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Features

  • Late June and early July are probably the most beautiful time of year in the mountains. Rain has finally come in enough quantity to restore life to the foothills and everything is lush green.
    It is so green that you might think you are in Ireland. The grasses are green, the trees are green, kinnikinnick is green, our whole immediate world is green with blue sky overhead, and around every twist of a road or trail you are greeted by a splash of color from wildflowers.

  • When I was a working mother, busy raising my children, my family bought me a T-shirt for Mother’s Day that read, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”  We had a good laugh, and I wore the shirt with pride.
    This was not only a statement about my personality, but a description of a woman’s role in many families. Studies show that among the many duties women take on in their families is coordinating health care services —sometimes at the expense of their own.  

  • I have been re-reading the new book “Songbird Journeys” by Miyoko Chu. Since I read it the first time and mostly late at night, I didn’t retain some of its wonderful information.
    So I am finding it most informative the second time around. Many of you have written or called me with questions about bird migration, so I had planned to write such an article for some time.

  • In last week’s column, I promised to write about hummingbirds this week. To old-timers, I apologize for one more article about hummingbirds, but I receive more phone calls about hummingbirds than any other bird and most of these callers say, “I know you have written about hummingbirds before, but I didn’t save the article, so I need you to write about them again.” The most frequent request is the formula for making syrup to feed hummingbirds.

  • Cheers for the sailors that
    fought on the wave for it,
    Cheers for the soldiers that always were brave for it,
    Tears for the men that went down to the grave for it,
    Here comes the flag!
    — “The Flag,”
    by Arthur Macy

    The cool wind on Memorial Day made Old Glory whisper in appreciation of soldiers who lost their lives and the families who supported them.

  • One of the most beloved birds across America is the little chipping sparrow.
    This little red-capped sparrow probably lived in or along the edge of natural openings in the forest, such as along streams and lakeshores or along the edge of natural clearings where trees had blown down or died from old age or other reasons.

  • When I think of terns, I usually think of ocean shores, but there is one beautiful little tern that is found across the United States and Canada on small fresh water inland ponds, especially on prairie sloughs: the black tern.

  • Children, books and a different culture infused the theme of a special day for kids on April 30 at the Idaho Springs Public Library. El Día de los Niños/los Libros — The Day for Kids/Books — started with a room full of kids bobbing their heads to the music of local band Catch Bigger Fish.

  • The next two months are the most exciting time of the year to all birders. They are the months of spring migration, when thousands of birds move from South and Central America to their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada.
    It is not quite clear why birds make this journey of thousands of miles twice a year, but they do. Many of them migrate at night.
    Unseen, they pass overhead with no one the wiser except for hearing their call notes. Call notes are short chirps that birds use to keep their flocks together in flight.

  • Oh, how good the sweet fresh air feels. I am sitting in the yard at the Life Care Center, and I can’t begin to describe what a pleasure it is to get outside.
    Yesterday was Friday, March 18, and a small band of mule deer wandered through the yard. The band included one male, two females and one young.
    He was no longer spotted but was very small. I wondered if it would make it through the winter.

  • Reprinted from Feb. 21, 2007

    It was late afternoon when I first noticed fog drifting through the valley between Bear Mountain and Stanley Mountain. When a front sags down out of Canada on the plains, it often brings with it an upslope condition, which causes either snow or fog. In this case, the cold front turned the warm air into fog.

  • One of the few deciduous trees native to this area is the box elder, Acer negundo, also known as the ash-leaved maple. It is an interesting tree that has made its way all across the Great Plains with a little help from mankind.
    People brought this tree to their early homesteads and planted it in yards as windbreaks around their homes. It is still found in many yards and along many plains water courses.

  • Twenty-five years ago, before surfing the Internet was one of the world’s favorite sports, I kept a personal computer in a spare bedroom upstairs, complete with a keyboard, mouse, pad and PCU with a miniature monitor that sat on top.  

  • February looms ahead, the last really winter month with little to offer except more sunshine and Valentine’s Day.
    This is not to say that March will be spring for it is the month when we receive our greatest snowfall. Its only redeeming grace is that it has nice spring-like days between snow storms, robins begin to sing their evening song, the days are longer and there is a definite feeling that spring is coming, even though we may be clobbered with two feet of snow the next day.

  • Light snows and bitter cold weather have been the trend in January. It is the kind of weather that makes me want to curl up by the fireplace and read. Since this is the kind of weather we have had for over a month, I should be caught up with my reading, but I’m not.
    There are just so many good new books out that I can’t find enough time. However, there are a few books I’ve read or have read about lately that I fell many readers of this column may find interesting.

  • Nearly every winter just after a snow storm, people call me to ask about a beautiful bird at their feeder. It is described in several ways, but usually along the lines that it is mostly black with a lot of purple and green on it, and its whole body is spattered with white stars. When I tell them it sounds like a starling, almost without exception, they reply, “Why, no, it’s not a starling. It’s beautiful.”

  • As the holidays finally came to a close, a brief winter storm left about five inches of snow on the ground around the yard. It also brought bitter cold weather with temperatures way below zero.
    However, this is not surprising since January is usually our coldest month. Winter is here. It is the one month that I would gladly leave this area for someplace warmer.

  • When wondering what was new in Our Evergreen World that I could write about this week, I discovered three noteworthy items.

    Christmas Bird Count on Sunday
    First and foremost is that Sunday, Dec. 19, is the 2010 Christmas Bird Count. This international event is sponsored locally by Evergreen Audubon.

  • Tis’ the season to be jolly
    What a nice sentiment for the holidays, but not everybody thinks so. If you’re feeling blue this holiday, you are apparently not alone. Nearly 7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older is affected by major depressive disorder.