Thanks to all of you who have visited our new store.
Pepper, our Labrador Retriever says Hi! Here is our
first Newsletter named The Meadowlark Messenger
after our logo. Please let us know how we can
Tom & Diane Bush.
|The Grand? Opening of FRBC
Hello to everyone who has visited our store so far
in it's infant first four months. Diane and I have been
overwhelmed by the tremendous positive response
the community has given us since October 20th when
we officially opened the doors for business. We
certainly appreciate everyone's patience as we put
together all the necessary pieces of a backyard
nature store. Hopefully you didn't mind some blurry
eyes helping you with birding and nature issues as we
stayed many nights late into the wee hours painting
and building out store displays. Our son John added
his expertise with computer databases and power
tools. He was a godsend. His extensive knowledge
and creative mind eased our initial entry into the
The "grand" in our opening may be somewhat of an
understatement in terms of hoopla but it sure was a
big step for this ma and pa! Our goal is to see all our
customers come in happy and leave happy. Hopefully
we can provide the product, or service you desire,
even if it is only to answer a question or share an
We will try to stock as much American made
products as possible. To that end we are fortunate
to have many Colorado and local suppliers as
vendors. Additionally we support a growing number of
extraordinary local artists and craftsmen who supply
us with fine gift and accessory items. I think you will
find exceptional value at The Front Range Birding
Company and have the personal satisfaction of
knowing that much of what is spent at our store
stays in our community.
To show our gratitude to you, our valued customer,
in recognition of National Bird Feeding Month, we will
offer 20% off all birdseed and suet during the month
of February. Thanks again and see you on the porch.
Tom and Diane Bush - Owner/Operators
Pepper - Top Bird Dog and Consultant
|Focus On Goldfinches (the wild canary)
This issue our wild bird of interest on the Front Range
is the Goldfinch. In Colorado we have both American
Goldfinches and Lesser Goldfinches. The American
Goldfinch is the larger of the two and generally stays
with us throughout the winter. The smaller Lesser
Goldfinch will generally migrate down slope during the
winter months. During the winter months both types
shed their bright yellow plumage and sport an almost
tan color. Their genus name, Caruelis, is from the
Latin word caruus, which means "thistle." Not
surprising, the Goldfinch main diet is thistle and they
even use thistledown to line their nest. They
are "clingers" and have the ability to hang upside
down as they feed on wildflowers and drooping
sunflowers. Because of their unique upside down
feeding habits, a special tube feeder has been
invented for their exclusive use. The "upside down
finch feeder" helps segregate the Goldfinch from the
more aggressive House Finch that will not feed upside
down. Goldfinches prefer forest edge and open space
habitats. Flora consisting of trees and high shrubs are
favorite cover for them. There they build nests 4 to
10 feet above the ground.
Goldfinches breed in mid to late summer when thistle
and other seed sources are plentiful. They lay about
5 pale blue or green eggs that hatch in about 12
days. The chicks fledge about 12 days later.
Goldfinches can live quite a long time. The oldest
recorded banded American Goldfinch recaptured from
the wild lived 11 years 7 months. They are found
across North America and are the state bird of New
Jersey, Iowa, and Washington.
If you provide some bushy habitat, a water source,
and a thistle feeder in your backyard, you should be
able to enjoy the color, song, and antics Goldfinches
will bring. Better yet, grab a pair of binoculars and
head out to one of the many great birding areas
around Denver. You won't be disappointed!
Check out our great Goldfinch products:
The Droll Yankee Finch Flocker,
the Perky Pet Upside Down Goldfinch Feeder,
the Marsh Country Tube & Sock Thistle
Nyjer & Superfinch seeds in Jugs.
Also you can help out the environment by bringing in
any clean 1-gallon milk jug and we will fill it up for
you at a great saving! You save money and the
landfills get a break.
|Orchard Mason (the gentle) Bee
Many of you have noticed our Mason Bee Exhibit. It
has generated quite a bit of curiosity. As you may
already know, Diane and I are beekeepers and have
six hives that we extract local raw honey from. This
honey is quite delicious and it is available while
supplies last in the store. Our honey is made by the
European Honey Bee, which is a social insect that is
not native to North America. Lately the European
Honeybee has been besieged by several Asian
parasites that have all but eradicated them from the
wild. Because of their plight, interest has grown in
agricultural circles to use native bees, and Orchard
Mason Bees in particular, as crop pollinators.
I find that Mason Bees will give you great joy in
observing them pollinate your fruit trees and Spring
garden plants. If you have children or grandchildren
that visit, they will also be fascinated as you
introduce them to Mason Bees and their life cycle.
They are native to North America, non aggressive,
and gentle. The Mason Bee will not sting unless you
go to the extra trouble of squeezing it in your hand.
Even then it is not much more than a mosquito bite.
This makes them a great way help educate young
people and adults on the joys of nature as you
observe them up close and personal.
While they are only a solitary bee and do not produce
surplus honey for human consumption, the benefits
they provide are invaluable. They are extremely
efficient pollinators for your garden. A respect for
wildlife is generated that transcends to how we
interact with one another. I think they are a great
way to find common ground between adults and
young people as kids find them fascinating. They can
even be used for school or Scouting education
Come in and look over our native Mason Bee
products. We even have live bees available! We can
help you get started with establishing an Orchard
Mason Bee colony. It's very easy; the bees do all the
work while you sit back, relax, and enjoy their
industrious contributions to your backyard garden. If
you are a procrastinator though, remember
they "wake up" in early Spring (mid-March). You will
need to get them while supplies last prior to their
Spring "coming out!"
|The Day Tripper by Caroline Hancock
Anyone can be a birder. It doesn't have to cost a lot
of money or require you to travel long distances.
Lucky for us living here in Colorado, we have many
interesting bird species right here in our backyard. I
took a drive down to Roxbourough State Park on
January 20th. The park is located south of Chatfield
Lake in Douglas County and requires a small fee for
entrance. The first bird I saw was a Golden Eagle
soaring overhead as I drove into the parking lot.
What an impressive sight! I made my way to the
front of the visitor center and sat for a while. I was
there for about five minutes and the birds were very
plentiful. I observed Scrub Jays, Black-capped
Chickadees, Grey-headed Juncos, and a Canyon
Wren, which I added to my life list. On a short stroll I
spotted a couple of Magpies and a Mule Deer and
Coyote running off into the distance.
Later that day I drove over to Bel Mar Park located
off of Wadsworth and Ohio. You can park at the
Lakewood Heritage Center and take the path west to
the lake. I have always had great birding experiences
there. This day I sighted quite a few shore birds and
waterfowl. There were Canada and Cackling Geese,
Ring-necked ducks, Northern Shovelers, Ring-billed
Gulls, Mallard Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Common
Goldeneyes, a pair of Buffleheads, a Belted Kingfisher,
a Gadwall and a Wood Duck which seems to be a lake
resident. The lake is not very big which makes bird
viewing very easy and the boardwalk and dock is
As Spring arrives so will the migrant birds. So get out
there and enjoy them as they announce the season's
change. Happy Birding!
|The 2004 Christmas Bird Count by Mary Hafner
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is a 105-year-old
tradition that was started as an alternative to the
usual holiday hunt, where people went out to see
how many different birds and animals they could
shoot in one day. Now more than 50,000 observers in
all 50 states participate in this annual bird census.
Members of The Front Range Birding Company
participated in both the Denver Metro and the
Douglas County Bird Counts.The Douglas County Bird
Count has been held for the last 23 years. This year
84 participants in 17 teams scoured a 15-mile radius
circle from Castle Rock to Roxborough Park and saw
55 species and 7870 individual birds. My co-worker at
The Front Range Birding Company, Caroline Hancock,
and I took a team out from Sedalia up into the
mountains on Highway 67. Starting at 7:30 am on a
cold morning, nothing much was out, except the
crows, flying from their roosting area and us. We
found a Cooper's Hawk perched in a tree, and
throughout the day we saw Solitaires, Juncos,
Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Finches, Nuthatches, and
Jays. We stopped at various houses where the
residents had bird feeders. Some of them had
conducted their own feeder count, which we
added into our total. They fed Wild Turkeys, Evening
Grosbeaks and all three species of Nuthatches. At
one house we were able to stand under the feeders
as little Pygmy Nuthatches flew in and out.
All the bird counters met at Roxborough State Park
for a potluck supper and to compile the day's count.
Our team's final tally was 34 species and 1126
individual birds. The annual Christmas Bird Count is a
great way to learn more about birds and give back to
the community. Think about volunteering next year.
It's a real blast!
FEBRUARY SEED/SUET SALE PLUS PEPPER CLUB CARD INFO
GOT SEED YET??? If not - NO WORRIES! The Front
Range Birding mid-winter seed sale is on. Recognizing
February as National Bird Feeding Month and perhaps
the most critical survival month for Front Range birds,
all wild birdseed and suet is on sale at 20% off our
already competitive prices - all month!
Stock up on seed and help supplement the food
sources our local resident birds forage for during this
difficult time for them. We don't mess around with
birdseed sales. It's simple - if birds eat it, it's on sale
at 20% off!
The Pepper Club has been formed!
We have a new frequent buyer program! We call it
the "Pepper Card Club." Many of you have met our big
lab mutt Pepper who greets and meets all visitors in
the store (it was his idea to form a club). Ask for
your "Pepper Card" the next time you are in the
store. There's no cost or obligation, no time limit, and
they are unrestricted! You can even use them as
credit toward the future purchase of store items on
sale. We'll keep track of your purchases on the card
and it will be worth $10 of "Front Range Birding Cash"
when your total store purchases add up to just $100.
(All purchases must be valued at time of the
purchase of full price items; FRBC Cash can be
redeemed against any future purchase of $10 or
more). Check out our new "Pepper Card." It's a dog
gone good deal!
WILD REPUBLIC SNOWY OWLS ARE HERE!
The long awaited Limited Addition Snowy Owl
promotion program has arrived at the Front Range
Birding Company. Ask us how you can qualify for one.
Basically after you collect six Wild Republic Plush
Birds, you will receive a free Snowy Owl. Come in and
check out the program.
TWO NEW SUET's are now available in the store.
Cashew suet and Suet only. These two suets offer
extremely high energy content that birds need to
help generate body heat during these long cold