Recent sightings
pronghorn on ridge

The pronghorns are gathered into one herd of 29 and are roaming the entire PCC area. Look for them out in the middle of the area. Look for them to move ahead of you if you are walking north on Soddie Road.

Look for exquisite views of the pronghorns, as you see in the picture to the left. Keep a good eye out for a coyote near the herd. I've seen coyotes stalking the herd often.

Coyote's won't have much luck killing an adult pronghorn, but in June when the fawns are born, they may kill a number of the newborn, if they can find them in the grass. Once the fawns are six weeks old, they can outrun a coyote and are a lot safer.

On a recent hike around the main trails, I spotted five coyotes, the first time in a few years I've seen more than two or three on a single day. Four of these were in the riparian area. They were in the willows until their mating activity had them blasting out of the willows, with males chasing famales and trying to mate with them.

I saw the fifth coyote in the middle of a large prairie dog colony walking nonchalently in the direction of the pronghorn herd which was near the cattle pens on the ridge to the east.

Audie Brinkmeier saw a sixth one, at the same time I was watching the other five, near the nature center, pouncing on a vole in the grass.

coyote showalter

The meadowlarks have returned and can be heard singing. I suspect only the males are back, with the females to return.

In previous winters, a cadre of these birds remained at PCC, but this year, for some reason, we were without them for several months.

Perhaps they knew we would have several cold snaps and know that this will be a mild end of winter and return of spring.

 

The pair of great-horned owls who were hanging around in the trees just to the south of the large pond disappeared for a while. Then, while the staff was out doing some training for upcoming school programs, someone spotted the head and tufts of an owl in the nest in Lone Tree. I checked twice since than have seen movement and the distinctive ear tufts in the nests.

All winter, a pair of great-horned owls and their young hung around the picnic shelter, up in the rafters. Lee spotted one of the adults on a nest in a pine behind the mews. Please stay away from that area so you don't distrub mom as she incubates her eggs.

gh owl
ferruginous hawk

The ferruginous hawks reported in previous months have remained in the area and can be spotted on almost any walk near the riparian area.

Their primary diet consists of prairie dogs, so they are very happy with the proliferation of the dogs. Look for them on the fence posts and in the prairie dog colonies to the east of Tollgate Creek.

Go to the Animal and Plant of the month Go to the PCC home page