Bird Watch

Reporting the latest bird observations from Cheyenne Bottoms

Hit the road, but not the birds

With the snow finally starting to melt, many of us are hitting the roads to break the cabin fever. However, we are not the only ones who notice the open highways these days, as many small songbirds are flocking by the hundreds to these open areas. Because of the heavy snows recently, much of the plant community is unavailable to be used as food for the songbirds. And with the only open patches now being the [...]

Hungry birds at KWEC


After last night’s snow, there has been a spike in bird activity around our feeders here at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center. Birds require lots of food to maintain their high metabolism and to keep their body temperature up. In the winter (especially after a snow), food such as seeds and insects are not easy to come by, which leads the birds to feeders. Our hungry visitors include red-winged blackbirds, American goldfinches, Harris’s sparrows, and [...]

Cheyenne Bottoms Christmas Bird Count

Participants scan for birds

Thirteen observers conducted the Cheyenne Bottoms CBC on Tuesday December 18th.  The lack of significant water and poor grassland conditions made for a challenging day for birding.  However, the weather conditions were nearly ideal for December. We tallied 76 species and a total of 118,527 individuals with the following notes of interest:   a Brown Thrasher, two Double-crested Cormorants, 135 Northern Harriers, 34 Rough-legged Hawks and three Townsend’s Solitaires which was a new Barton County bird [...]

Quivira NWR Bus Tours–Oct. 13

USFWS logo

For those who want to see the sandhill crane soar, hear the quacking of ducks and geese, and have help identifying the falcon, or a pheasant, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is offering free bus tours and lunch with the guidance of experts. The Quivira staff and Friends of Quivira would like to help those who have visited and want to know more.  They are offering free guided bus tours of Quivira on Saturday, Oct. 13.  [...]

Red-necked Stint

To some folks, counting peeps is just like counting sheep. The drab little birds all look the same and may put you to sleep soon enough. With time and patience you might one day realize that one of these birds is not like the other, the black sheep so to speak; although, the contrast might not be as obvious. But the reward is great for those who seek the hidden treasures of Quivira, in spite [...]

Snowy Plover Crossing

Snowy Plover

Why did the Snowy Plover cross the road? To find a place to hide. At Cheyenne Bottoms a few family groups have been seen foraging along the gravel roadways, especially near the outhouse. Adults can fly to safety; however, downy chicks must run for dear life. While slowly passing the Snowy Plovers, I saw two unfortunate chicks that had not made it to the other side. So, please remember to drive with care. In Kansas, [...]

Tricolored Heron

Tricolored Heron

The Tricolored Heron is a coastal resident and every once in awhile an individual is found inland. Today a visitor reported a Tricolored Heron at Cheyenne Bottoms amongst the usual assortment of herons, egrets, and gulls scavenging on fish. This afternoon, the heron was still present in the corner of Pool 1C, by the outhouse. While the lighting was less than ideal, I captured a photo that provides a good visual comparison. On the far [...]

Say What?

Wetland birds attract a lot of attention at Cheyenne Bottoms and with good reason. However, there’s remarkable bird diversity in the surrounding area.  Our grassland residents have also been trickling in and might go unnoticed to the casual observer. This Say’s Phoebe was photographed by the headquarters of Cheyenne Bottoms. The photographer, Michael Andersen, noted that a singing male was seen visiting a nest in one of the sheds. While preferring open habitat, nests are [...]