What rarities have been spotted lately? Colorado Field Ornithologists maintains an online rare bird alert known as COBirds. You must be subscribed to post a message to COBirds, but anyone may view the archive. There is also a similar list entitled COBirders, which may be found on Yahoo groups.
COVID-19 message from the El Paso County Nature Centers
In response to the COVID-19 health pandemic, your El Paso County Nature Centers are doing their part to keep citizens connected to nature while using wise physical distancing practices. It is well documented that time spent outdoors in nature helps reduce stress, is linked to better sleep, and reduced depression.
First, we have updated our website https://communityservices.elpasoco.com/nature-centers/ with helpful, downloadable Outdoor Guides, Activities, and Resources for you to engage with yourself or your immediate family to enhance your outdoor activities or to enhance your at home school endeavors. Check out the Family Outdoor Activities Passport, A Guide to Common Trees of Bear Creek Nature Center, Fountain Creek & Bear Creek Junior Naturalist Journals, Spring Bingo, and A Guide to Common Tracks & Scat of Bear Creek Nature Center. Coming soon will be the Podcast Guide to Fountain Creek Nature Trail and more!
Second, the staff of the nature centers are actively creating videos to be posted on the nature centers Facebook page (Bear Creek Nature Center & Fountain Creek Nature Center) on a variety of topics to assist you in your daily walks, backyard, and at-home classroom pursuits. Look for posts on Backyard Magic Spots, Santa Fe Regional Trail & Ponderosa Pine Trees, Make Your Own Birdfeeder, and more to come! Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Instagram.
Lastly, these are unusual and challenging times for many of us and we hope you enjoy these resources. Thankfully, we do not need to distance ourselves from the beauty and healing found in the nature. May the trails and open spaces of El Paso County Parks and Nature Centers bring you solace and peace!
The staff of Bear Creek & Fountain Creek Nature Centers
El Paso County Parks, Recreation & Community Services
245 Bear Creek Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
From I-25 Exit 141, go west on US Hwy 24 to 26th Street. Turn left (south) on 26th and proceed about 2 miles to Bear Creek Road.
Open Tuesday – Saturday, 9 am – 4 pm. Closed on major holidays. Please note—if a holiday falls on a Monday, the nature center is closed on the following Tuesday.
Hike the foothills, search for mule deer, and discover Bear Creek! Scrub oak thicket, ponderosa pine forests, meadows, a mountain creek, and abundant foothills wildlife attract children and adults to Bear Creek Regional Park and Nature Center. Interpretive programs, special events, guided and self-guided tours, and media presentations are offered all year.
Outside, two miles of self-guiding nature trails wind through the short grass prairie, scrub oak woodlands and cottonwood riparian communities. The nature trails are for “foot traffic only” and pets are prohibited.
The nature center offers nature-related programs for all ages. Register online. Call 719-520-6387 for more information and to register by phone.
320 Pepper Grass Lane, Fountain, CO 80817
From I-25 Exit 132A, go east on CO 16 to US Hwy 85, then south one-half mile. Turn west on Cattail Marsh Rd to parking area.
Open Tuesday – Saturday 9 am – 4pm. The nature center is closed on major holidays. Please note—If a holiday falls on a Monday, the center is closed on the following Tuesday.
Several man-made ponds along Fountain Creek attract a variety of wildlife, including deer, weasels, rodents, and of course, birds. The center also has an extensive series of classes for toddlers through adults. While the Center is closed on Mondays, the trails are open and available every day.
The nature center offers nature-related programs for all ages. Register online. Call 719-520-6745 for more information and to register by phone.
Big Johnson Reservoir
The Fountain Mutual Irrigation Company began pumping water into the reservoir in January 2020, and will continue to add water until mid-March. It will take a few years to completely fill the reservoir, but the birds have returned. With the rising water level, the homes of the small creatures who had moved into the drying basin are being flooded, and hungry raptors are taking advantage of the easy meals. Will the shallow water attract migrating waders this spring?
Chico Basin Ranch is currently closed due to COVID-19
Venetucci Farm Birding
The self-guided birding trail at Venetucci is currently closed. However, David Rudin occasionally leads bird hikes on the property. Visit the website for more information.
Pinello Ranch is closed. We will keep you posted should the situation change.
Colorado Birding Trails
Join us on the Colorado Birding Trail and experience a wildlife adventure of your own! Explore Colorado’s incredible diversity of wildlife and the habitats they depend on in an unbelievably spectacular setting. From the dry grasslands of the short-grass prairie to the snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado has more than 400 species of birds for you to seek, find and observe in a seemingly endless variety of fantastic habitats. See you on the trail!
You can pick up hard copies of the Colorado Birding Trail booklets at the Dept. of Wildlife office at 4255 Sinton Rd. They’re free! The information is also available online.
Birding Sites by Colorado County
This site contains a very helpful interactive map of hotspots, synced with eBird, checklists for each county, and special species and habitats: Colorado County Birding
Looking for a great local viewing spot for Bald Eagles or have a hawk migration location to share with fellow bird lovers? Check out Audubon’s raptor map—which includes everything from raptor rehab facilities and Audubon nature centers to great places for hawk and eagle watching. Add your favorite raptor spot, share photos and leave tips for other birders. Post a raptor hot spot or find one near you.
(Note that the map is merely illustrated at right, and is not interactive on this website. Click on the links to get the “real” one.)