Yellowstone Reports

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Yellowstones Resident Birds

YA class
by Dan Hartman

Nov. 22, 2014

     I tried a new class at the YA this Fall called Yellowstone's Resident Birds.  Our goal was to observe the few birds that brave the long Yellowstone winter instead of migrating to warmer climates.  In theory it seemed sound.

     On day one, following orientation and lunch we set off for a hike behind Junction Butte.  This is always a good spot to see nuthatches and woodpeckers.  Well, we couldn't find a single bird until we were almost back when a hairy woodpecker appeared to save the day.  What we did come across however, was a mousing mountain fox, some bighorn on the Butte and ten beautiful bull elk that raced above us single file.

     Day two we made a bee-line to my cabin just after dawn.  There's always plenty of birds at my feeders and thank goodness they didn't disappoint.  Grosbeaks, stellers and gray jays, clarks nutcrackers, hairy woodpeckers, chickadees and of course turkeys entertained us.

     After lunch we headed for the woods above our cabin in search of grouse or maybe a three-toed woodpecker.  An owl would be nice too!  Well, we climbed all the way up to my pika colony without seeing one mumbling bird!  No pika showed either.

     On the way back to the Ranch we watched dippers and magpies but nothing else of consequence.

     The weather was good for the two days after we had just come out of a cold stretch.  Why the forests were so quiet?  I really don't know, but everyone had a good time anyway.  Any day you walk the woods is a good day, although I wouldn't expect this class to be offered next year. 


View slide show

Pine Grosbeak

Class Participants

Mousing Fox

Bighorn On The Butte

Ermine Tracks

Examining A Horn

Bull Elk

Iris From Last Summer

Looking For Pica

Stellers Jay