Wildlife - Birds
Swallows (right) are found in areas where there is a ready and accessible supply of small insects. They are particularly fond of open pasture with access to water and quiet farm buildings. Large reed beds in late summer and early autumn can be good places to look for pre-migration roosts. Swallows are small birds with dark glossy blue backs, red throats, pale under parts and long distinctive tail streamers.
Highly visible to humans the Burrowing Owl (above) is a small ground dwelling bird, who is frequently seen bobbing up and down while perched. In Colorado Burrowing Owls are a migratory species who winter in Mexico or Central America.
Burrowing owls are found in grasslands, mountain parks, prairies and other agricultural land. They prey on small rodents, small birds, reptiles and insects.
Listed as a threatened species in Colorado, the owl is being squeezed out by development.
The Swainson’s Hawk (below) has a body length of 17 - 22 inches, a 4 - 4 1/2 foot wingspan, and weighs 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 pounds. The scientific name comes from the Latin word buteo, which is a kind of falcon or hawk, and the Latinized name from the English naturalist William Swainson. This hawk can be found in open grasslands, prairies, farmlands, and deserts that have some trees for nesting. Swainson’s Hawks and Broad-winged Hawks rely heavily on insects during the winter, therefore making them the most migratory of the North American buteo hawks.
Swainson’s Hawks mainly hunt mice, ground squirrels, rabbits, birds, and reptiles during the breeding season, and largely live off insects like grasshoppers, locust, and beetles during the non-breeding season. Swainson’s Hawks usually hunt by swooping down from a perch or while walking along the ground, and may hunt in teams. This hawk will follow tractors or stay close to prairie fires in search of disturbed or fleeing prey.
Swallows gather over the Arkansas River.
Swainson's Hawk perched on a fence in the Eastern Plains of Colorado