Breeding Bird Census

Today, I took part in a breeding bird census at South Platte Park, in Littleton, Colorado.  On this warm, sunny morning, my group surveyed a stretch of riparian woodlands east of the river.

Throughout our three hour period of observation, birds were both numerous and vocal.  Among the more abundant species were house wrens, American robins, yellow warblers, tree and cliff swallows, mourning doves and common grackles; cedar waxwings, western wood pewees, gray catbirds. northern flickers, downy woodpeckers, house finches, song sparrows, red-winged blackbirds and brown-headed cowbirds were also well represented.  Less numerous were red-tailed hawks, collared doves, northern orioles, barn swallows, American goldfinches, Say's phoebes, blue jays, black-capped chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches and yellow-breasted chats; mallards, belted kingfishers, a great blue heron and a juvenile black-crowned night heron were also observed on the river.

Combined with data from other groups and from counts on other early summer days, refuge biologists will develop a breeding bird census for South Platte Park.  In turn, this information will be compared with data from previous years, revealing trends that might result from changes in the regional climate or ecology.  Taking part in such counts is thus both an enjoyable and a rewarding experience.