Tenth Year of Breeding Bird Atlas Completed for the Bear Creek Watershed

Western Bluebird (c) Mick Thompson

Evergreen Audubon began the Bear Creek Watershed Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA) in 2008, and like other BBA’s that are conducted world-wide we are engaged in an attempt to provide information on the distribution, abundance, habitat preference, and breeding evidence of birds in a specific region.

Dusky Grouse (c) Bill Schmoker

We have just completed our tenth year of gathering data on the local breeding bird community throughout the Bear Creek Watershed – from Mount Evans to the South Platte River. Within that vast area we have focused on 43 parcels of public land where we have looked for any signs of breeding: from singing males setting up territories, to courtship behavior, to nest building, to finding recently fledged youngsters. The 2017 season focused intensively on 14 main areas where we spent at least 10 hours of observation, and an additional 12 areas were visited more briefly.

Barrow’s Goldeneye (c) Mick Thompson

Our goal, which was largely achieved, was to have spent at least 40 hours in all 43 areas by the end of this tenth season; and to have documented that over 50% of the species recorded in each area were either probable or confirmed breeders.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (c) Mick Thompson

Breeding is confirmed when we find a used or occupied nest, when parents are seen carrying food or feeding young, when a nest is found with eggs or young, or when we see a recently fledged bird out on its own. An in-depth analysis of our data will be forthcoming later this winter, but in the meantime here’s a sampling of some of the breeding-confirmations that were made by this year’s incredible crew of volunteers.


Western Meadowlark (c) Bill Schmoker

Bear Creek Greenbelt West – Wendy Wibbens confirmed Barn Swallow, Red-winged Blackbird, and Bullock’s Oriole.

Bergen Peak SWA – Chuck Aid confirmed Williamson’s Sapsucker and Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Berrian Mountain – Rachel Hutchison and Bud Weare confirmed Warbling Vireo, Western Bluebird, and American Robin.

Birch Hill – Susan Harper and Jeanette Strom confirmed Brown Creeper.

Captain Mountain South – Larry White, Chris Pfaff, Mark Meremonte, Margaret McDole, Chuck Aid and Rob Raker confirmed Dusky Grouse, Northern Goshawk, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Lazuli Bunting (c) Mick Thompson

Captain Mtn/Lincoln Lake – Michael Kiessig and George Mayfield confirmed Barrow’s Goldeneye, Cordilleran Flycatcher, and Red Crossbill.

Chief/Squaw Mtns – Tom Ryon and Iván Mota confirmed American Three-toed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, and Hermit Thrush.

Dinosaur Ridge North – Brad Andres confirmed Western Kingbird, Canyon Wren, Green-tailed Towhee, and Lesser Goldfinch.

Elephant Butte – Barbara Jean Gard and Michael Kiessig confirmed Yellow-rumped Warbler, Western Tanager, and Chipping Sparrow.

Black-headed Grosbeak (c) Mick Thompson

Fillius Park – Inga Brennan confirmed Steller’s Jay, Townsend’s Solitaire, and Pine Siskin.

Hayden Green Mountain – Rob Raker confirmed Tree Swallow, House Wren, and Western Meadowlark.

Matthews/Winters Park – Cyndy Johnson and Brad Andres confirmed Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Virginia’s Warbler, and Lazuli Bunting.

Maxwell Falls Trail – Heather Johnson and Brad Andres confirmed Warbling Vireo, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Golden-crowned Kinglet.

Golden-crowned Kinglet (c) Mick Thompson

Mount Glennon – Michael Kiessig confirmed Violet-green Swallow, Gray Catbird, and Black-headed Grosbeak.

Mount Goliath – Chuck Aid and Rob Raker confirmed American Pipit, Wilson’s Warbler, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and Pine Grosbeak.

Snyder Mountain – Chuck Aid confirmed Broad-tailed Hummingbird, American Crow, and Golden-crowned Kinglet.


Common Raven (c) Mick Thompson

Squaw Pass Road Picnic Areas – Chuck Aid and Brad Andres confirmed Hairy Woodpecker, Clark’s Nutcracker, and Dark-eyed Junco.

Summit Lake – JoAnn Hackos, Bill Hackos, and Marilyn Rhodes confirmed Common Raven.

What a wonderful effort by our local Evergreen Audubon birders! With the 398 hours put in this year, that brings our total volunteer hours over the ten year period to 2515 hours! Thanks everyone!

Chuck Aid and Brad Andres

Author: Chuck Aid

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