Submitted by Libby Hodgincanal
Birders flock to the High Line Canal to get a glimpse of Bohemian Waxwings in January 2023, a decade after the last Front Range flock sighting
Centennial, CO (January 24, 2023) – During the Denver Christmas Bird Count 135 birders counted 90 species and 30,147 individual birds. Along the Canal at Three Ponds Park in Cherry Hills Village birder Kristen Miller spotted a Bohemian Waxwing amid a flock of Cedar Waxwings. This was the first recorded Bohemian sighting in the count’s 35 years. Since Miller’s sighting dozens of Bohemians have been spotted.
According to birder and Conservancy volunteer, Jared Del Rosso, Cedar Waxwings can be found in Colorado year-round but Bohemians, which breed in Canada, Alaska and the far north of Europe and Asia, are much rarer in Colorado. The last time a sizable flock of Bohemian Waxwings were spotted in Colorado was in 2013. Waxwings are drawn to the Canal in Cherry Hills Village for food, specifically consuming Common Buckthorn in cold seasons.
The High Line Canal is an ideal place for urban birders. The Canal has 31 birding hotspots identified along the 71-mile stretch according to eBird. This is more than about twice as many hotspots than those identified in Cherry Creek State Park. The Canal winds through several habitat types and connects to many local parks and open spaces, which create a wildlife corridor that birds and other animals can use to move through urban areas.
Coming up in February is a wonderful opportunity to get out on the Canal and bird watch. Join the Conservancy on Saturday, Feb. 18 for the Great Backyard Bird Count. The annual global community science initiative invites you to get outside and count the birds in your yard or favorite place. This free event will start at 9 a.m. from High Line Canal Conservancy Headquarter (4010 E Orchard Rd, Centennial, CO 80121). Experienced and new birders are invited to come and learn about identifying local birds. For more information about these events and to register, visit: https://highlinecanal.org/great-backyard-bird-count/.