I’m not a fanatical birdwatcher, but I have spent time with people who could identify half-a-dozen species in the forest around us just from their songs. Among them was David Gaines, founder of the Mono Lake Committee, and over-achieving grassroots group that helped bring about fundamental change to California water laws. Learning about Mono Lake helped me appreciate how birds fit into local, regional and global ecosystems — being mobile, avian species are the most far-ranging on Earth.
So when I wander around Summit County, I always have my eyes open and my camera ready, and autumn is a particularly good time to spot some of our fine-feathered friends. Migratory birds flow south like great living rivers, stopping at Colorado streams, lakes and reservoirs to replenish their fuel tanks for what often end up being trans-equatorial flights.
As part of its watchable wildlife program the past couple of years, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has added some new segments to a network of self-guided birding trails around the state, including some outstanding areas in northwestern Colorado featuring bald eagles, ospreys, hummingbirds and even the occasional pelican!