Polldaddy Results!

Over the last few months I have been running a poll to determine where people most enjoy hiking in areas outside of the Denver metro-area. The poll was voting on hiking destinations such as Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado Springs, Golden as well as a write in option.

The results are in.

The destination that received the most votes for favorite place to hike was…

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK!

8731272255_c8536f420e_qphoto credit: Joe Gallagher

Tied for second was Estes Park and Boulder. With honorable mention going to Colorado Springs. A big thank you to those that took the time to participate.


 

The results are not all that surprising to me. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most outstanding and breathtaking places that Colorado has to offer. It is also one of my favorite places to hike, as you may have noticed from my earlier blog featuring RMNP’s Cub Lake. Estes Park and Boulder are in the same general area as RMNP so they also offer some great hiking opportunities. And if you’ve ever taken the trails scattered throughout Colorado Springs you know about those stunning views. But to be honest, anywhere you hike in Colorado is going to provide quality and picture worthy nature time. Let’s take a moment to bask in its beauty.

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I would like to mention that I fell slightly short of  the desired number of participants for the poll. I believe lack in participation came down to a couple factors. One, I didn’t frequently enough advertise my blog and the poll. I was a bit intimidated in the beginning of this blogging experience and should have been more active in generating foot traffic to my website. Two, when I did encourage viewers, I used mobile communication as my way to connect people to the blog. When I’ve used the mobile version of this blog it doesn’t allow you to see the poll. This may have decreased the number of participants.

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How to Attract Birds to your Backyard

to For those of you who enjoy the comforts of your home but want to experience the thrills of birding, have no fear, I’ve got a solution for you! Bring the feathered friends to your own backyard by following these helpful hints.

1. Treat them with food.

16197548666_2e0066cbc0_qphoto credit: Who is looking at whom by Micolo J

Different species of birds eat different things, so it helps to offer a variety of food types. Native plants that bear seeds, berries and insects are the best and most natural way to offer food for wild birds. You can supplement that with feeders. There are many different types of feeding stations to consider such as a platform feeder for ground feeding birds, hanging feeders for perching birds and suet feeders for insect eating birds.

  • New Seeds: Black oil sunflower seeds are the best for attracting songbirds to your yard, but other types of seed such as safflower, millet and nyjer will attract different species that aren’t as fond of sunflower seeds. Try adding new seeds to existing mixes or use new seeds alone to see which birds show a preference.
  • Suet: If you don’t already offer suet in your backyard, you’re missing out on attracting woodpeckers, nuthatches and other fat-loving birds. Try different blends or make your own bird suet recipe for the birds you wish to attract.
  • Nuts: Jays, magpies and titmice love peanuts and peanut butter. Offer whole nuts or shelled nuts as part of your backyard buffet to attract these species, or be sure your seed and suet types also include bits of nuts.
  • Fruit: Many birds will sample fruit at your feeders, and different types of fruit are favorite choices for feeding orioles. Fruit chunks such as oranges, apples, melons and grapes are easy to add to platform feeders and will attract many unusual birds.
  • Nectar: If you’ve never tried feeding hummingbirds, putting up a hummingbird feeder can bring a colorful surprise to your yard. Orioles, woodpeckers and other species will also sample from nectar feeders, depending on the size and design.
  • Natural Foods: Don’t forget to take advantage of nature’s bounty, and add seed-bearing flowers, berry bushes, nectar-rich flowers and other natural foods to your landscaping. Many birds that may be wary about unknown feeders will happily forage among familiar plants. At the same time, minimize or eliminate insecticide use to be sure insectivorous birds have plenty to eat.

2. Add some splish and splash!

7094963787_0097945c39_qphoto credit: “splish splash … taking a bath” by roger smith

Birds certainly need water, but they may not always know you have made it available. This is especially true of spring and fall migrants who are just passing through. The best way to “advertise” is to let them hear the water.

  • Moving Water: Instead of just a static bird bath, add a dripper, mister or bubbler to create motion. Birds will see and hear the water from great distances, and many curious species will come to investigate.
  • Multiple Water Sources: A single bird bath can be very crowded, particularly if it is the only water source for a large area. Add additional bird baths to attract more birds, or add different water features such as a mister in a shady grove or a ground bubbler near shrubbery to attract a wider range of birds.
  • Winter Water: Birds can get their water from snow and ice in the winter, but a liquid water source will attract dozens of birds in the cold. Add a simple heater attachment to your existing bird bath or upgrade to a heated bird bath to attract winter birds with a warm drink.

3. Create a cozy home and sanctuary.

8883858219_d10af1d803_qphoto credit: Tree Swallow by Keith Reed

It is a real treat for backyard birders to observe mating and nesting habits of their favorite backyard species. Offering suitable nesting areas will increase the chances that new birds will find your yard attractive.

  • Landscaping: Opt for bird-friendly landscaping that features native plants in tiers or clumps to provide familiar shelter for your regional birds. Add new plants to an unused area of your yard, or increase the density of existing plants for more secure cover. To make the plants do double duty, choose trees and shrubs with seeds and fruits the birds will enjoy as a natural food source.
  • Brush Pile: Build a brush pile in a secluded section of your yard to offer instant shelter to birds. Small birds such as sparrows and finches will eagerly flock to a brush pile when they feel threatened.
  • Roost Boxes: Adding a roost box to your yard will give backyard birds a safe, warm place to settle on cold winter evenings. Many small birds, including bluebirds, chickadees and wrens will readily use roost boxes.
  • Bird Houses: Add a new bird house designed for a specific species to your yard. Check the size of the entrance hole and the other dimensions of the house to be sure it is suitable for the birds you wish to attract.
  • Nesting Material: Offer nesting material for your birds to take when constructing their nests. Some birds will prefer weed fluff from dead flowers, while others will take advantage of grass clippings that are left on the lawn. You can purchase balls or squares of cotton fluff and lint that hummingbirds and goldfinches prefer, or you can save hair, pet fur and small pieces of string to offer in a suet cage nester.

Birding Slideshow- Lake Ladora

 

 

Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge offers another great opportunity to enjoy a birding adventure in the Denver metro-area. Rocky Mountain Arsenal is a 15,988-acre National Wildlife Refuge located near Commerce City, Colorado. The complex offers visitors a chance to reconnect with nature and experience the all different wildlife species that take refuge here. For more information please visit their website.

Late this winter I made time to visit the refuge and take advantage of the many walking trails that are available. Lake Ladora was beautiful with the thinning frozen water and clear skies above.

During the walk I captured some of the birds I saw along the way. The highlight of the trip was spotting a Great Blue Heron, which was very unusual for the time of year. Please take a moment to follow the link below to enjoy the slideshow of pictures.

click here: Birding at Lake Ladora