Western Colorado Again

I have been thinking of a birding trip ever since we got back from London. The options are endless if you go with a birding tour. But as I have previously stated I like to bird one smaller area more intensely and find my own birds. Tours basically keep moving around needing to add to the “list” and they have guides to point out birds. So tours are out for now.

After eliminating a tour company and thinking where I want to bird I realized travel for travel’s sake isn’t me.

I would like my travels to somehow help birds for the long-term.

And I mean more than financially aiding them as tours do by giving back to the local economy.

I thought about going somewhere warm to help on a CBC. Maybe Panama or Costa Rica. But that wouldn’t be fair to the people running the count since I would be a burden due to my lack of local knowledge.

Then maybe helping on CBC in a new U.S. location. New Mexico had several dates which worked and there are direct flights from Indy to Albuquerque. I could fly out on a Saturday, be back late week, and still help on the Johnson County CBC. But then I started having mixed feelings about CBC’s.

Since I like to bird local I started thinking how I could use that concept and help out birds. I’m not into seeing a bird one time and moving on. By repeated birding of the same area I could “learn” the local birds. And provide variety.

As shown on the map in the intro of The Sibley Guide to Birds there are three main birding areas in the U.S. I think by birding locally in those three areas I can see 400+ species annually. And learn those birds to boot. The areas would be Indiana for Eastern species, Western Colorado for Interior West species, and Southern California on my annual work trip to cover Pacific and Southwestern species.

The three yellow rectangles are the areas I plan on birding annually. From The Sibley Guide to Birds.

I have birded Western CO, specifically the Grand Junction area, and enjoyed it. I have previously stated my positive thoughts on the North American Breeding Bird Survey (NA BBS). A quick look on the Birding Bird Survey page and I saw two BBS routes open in the Grand Junction area. By running those routes I could take a trip each June, do the BBS routes, and still get in personal birding. Plus help on the main U.S. birding survey.

Western Colorado
As seen from the NA BBS open routes page there are two routes open in Western Colorado.

I don’t know if the Colorado/U.S. BBS coordinators will sign me up since I’m from out-of-state but the least I can do is try.

Now the last piece of the puzzle is to tie down something in the tropics that would help monitor our Midwest endangered species on their winter grounds. Still haven’t figured that out yet.

And if I feel I’m missing something by only birding certain areas I’ll have family vacations to places far and wide to see more “exotic” species.

So it was back to Western Colorado last week to check out the potential BBS routes north of Grand Junction. Plus get in local winter birding.

Which all lead to good birding stories which I’ll be sharing over the next few weeks.

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