By the end of our visit to the cabin in Bailey, CO we had seen a remarkable list of birds and animals. We’d been on a hike in the nearby Pike National Forest, visited a quarry to hunt for amazonite crystals and eaten everything from elk to quail. What we discovered is that the best wildlife viewing may be in your own backyard. As our friend Mark pointed out, when you walk the trails in the National Forest, the animals and birds are often hiding. You may here a few twittering birds in the distance but you don’t ordinarily see birds and animals.

Sitting on the deck of their cabin, we saw an AMAZING range of birds and animals. The birds are all habituated to the people on the deck by the bird feeders.

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The broad-tailed hummingbirds visit their feeder, while chickadees, nuthatches, black-headed grosbeak, and red-wing blackbird visit for the seeds. Stellar’s jay and nutcrackers come by for the peanuts wedged in the branches and perched on top of the fence posts. Bluebirds were building a nest in a dead tree down the road. We watched a red-tailed hawk harried by a raven and a red-winged blackbird.

Animals are protected by the prohibition against hunting near houses and roads. As a result, they roam more freely among the houses than you would imagine. In four days we fed the ground squirrels, squirrels and chipmunks, saw mule deer wading across the shallows of the lake and browsing their way across the hill below us, male and female red fox and their four kits (one of the adults is a black morph with a fluffy white-tipped tail. On the drive from the cabin to dinner at The Fort, in Morrison, CO, we watched a coyote raid a red-winged blackbird’s nest, pounce, and eat a baby bird. By the time we left the cabin we were only waiting on the extremes: elk, moose, mountain sheep, and bear. Today, after we left, this is what Jonathan got on his cell phone:

3 hrs after you left!!!

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Young moose wading in the lake. Mark and Marcy’s cabin in the background…….

Who knows how much longer it would be before we saw the others!

The moral of the story is that sitting on the deck looking at the gorgeous surroundings may be a more effective way to see wildlife than hiking through the National Forest. 6.4.15-011 6.4.15-010

Who knew? And the views…

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I recommend a week in the mountains to cure…..everything.

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