A Nature Center For You and Your Family
|SPRING TIPS from our friends at Duncraft
Mike Dunn & Sharon Dunn
- Spring migration season brings many
birds migrating northward. Invite them to stop over in
your yard for refueling on their journey. You will have
a chance to see and enjoy many 'new' birds, if only
for a short while! Keep feeders up and filled, and we
suggest that you scatter seed on the ground to
catch birds' attention as they fly over. Serve high
caloric foods to replenish their energy reserves
depleted from their strenuous voyage. Foods like
sunflower heart chips, black oil sunflower or mixed
seed blends with nuts are extra rich for added
- Goldfinches are getting their gold! A
sign of spring is the transformation of male
goldfinches' coloring from their winter olive-drab to
brilliant lemon yellow (their 'gold') with dramatic white
and black markings. Female goldfinches keep their
muted coloring year-round. Traveling in flocks
called 'charms,' goldfinches have an undulating flight,
several quick-wing ascending wing flaps, then
coasting down, so they seem to stitch the sky. Keep
plenty of Nyjer seed on hand for these golden
beauties--well known for arriving at feeders in large
numbers. Nyjer seeds are best served from a Nyjer
(thistle) feeder or mix with your regular seed for use
in a standard feeder.
- Put out yarn, string & other nesting material.
welcome all your donations for their nest-building.
Yarn and string should be about 3 inches in length--
longer lengths jeopardize bird safety. Put out your
yarn, dry grasses, dog and cat combings in an onion
bag, a suet cage or drape them on your shrubs. For a
convenient and decorative solution purchase a ready-
made nesting ball, basket or tower. These come pre-
filled with soft materials perfect for nest building
activities. Enjoy the fun of watching birds tease out
their selections and fly off to incorporate them in the
|Book Review: THE BIG YEAR by Sara Nelson
"The Big Year" by Mark Obmascik.
Do you enjoy going on birding trips and seeing birds
you have never seen before? Do you keep a life list?
Have you ever thought about competitive birding and
seeing how your birding skills compare to others? If
so, you may enjoy a book called "The Big Year: A
Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession." This book
by Denver author Mark Obmascik follows the
humorous and sometimes unbelievable adventures of
three birders as they undertake a "big year." The
goal of a big year is to see as many different bird
species as possible in North America (minus Hawaii
and Mexico) in one year. The competitors must rely
on their knowledge of birds, as well as the support of
the entire birding community, to race around the
country and check birds off their list. In order to
come out on top, the winner must see close to every
North American breeding bird and a large number
of "lost" birds from other parts of the world. Big
year birders think nothing of dropping everything at
the report of a rare bird and jumping on the next
plane to find it. The competitors spend tens of
thousands of dollars crisscrossing the continent and
visiting bird-intensive locations like the Dry Tortugas
of Florida and Attu Island of Alaska. All this traveling
makes it almost impossible to spend time with family
or hold down a job to support this expensive game.
This book covers the 275,000-mile quest of the three
extreme birders and the story of their year is both
amusing and exciting.
Stop in today to pick up your copy and tell us about
some of your adventures in birding. We also carry an
array of other great birding and nature books. To
drop a few names, our collection includes such
notable authors as John Fielder, David Sibley, Kenn
Kaufman, and Pete Dunn.
|BE A CITIZEN SCIENTIST by Tom Bush
The House Finch has recently suffered the ill effects
of an eye infection across eastern North America. It
is spreading westward. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
has began a survey to study how nesting success
influences House Finch eye disease. The lab is
seeking participants. They want to know how early
House Finches begin nesting and how late in the
season they continue to breed. This program is a
great opportunity to give valuable help to the lab
while enjoying these very entertaining feathered
visitors. It requires just two monitoring sessions per
week and there is no fee to participate. Consider
involving the young people in your life in this nature
Look for House Finches in the early spring. Check out
the branches of pine, spruce, and cedar trees. Nooks
under roofs and eaves are favorite spots. Quite often
you will find them setting up housekeeping in various
objects such as hanging planters, evergreen wreaths,
baskets, or light fixtures. Watch as they leave your
feeder and you may spot where they nest. During
2004 people from 14 states and provinces provided
valuable nest records to the lab. Join the lab to help
out one of our most favorite backyard visitors. You
can contact the Cornell Lab at
www.birds.cornell.edu or call them at (800)
843-2473 (BIRD) for a wealth of birding resources.
|THE BLUE IS BACK by Mary Hafner
The azure blue of the male Mountain Bluebird is back
in our open spaces and meadows, and is looking for
nesting sites. The males returned in February to
stake out territories. Bluebirds are secondary cavity
nesters, so they look for old woodpecker holes in
open woodlands, meadows and orchards. Due to the
modern forest and orchard management of removing
dead trees and limbs, natural cavities have become
scarce. Adding to the decline is the pressure from
competing swallows and introduced species such as
House Sparrows and Starlings, who also use cavities.
In the last twenty-five years the popularity of
providing boxes for the bluebirds has resulted in
growing their populations. The Audubon Society of
Greater Denver and the Colorado Division of Wildlife
are jointly sponsoring The Colorado Bluebird Project
to identify current bluebird trails and recruit new
volunteers to monitor bluebird boxes. If you are
interested please email
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 303-
Bluebird boxes need to be made to certain
specifications and spaced about 100 yards apart on a
fence post or pole. Come into our store to see the
variety of nest boxes, kits, and information that can
be used for bluebirds. We also have bluebird feeders
and the bluebird's favorite snack - live mealworms.
Two of the three North American bluebird species
nest in Colorado. The Mountain Bluebird nests above
5,000 feet, and the Western Bluebird frequents the
western slope and southern Colorado. Bluebirds can
have two broods during the breeding season. They
lay four to six pale blue or white eggs, which hatch in
two weeks. The male brings food to the female on
the nest, and the hatchlings fledge in two to three
weeks. After nesting they gather in flocks and go to
the southern part of their range. In the wild bluebirds
usually live only one to two years, in captivity they
can live up to ten years.
|THE DAY TRIPPER by Caroline Hancock
On March 22 I went birding in Chatfield State Park.
The sun was out and the birds were singing. The first
bird to catch my eye was an American Robin. The
birds I sighted were some Canada geese along with a
Western Meadowlark, Magpie, Dark- eyed Junco (
Slate colored ), Spotted Towhee, Northern Flicker,
and a Red-tailed Hawk. My favorite sighting of the
day was an immature Bald Eagle that was sitting in a
tree overlooking the new Blue Heron Nesting area. I
drove over to the ponds south of the lake and
spotted some Ring-billed Gulls and a Common
I took the road over the dam to the northern area of
the park all the way to the end. From there I walked
north along the South Platte river. The birds I found
here were Gadwalls, Belted Kingfishers, Red-winged
Blackbirds, Mallards and some American Widgeon.
Following the trail further, I crossed the bridge over
the Platte and headed north on the Greenway trail
under C-470. Under the freeway there are colonies of
swallow nests made of mud from previous years. No
swallows were sighted but they should return soon
North of the freeway is South Platte Park which can
also be accessed from C-470 west of Santa Fe at no
fee. There are a couple ponds in the park. Here I
spotted a Common Goldeneye, a Song Sparrow and
some Green-winged Teal.
The binoculars I used were the 8x42 Audubon Raptor
series. The neck strap was very comfortable and the
light weight made it easy for me to focus on the
birds. Come into the store and try out a pair. They
are affordably priced at $159.99 as is the entire
Audubon series from Sheltered Wings Optics.
|HAWK QUEST IS COMING TO FRBC DURING OUR OPEN HOUSE 30 APRIL
HawkQuest's is a one-of-a-kind raptor education
"feathered teachers" (eagles, hawks, owls, and
falcons) can be observed from just a few feet away.
We will have them right at the store and expert
handelers will answer questions you may have about
these incredible animals.
We will free fly
a Harris's Hawk in the Shopping Center lot right in
front of the store.
You will gain a greater appreciation of the birds of
prey and their essential role in the environment. Be
sure to bring the whole family.
- Come see a Harris's Hawk fly!
|The 2005 Dove Race For Youth!! April 30th
Sponsor a Dove in the name of The Greater Littleton
Youth Initiative or The Jason Dahl Metro State
Scholarship Fund, two very worthy charities for our
community's youth. These homing pigeons will "race"
back to their pads in Lakewood with your registered
number attached to a leg. Sign up for a chance to
win 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place prizes. First place will win a
pair of Equinox Audubon Binoculars worth $240!
Our goal is to release 300 sponsored Doves.
They should fill the sky with delight and provide much
needed funds for these two great local charities!
Check with us for details on how to participate and
Check out both charities on the
- Register a dove with your name on it right in
|Join the Pepper Card Club!
After just $100 of purchases your Pepper Card is
worth $10 Front Range Birding Cash.
In case you haven't noticed, Pepper is our lovable
Black Lab and official greeter to all who visit our
store. He just had to have his own club and more
reason for you to keep coming back than just to see
him. Say hi to Pepper the next time you come in and
thank him for starting a club in his name.
check out our web site...
|JUGS! JUGS! JUGS! JUGS!
Buy 2 and get 1 free!Our 5 1/2 lb jugs of
Nyjer and Superfinch are on sale while supplies last.
These clear plastic jugs are a great way to store
your Finch food and are super convenient. The jug
sale gets you the Gold and House Finch's most
favorite diet at a 33% saving!
|LAST CHANCE FOR MASON BEES
Help bring back the native bees! Our Orchard
Mason Bees are still available but now ready to spring
out of hibernation.We have a large variety of live
both live bees and supplies right in the store. Our
experts from Knox Cellars and Cougar Ridge Farms are
ready to help with any of your questions on how to
establish a super pollinator colony in your personal
The Mason is known as the "gentle bee" and
will not sting unless severely provoked; even then
the effort resembles that of a mosquito. Check with
us for supplies and tips to help insure their success.
Read more about Orchard Mason Bees from Knox Cellars
OPEN HOUSE AT THE FRONT RANGE BIRDING COMPANY
Spring has sprung on the Front Range and we hope
all of you are enjoying it. In celebration of the
springtime return of our migratory friends from down
south, on April 30th we are having an old fashioned
open house. Diane and I cannot think of a better way
to show our appreciation to all of you who have
continued to patronize our store. It's hard to believe
it has only been five short months since we opened!
Here are the top 10 reasons we think you should
attend our open house (Letterman style.)
See you on at the Open House!
Tom & Diane Bush and of course, Pepper.
Find out more
- HAWKQUEST!!! Get a close up view of a
live Bald Eagle, Barn Owl, Peregrine Falcon, and a
Harris's Hawk. The featured event will be a free flying
- A WHITE DOVE RACE!! 300 white homing
pigeons will be released for local charity drives.
Sponsor a dove in the name of The Greater Littleton
Youth Initiative or The Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund
for a chance to win prizes as they "race" back to
their Lakewood lofts. We call it "The 2005 Dove Race
- IT'S INTERNATIONAL MIGRATORY BIRD DAY!
Join us celebrating IMBD. We will host migratory
education booths and have cool IMBD merchandise
available for all ages.
- A NATURE CRAFT FAIR. All day acclaimed
local craftsmen, artists, and authors will host booths
in the shopping center common area. Everything from
glass etchings to chain sawed bears will be available.
Check out these talented folks of Colorado.
- BIRD WALKS. In association with the
Audubon Society of Greater Denver, you can join
expert guides at the Audubon Center "Discovery
Pavilion" at 8AM on Sunday Morning, May 1st. There
you will see the wonders of spring by observing birds
in their natural habitat along the Platte River in
Chatfield State Park.
- GET GOOD DEALS! Many Jefferson Village
restaurants and businesses are giving discounts to
customers who attend the open house. If you are
hungry or thirsty, come on down!
- THE FRBC SPRING SEED SALE! Everything
in a Jug is on sale. Buy 2 Jugs of Nyjer or Superfinch
and get 1 free. You will feed all of our favorite
Finches at a 33% saving!
- SAVE GAS! Have a great time with the
family without going very far. Not a bad idea with
prices now well over $2 bucks a gallon.
- GET IN GOOD WITH THE KIDS. No one
under the age of 94 can pass up a Peregrine Falcon
or Bald Eagle tattoo.
- SAVE ON EXPENSIVE ANALYST FEES.
Come May, and you realize you missed the FRBC
open house, you may need therapy.