Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Why are Colorado’s Deer Populations Declining?

According to Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), the state’s current mule deer population of around 450,000 is about 25{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} below their objective. Populations have been declining over the last several decades due to human population growth resulting in habitat loss and vehicle collisions, as well as other factors like climate change, malnutrition, diseases like chronic wasting disease, and predation. A recent technical report from CPW examines the causes of deer mortality, specifically to help wildlife investigators determine the difference between predation and scavenging so that accurate causes of death can be determined and addressed. Since 2016 CPW has been studying whether predator control can help boost mule deer populations. You can read more about this strategy on CPW’s website.

CPW has also recently released The Story of Colorado’s Mule Deer, a short publication for general readers that explores the history of mule deer in Colorado and some of the factors behind the recent population decline. Additional information can be found in Mule Deer in Northwest Colorado, a fact sheet from CPW summarizing their research in that part of the state.

Colorado is not the only western state to experience declining mule deer populations. In 2004 CPW (then the Colorado Division of Wildlife) teamed with other western U.S. wildlife agencies to produce the North American Mule Deer Conservation Plan, which examines a variety of population decline factors including hunting, disease, and habitat loss. A few years prior, the Division of Wildlife also submitted a report to the Colorado legislature on declining mule deer populations. Our library collection includes numerous other resources on Colorado mule deer research; search our library’s online catalog for titles.

 

Photo by David Hannigan courtesy Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado State Parks: Barr Lake

 

If you’re looking for a quick getaway near the Denver metro area, check out Barr Lake State Park, located near Brighton. The park includes boating, fishing, a nature trail and Nature Center, and wildlife viewing stations. And while boating and fishing aren’t in season right now, there are lots of other things to do at Barr Lake during the winter. Guided nature walks and a lighted holiday trail, a holiday open house, and archery classes are some of the park’s upcoming events. There is also plenty of wildlife viewing in the colder months. Several bald eagles winter in the park, and 350 other bird species have been spotted in the park throughout the year, as well.

150 years ago, what is now Barr Lake State Park was home to buffalo, elk, and pronghorn, which attracted Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. Later, the area was used for cattle grazing. The railroad came to the area in 1883 and in 1908 a dam was constructed to combine two smaller reservoirs into what is now Barr Lake, supplying water to nearby sugar beet farmers. Barr Lake State Park opened to the public in 1977.

Visit the park’s website for more details on activities, trails, and wildlife. Also, click here to learn about bald eagles at Barr Lake. You can also watch a video of the eagles.

Barr Lake
Barr Lake’s wildlife viewing gazebo decorated for the holidays.

 

Photos courtesy Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

2018 is Year of the Bird

All this year, conservation and wildlife organizations across the US have been celebrating Year of the Bird, a campaign to bring awareness to the importance of birds and to celebrate the centennial of the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Here in our state, Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) is participating in Year of the Bird by highlighting bird species in their popular Colorado Outdoors magazine. Each 2018 issue features articles on Colorado birds and what CPW is doing to research and protect them. For instance, in the September/October issue, you can read about how CPW is working to protect burrowing owls, which live in prairie dog colonies. As prairie dog towns are being eradicated, so too are the burrowing owls. Both species are integral parts of the grassland ecosystem.

This year is also the 80th anniversary of Colorado Outdoors. Founded in 1938, the magazine was originally titled Colorado Conservation Comments. It became known as Colorado Outdoors in 1956. Back issues of the magazine are available for checkout from our library.

For additional resources on Colorado birds, see the CPW website and search our library’s online catalog.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Should Wolves be Reintroduced in Colorado?

If wolves were reintroduced in our state, would they benefit the environment or be a nuisance for ranchers? In spite of a 2016 resolution passed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife stating that wolves would not be purposefully reintroduced into the state (although those that wander here on their own won’t be removed), the debate continues.
Andrew Gulliford, a professor if history and environmental studies at Fort Lewis College, is an advocate for reintroduction and recently co-edited a book outlining the science, and the debate, behind the reintroduction of wolves. According to Gulliford’s blog posting for University Press of Colorado — the publisher of his book The Last Stand of the Pack — evidence for wolves’ contribution to the ecology of the mountain west can be seen in Yellowstone:

I teach my college students that wolves brought songbirds back to Yellowstone. I explain that wolves cut the coyote population in half. With fewer coyotes there are more small rodents and mammals aerating the soil and providing better grasses. But the largest and most dramatic effect has been the culling of the Yellowstone elk herd. By 1995 the ungulates had done severe damage to the vegetation of the park. Wolves changed that. As wolf packs began to hunt elk, the wapiti were slowed and caught in downed timber along rivers and streams. So elk learned safety meant higher sagebrush benches where they could see and smell better. With fewer elk, plants recovered. Aspen thrived. And in this new thicker forest of riverine vegetation, beaver colonies established small pools, attracting other animals, insects, and, yes, butterflies.

The State of Colorado has been studying the issue of wolf reintroduction since the 1980s. In our library you can find several reports on the topic, including

The Last Stand of the Pack is also available for checkout from our library. This book was originally issued in 1929 by famed Colorado naturalist Arthur Carhart and Stanley P. Young. Gulliford and the aptly-named Tom Wolf edited the new edition for University Press of Colorado. This expanded edition contains new writings by Gulliford and other contributors who discuss the debate over reintroduction since Carhart’s time.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Exotic and Prohibited Wildlife in Colorado

Coloradans love their pets, there’s no doubt about that. But did you know that there are some animals that Colorado law prohibits keeping as pets? Wildlife species (unless in the care of a licensed rehabilitation center) cannot be kept in homes or as pets. Wildlife are a “public resource” so cannot be owned by individuals, according to Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), and it’s for the animal’s own good. Wild animals just aren’t wired for domestic living like dogs, cats, and other common pets. Wildlife can carry disease, and they can become frightened, destructive, and even harmful to humans. It is best to leave wildlife in the wild, where they know by instinct how to survive. Even baby animals that appear cuddly can be problematic.
The State of Colorado also prohibits ownership of some exotic species. Monkeys and other primates, exotic pigs, certain kinds of frogs, exotic bovids such as wildebeest and ruminants like oryx, for example, are illegal to possess in Colorado. The reasons certain species are prohibited varies; some are due to the threat of the spread of disease, while others can have damaging effects on native habitat and wildlife populations. American bullfrogs, for example, are not native to Colorado but somebody brought them here and, whether through escaping or being released into the wild, the frogs a have since become significant predators to Colorado’s native leopard frog. Piranhas are another species that have been brought to Colorado and let loose, causing problems for native fish species. See this information from CPW on why you should never turn a pet or lab animal loose.

For a list of prohibited pets and wildlife in Colorado, as well as more information on why wild animals should stay wild, see the CPW’s Exotic Pets and Prohibited Wildlife brochure and visit their “Don’t Domesticate” webpage. Here you can also find information about why you shouldn’t feed wildlife or try to assist an injured animal in your home. Rehabilitation facilities exist for this purpose. They and other similar entities can find information on obtaining special licenses by clicking on this link. Finally, animal import requirements can be found on the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s website.
Photos courtesy Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Protecting Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat

The Greater Sage-Grouse
Last week, according to a press release, Governor Hickenlooper sent a letter to the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to advocate for the protection of greater sage-grouse on lands the BLM intends to sell or lease for oil and gas development. Over the past several years, the State of Colorado has been involved in efforts to protect this disappearing bird; in fact, the governor even mentioned it in his 2018 State of the State speech.
Several species of grouse live in Colorado. One species, the Gunnison sage-grouse, is federally designated as a threatened species. The other species, however – including the greater sage-grouse, the subject of the governor’s letter – are not recognized as threatened by the federal government. The State of Colorado, however, is concerned for the greater sage-grouse, which is found in northwest Colorado and whose numbers have been diminishing.
Since the federal government’s 2003 denial of listing the greater sage-grouse as endangered or threatened, Colorado has issued numerous plans, documents and strategies for conserving the species. The most significant document, finalized in 2008, is the state’s Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan, available online from our library. Five years later, the state issued The Colorado Package, a greater sage-grouse conservation strategy plan specific to Colorado (the BLM had been considering the species’ conservation in nearby states, as well).
For further information on the state’s efforts to conserve the greater sage-grouse, see the following State of Colorado documents and websites:

The governor’s July 17 letter also addresses big game migration corridors in the affected area.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Summer Wildlife Viewing

yellow-bellied marmot Colorado
Check out Marmot Fest at Staunton State Park this weekend, June 23-24, 2018 and maybe you’ll spot a yellow-bellied marmot!

Summer is officially here, and with it comes great opportunities for viewing wildlife in all parts of the state. Some species, like hummingbirds, are only here in the summer. Others, like mountain goats, live in alpine areas inaccessible to people except in summer. Still other species hibernate during the winter. So if you’re interested in viewing Colorado’s many amazing wildlife species, summer is your best bet.

Wildlife viewing is also a great activity for families while the kids are out of school. For a number of years the Colorado Division of Wildlife (now Colorado Parks & Wildlife) published Colorado’s Wildlife Company, a series of illustrated booklets for all ages to learn about the watchable wildlife in Colorado. The booklets have been digitized by our library and provide fun facts and wildlife viewing tips. Several titles were written especially for summertime wildlife viewing, including the following:

Watching Wildlife provides a simple introduction to wildlife viewing – when and where to go, what tools and techniques to use, and a code of ethics.

Summertime Reveals Secrets of the Alpine Tundra. Check out this fun brochure to learn about species that live at elevations above 11,000 feet, such as mountain goats, marmots, pikas, and ptarmigan. Included are suggestions for places to drive to see alpine wildlife, including Mount Evans, Trail Ridge Road, Independence Pass, Pikes Peak, and the Million Dollar Highway.

Summertime, and the Livin’ Ain’t Easy. What do animals do to protect themselves from the heat of summer? How have they adapted to our dry climate? Along with tips on viewing animals in summer, this edition tells about the many fascinating adaptations animals have made to survive and thrive in summertime. Download this title to find out what “daily torpor” and “gular fluttering” refer to!

Summer’s Hummers is all about hummingbirds. Learn about their amazing acrobatics and flight mechanics, and the innovative ways they search for food. You can also find out how to attract hummingbirds to your garden.

The Hawks of Summer profiles a very different kind of bird. Learn about the many different types and sizes of hawks found in Colorado and how to identify them. Many Colorado hawks, such as red-tailed, Cooper’s hawks, and prairie falcons, live in Colorado year-round. But some species, like Swainson’s hawks, spend the winters in South and Central America.

Listen… Wildlife viewing isn’t just about what you see with your eyes — it’s also about using your ears to locate and identify wildlife. From birds to frogs to elk, species have unique calls and sounds. And learning about animal sounds isn’t just about who’s making the sound, but why. Many of the birdcalls you hear in your neighborhood every day are actually alarm calls, warning of danger. Prairie dogs, marmots, and other rodents also sound alarms. Animal calls can also be about mating, or territory, or babies asking for food.

Photo by David Iliff, License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Chronic Wasting Disease in Wildlife

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a disease of the brain that affects deer, elk, and moose and may be on the rise in our state.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife has recently convened a new advisory group to deal with the disease, which results show to affect as many as 16{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} of the animals tested.  To learn more about what CWD is, how to test for it, and what the State is doing to combat it, visit Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Chronic Wasting Disease webpage.  Our library also has some helpful publications about CWD:

Photo by David Hannigan courtesy of Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Biodiversity

Did you know that today, May 22, is International Day for Biological Diversity? Biological diversity – usually shortened to “biodiversity” – refers to the variety of species and natural processes in an ecosystem.  As habitats are reduced by development and increased human habitation, some species of plants and animals are pushed out or become endangered, reducing a particular ecosystem’s natural biodiversity.

Biodiversity first became a buzzword in the early 1990s (in fact, this year is the 25th anniversary of the May 22 commemoration).  You may recall that was the time of heightened awareness about the destruction of rainforests and other natural landscapes.  Here in the US, over the course of the twentieth century our country shifted dramatically from mainly rural/agrarian to predominantly urban/suburban, bringing with it the awareness of the loss of many natural habitats for plants and wildlife.

In 1993 the Colorado Division of Wildlife published Biodiversity: The Big Picture, an illustrated publication for all ages meant to teach Coloradans about the variety of species in our state and what people can do to protect them.  This publication is part of the Division of Wildlife’s “Colorado’s Wildlife Company” series, which have all been digitized and made available online by our library.

Also in the early ’90s the University of Colorado Law School’s Natural Resources Law Center issued several publications about biodiversity and the legal protections available for natural resources conservation.  Titles include Conserving Biodiversity on Private Lands (1995) as well as a policy report about the US Forest Service’s biodiversity sustainability efforts (1996). 

Also during this period, the Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP), established in 1979 under the name “Colorado Natural Features Inventory,” changed its name and moved to its present home at Colorado State University in 1992-1994. Soon after, the Program began producing numerous publications on biodiversity across Colorado. “Biological inventory,” “biological survey,” and “assessment of critical biological resources” reports for counties, wetlands, conservation areas, and other natural areas across Colorado have been issued.  You can view over 250 of these reports, from 1993 to the present, in our digital repository.

Biodiversity awareness efforts didn’t end in the ’90s; they are still going on today. The Colorado Division of Wildlife (now known as Colorado Parks & Wildlife) and CNHP have continued to publish resources about the state’s biodiversity, including CNHP’s A Biodiversity Scorecard for Colorado (2008) and the Division of Wildlife’s Wild Colorado: Crossroads of Biodiversity (2003).

Photo by David Hannigan courtesy of Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Bears and Bird Feeders

Many Coloradans enjoy feeding birds, especially this time of year when hummingbirds are returning to the area.  But bird feeders can also attract hungry bears.  According to Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), “some studies show that over 80 percent of human-bear conflicts can be traced back to the bear’s first encounter with a bird feeder…Once bears discover bird feeders, they’ll often visit every home in an area looking for more.”  For tips on how to safely feed birds while discouraging visits from bears, see CPW’s publication Attracting Birds, Not Bears.

For additional CPW resources on avoiding human-bear conflicts, see the following resources:

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Rattlesnakes are Back – Be Cautious

This is the time of year when many Coloradans are looking forward to getting back out on the hiking trails.  It’s also the time of year when rattlesnakes are emerging from hibernation, increasing your chances of encountering rattlesnakes.  In fact, news reports indicate that two hikers have already been bitten by rattlesnakes in Colorado this spring. (Both survived).  If you are hiking with dogs, be especially careful because curious dogs will often explore beyond the trail and might rouse a snake from its nest.

Colorado is home to three kinds of rattlesnakes, the Prairie Rattlesnake, the Western Rattlesnake, and the Massasauga Rattlesnake. Check out the following resources to learn more about Colorado’s rattlers, including tips for avoiding them and what to do if you do encounter a rattlesnake:

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Citizen Science

Colorado State University’s Natural Resources Economy Lab (NREL), along with several other partners, has developed CitSci.org, a site where everyday citizens can go to contribute data and scientific research.  Using the site, researchers can create a project, collect data, and view the results.  For instance, one of the site’s projects is a the “Front Range Pika Project,” where volunteers log photos and data on sightings of this endangered mountain critter. Other projects include tree species mapping, water data, birdwatching observations, invasive species monitoring, beaver sightings, butterfly-plant interactions, an amphibian survey, and much more.  You can log in to volunteer for any of the projects, or access the data to learn about the natural environment in Colorado and other states.

CSU also sponsors another, separate but also citizen-driven scientific data collection site, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, or CoCoRAHS.  As suggested in its name, this site relies on citizen volunteers to collect meteorological data.  You can use their site to find maps and data on precipitation, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, and climate.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Here in Colorado we have a number of invasive species that are causing problems because they can harm the environment and put native species at risk.  Colorado Parks & Wildlife defines invasive species as “plants, animals, insects or diseases that are not native to Colorado.”  CP&W explains that “because they are not native to Colorado habitats, they have no natural competitors or predators.  Without these checks and balances, the invaders are able to reproduce rapidly and out-compete native species.”
How do these invasive species get here?  They mostly arrive by accident, “hitching a ride” on products being shipped into the state, or from human travel.  But some introductions can be avoided.  For example, bullfrogs, who occur naturally in the eastern and midwestern US but not in Colorado, were introduced here in part as discarded lab animals.  The bullfrogs are a problem, according to CP&W’s species profile, because “bullfrogs eat anything that moves and will fit into their mouths including fishes, frogs, birds, bats, snakes, tarantulas, small mammals, and a variety of invertebrates. They out-compete and eat native amphibian species and are a factor in native species population declines.”  Another example is the piranha, introduced into Colorado waters as unwanted pets.  For more on these and other Colorado wildlife, both native and non-native, check out CP&W’s species profiles page.  For more on the problem of releasing non-native species into the wild, see CP&W’s Don’t Turn it Loose webpage.  Invasive plants such as purple loosestrife have also been introduced intentionally (though likely unknowingly), introduced for use in gardens but quickly reproducing and spreading.  Finally, you can avoid transporting invasive insects by not moving firewood out of affected areas.
As our world becomes more connected invasive species are becoming a greater problem, not just in Colorado but across the nation.  Therefore February 26-March 3 has been set aside as National Invasive Species Awareness Week.
Here are some of the most problematic invasive species in Colorado, and state publications and websites that can help you learn more:
Emerald ash borer:

The emerald ash borer
Field bindweed:

Field bindweed flower
Gypsy moth:

Gypsy month
Japanese beetle:

Japanese beetle
Meadow knapweed:

Meadow knapweed
Mountain pine beetle:

Mountain pine beetle
Purple loosestrife:

Purple loosestrife
Rusty crayfish:

Rusty crayfish
Waterflea:

Watereflea
Yellow starthistle:

Yellow starthistle
Zebra and quagga mussels:  

Quagga mussel
For general information on invasive species in Colorado, see the following state publications:

Photo credits:
Colorado Department of Agriculture:  Emerald ash borer, field bindweed, meadow knapweed, purple loosestrife, yellow starthistle
Colorado Parks & Wildlife: Rusty crayfish, waterflea, quagga mussel
Colorado State Forest Service: Gypsy moth
Wikipedia: Japanese beetle, mountain pine beetle

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's Canines: Coyotes, Foxes, and Wolves

Coyotes, foxes, and wolves all belong to the scientific Family known as Canidae, or canines — just like your pet dog.  There are some big differences, however, between all of these types of canines.

Native American legends often refer to the coyote as a trickster.  Colorado Parks & Wildlife calls them “opportunistic” and “naturally curious.”  Many people think coyotes are only found in more rural areas or in the high country, but this is not true – they are being found in increasing numbers along the Front Range due to continued loss of their natural habitat.  They’ve even been spotted in neighborhoods near downtown Denver.  Coyotes will usually leave humans alone, but they can be a danger to your pets, so be sure to closely supervise your pets.  If coyotes are in the area, you should make sure your cats stay indoors.  When walking dogs, make sure they are leashed and within your sight, and don’t ever let dogs and coyotes interact.  If you see coyotes nearby, it may be best to carry your dog, according to this brochure from Colorado Parks & Wildlife.  You can also learn more about coyotes in the publication Who is Coyote?

Foxes are also frequently found in urban areas and can also be a danger to small pets.  The species most commonly found in the Metro area is the red fox.  Red foxes can run at speeds of 30 MPH and have excellent sight, hearing, and smell.  Like coyotes they are “opportunistic” so to avoid attracting foxes, be sure food garbage is properly stored.  Learn more about red foxes at this “living with wildlife” page from Colorado Parks & Wildlife.  Other fox species, including gray, kit, and swift, are found in more remote areas.  The swift fox is a threatened/endangered species; you can read about Colorado’s swift fox conservation efforts in this report.


Of the different types of canids, wolves are certainly the most rare in Colorado.  For many years there were no wolves in the state, but recently there have been reintroduction efforts.  Unlike foxes and coyotes, which rely on their keen intelligence to find food, wolves are much stronger, fiercer predators, and as a result their reintroduction has been controversial.  To learn more see the publications Wolves: Knocking at Colorado’s Door and Findings and Recommendations for Managing Wolves that Migrate into Colorado.

Learn more about wolves, coyotes, and foxes by searching our library’s online catalog or visiting the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website.


Images courtesy Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado's Bat Caves

Fifteen years ago the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the CSU Natural Heritage Program conducted a survey of bats living in Colorado caves.  According to the report of the study, which you can read online via our library, twelve of Colorado’s eighteen species of bats use caves and abandoned mines at least part of the year in Colorado. Corynorhinus townsendii, or Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat, were the most frequently encountered species, typically at elevations above 6,122 feet. Townsend’s bats are officially on Colorado’s Threatened and Endangered Species list, and other bat species are also threatened due to habitat loss and wind energy development, so it is quite likely that populations have dropped since the 2002 cave study.

If you’re interested in viewing bats, the study contains a list of caves where bats were found (including some spookily named caves like Groaning Cave, Scorpion Cave, and Fixin-to-Die Cave).  Note that some of these caves may be on private property, so do your homework before setting out on any spelunking expeditions.

This is also National Bat Week.  Colorado Parks & Wildlife has put together a fun webpage with videos and facts about bats.

Happy Halloween!

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Butterfly Migration

If you love butterflies, this week has been an absolute delight along the Front Range as the painted lady butterflies migrate south.  Conditions this year have caused an explosion of the numbers of painted ladies, which is why we are seeing so many more than usual.  The orange butterflies, which are commonly mistaken for monarchs, are headed to Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico for the winter, according to an article in the Denver Post.  They enjoy a variety of flowers, especially asters, which are in bloom right now.  Last weekend was the peak for the migration through the Denver area, although many can still be seen.  The butterflies will also pass through on their way back north in April and May.

Colorado has many other butterfly species, as well.  Those who enjoy butterflies should see the CSU Extension’s publication Attracting Butterflies to the Garden, which offers tips on creating a butterfly habitat along with lists of the best types of flowers to plant for attracting butterflies.

Painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies enjoying the asters at my home in Park Hill, September 16, 2017.
Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Burrowing Owls

The July/August issue of Colorado Outdoors magazine features burrowing owls.  These fascinating creatures are much different than the tree-dwelling owls most of us are all familiar with.  Burrowing owls, as suggested by their name, are ground dwellers.  Unlike most owls, which live in forested areas, burrowing owls spend the summer on Colorado’s eastern plains, where they live in prairie dog towns.

No, the owls don’t eat the prairie dogs — the two species have a symbiotic relationship where the owls reuse and repurpose abandoned holes.  The two species also have common predators — coyotes, hawks, bobcats, badgers, snakes — so the owls benefit from the prairie dogs’ vocal warning systems.

Burrowing owls also differ from most other owls in that they are diurnal (active during the day) and they are also smaller than most other owl species (and cuter).  The owls mostly feed on insects, particularly grasshoppers and beetles, but they will also sometimes eat mice and small reptiles and amphibians.

Although burrowing owls migrate to Arizona, California, Texas, and northern Mexico in the winter, they are considered a threatened species in Colorado, their summer home, because of the elimination of much of their natural habitat.  Eradication of prairie dogs by humans has had an adverse effect on burrowing owls, illustrating the importance of understanding how Colorado’s different wildlife species affect one another.  Recommended Survey Protocol and Actions to Protect Nesting Burrowing Owls When Conducting Prairie Dog Control, a Colorado Division of Wildlife publication available from our library, addresses this issue.

In addition to the above-named resources, you can also find information on burrowing owls in several other Division of Wildlife publications available from our library, including The Little Owls and Conservation Plan for Grassland Species of ColoradoSee also Colorado Parks & Wildlife’s species profile for more information and links.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Human-Bear Conflicts

If you’ve been following local news lately, you’ve heard that human-bear conflicts are on the rise; according to the Denver Post, at least 34 bears have already been killed in Colorado this summer.  Bear-human conflicts are on the rise as more and more of the bears’ native habitat comes under development.  With bears and people living closer together, and with bears’ natural food sources disappearing as well, they have learned to forage at homes, dumpsters, even bird feeders.  What can you do to help protect your property from bears, while also helping reduce bear deaths?  Several reports and brochures from Colorado Parks & Wildlife, available from our library, offer helpful information:

Colorado Parks & Wildlife also has produced four helpful “Bear Aware Videos” which you can view on their website.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Grasslands

On the plains of Colorado, grassland ecosystems provide habitats for many species of plants and animals.  Yet increased human migration and development is causing the disappearance of much of the state’s historic grasslands.  Some, however, have been protected, such as the Pawnee and Comanche National Grasslands, which draw visitors to experience nature and learn about Colorado’s natural habitats.  You can read about grassland species; conservation; tourist information; and much more through state government resources available from our library.  Materials listed without hyperlinks can be checked out in print from our library.

Scientific and conservation publications:

Visitor information:

Photo courtesy USDA/United States Forest Service

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Spring is Here!

Hooray, today is the first day of Spring!  Are you interested in learning about the plants and animals that Colorado springtime brings?  Our library has many resources that you can use to learn — or teach your kids — about springtime in Colorado.

Hearken!  It’s Spring is a publication from the Colorado Division of Wildlife.  This title from their “Colorado’s Wildlife Company” series is written for all ages, with fun facts and illustrations about Colorado wildlife.  Search our library’s web catalog to find more titles from Colorado’s Wildlife Company.

Planning a flower garden this spring?  Check out Spring-Planted Bulbs, Corms and Roots to learn about the best bulbs for growing in Colorado.  This is only one of hundreds of resources on Colorado gardening available from our library; search our web catalog for more titles.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Whirling Disease of Trout

Whirling disease is a parasitic infection that has been affecting Colorado trout since being accidentally introduced here in the 1980s. Since then, Colorado Parks & Wildlife has been working to prevent and control the disease, which has contributed to the decline in numbers of rainbow trout in Colorado’s waters.
The disease can be deadly to young trout; older, larger fishes with the disease may exhibit deformations or engage in a tail-chasing behavior that gives the disease its name.  Whirling disease does not affect humans, so you don’t have to be concerned about eating trout.  You can help control the disease, however, by thoroughly cleaning your fishing equipment. Also, never move fish from one body of water to another, as infected fish could spread the disease to trout populations that were previously unaffected.
For more information, see the CPW’s Whirling Disease webpage as well as their Aquatic Research site.  You can also learn about whirling disease in numerous research studies and publications available from our library, including the following.  Items without hyperlinks can be checked out in print.

Photo by David Hanigan, Colorado Parks & Wildlife