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It’s not too late to spot a summer bird

Editor’s note: Kramer missed our July deadline, and the NFH missed inserting his column in August, but there is still time to view the birds of summer. Read on.Birds that stay with us all summer include the Yellow Warbler, Lazuli Bunting and the Broad-Tailed Hummingbird. After spring migration, the birds are busy going through the age-old ritual of setting up territories, courting the females and raising a family.The songs and displays of the males are one of the most fascinating facets of summer birding. Take, for example the Broad-tailed Hummingbird, who, flying about 50 feet in the air suddenly comes plummeting back to earth, swerving only about a foot from the ground only to rocket back up into the air and do it all over again. Another example is the solicitous bluebird, who, going back and forth, back and forth, feeds his mate with unwavering loyalty as she incubates the eggs.Here are some great spots, and some of my favorites, to go birding: Garden of the Gods, Meadow Lake and Fox Run Park.Garden of the GodsThe rocks here are home to the White-Throated Swifts and Prairie Falcons. Bushtits, Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher, Spotted Towhee, Black-Headed Grosbeaks and Scrub Jays are all regular, easily seen birds. The one disadvantage is that you have to bird exclusively from the trail, as the rest is under reclamation, and there are lots of people, mainly gaping tourists who couldn’t care less about birds and birdwatchers.Meadow LakeThis location is certainly closer than Garden of the Gods. This lake is in Falcon. Going East on Highway 24, turn on Bluegill Drive, right before Judge Orr Road and then take a left on Mallard Lane, which will bring you to the lake. It is private property and trespassing is not allowed, however, since it is so close to the road, viewing from the car is easy. The species to view are Ruddy Duck, Redhead, Yellow-Headed Blackbird and Western Grebe. There are a few domestic ducks, including a Muscovy, which may cause some identification confusion with the unknowing.Fox Run ParkFarther than Meadow Lake, closer than Garden of the Gods, this is a large regional park with two large ponds and ponderosa forest. Species to be seen are Belted Kingfisher, Pygmy Nuthatch, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Steller’s Jay and Western Bluebird.Bird identification problem: Red-Tailed Hawk versus Swainson’s hawk:Although often confused, identification of these two is quite easy: the Red-Tailed Hawk’s wing is predominantly white with a black strip on the trailing edge of the wing, and black wingtips. The Swainson’s Hawk’s wing can be split into thirds, with the trailing two thirds of the wing black and the leading third white. Perched birds are easily spotted by breast color; Swainson’s breast is brown while the Red-Tailed is white.HAPPY BIRD WATCHING!

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