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Birds active and plentiful at Navajo State Park

With all of the recent boating activity on Navajo Lake, many of the water fowl and shore birds have moved to a quieter part of the reservoir.

However, the other birds in Navajo State Park are active and plentiful.

A southwest Colorado favorite, the American Kestrel, can frequently be seen perching on power lines and fences in and around the park. Kestrels are like airborne cats in that they are excellent mousers, preying heavily on mice, voles and other small mammals.? Although they usually hunt from a prominent perch, Kestrels also hover and drop down on their prey, pinning their victims to the ground, giving reference as to why a group of kestrels is collectively called a hover.

Kestrels have extraordinary eyesight and can see small details at great distances. “The Peterson Field Guide to Hawks” states that because birds can perceive ultraviolet light, Kestrels can see the urine stained trail of a rodent in a grassy field. Both sexes have dark “eyes,” or ocelli, on the back of their heads.? These spots are thought to represent “false eyes,” presumably leading predators to think that the kestrels literally “have eyes in the back of their heads.”?

Other birds currently in Navajo State Park include the Western Tanager, several species of swallows, Northern Oriole, Rock and Mourning Doves, Yellow and Townsend’s Warblers, Belted Kingfisher and Red-winged Blackbird, to name only a few.

Navajo State Park is pleased that so many different species of birds can be found within its boundaries. To enable the public to better appreciate and identify the birds in the area, Becky Gillette, regional director of Audubon Colorado, will present a special program about the Birds of Navajo State Park on July 10 at the amphitheater beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Either an annual Colorado State Parks pass or day pass is required on all vehicles entering the park, however, once in the park, all programs and events are free. The environmental programs can be subject to change of dates, so call the visitor center at 883-2208 with questions or to confirm programs.