Birding by Habitat at Wildcat Ranch 5/15/23

Rebecca Weiss

May 15, 2023

Birding by Habitat at Wildcat Ranch 5/15/23

Monday, May 15, 2023, 6:45am-11:30am
Weather: Partly cloudy
Location: Wildcat Ranch, Aspen, CO

It is always a special treat to bird at Wildcat Ranch where iconic western habitats are extensive and largely intact, such as sagebrush shrublands and juniper woodlands. Interspersed with hay meadows, pastures, small ponds and wetlands, and stands of aspen or pines, the overall Wildcat landscape offers pockets of rich habitat filled with birds. We succeeded in finding many Brewer’s Sparrows, denizens of sagebrush shrublands and hard to find elsewhere in the valley. We also observed interactions of Tree Swallows and Mountain Bluebirds at paired nest boxes meant to house Swallows in one and Bluebirds in the other. The highlight of the day was a Virginia Rail that emerged from cattails to forage in the open, even swimming at times. For such a secretive, rarely-seen bird, this was a big treat! Other highlights included a Bullock’s Oriole and an especially bird-filled nook along an irrigation ditch where we saw various Warblers, Woodpeckers, Kinglets, and Chickadees. Join us on Wednesday, May 17 for another spring birding field trip to the Airport Open Space and Radar Road, excellent habitats to explore during the airport’s annual closure through our special permission to access this restricted area.


Species List:

Canada Goose
Ring-necked Duck
Green-winged Teal
Mourning Dove
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Wilson’s Snipe
Virginia Rail
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Lewis’s Woodpecker
Red-naped Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Dusky Flycatcher
Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Mountain Chickadee
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Mountain Bluebird
American Robin
Green-tailed Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Brewer’s Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Bullock’s Oriole
Brown-headed Cowbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Orange-crowned Warbler
MacGillivray’s Warbler
Virginia’s Warbler
Yellow Warbler

~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide

Featured photo: Virginia Rail.

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