelter.
Learn more at: cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/
Locate an upcoming event at a park near you
See also 2015 Parks Guide and Park Finder.
CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily
on license sales, state parks fees and registra-
tion fees to support its operations, including:
42 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas
covering approximately 900,000 acres, manage-
ment of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching,
camping, motorized and non-motorized trails,
boating and outdoor education. CPW¡¯s work con-
tributes approximately $6 billion in total economic
impact annually throughout Colorado.
For more news about Colorado Parks and Wildlife
go to: cpw.state.co.us