Welcome to the
Black Canyon Audubon Society

Black Canyon Audubon Society was formed in 1990 and is one of eleven National Audubon Society chapters in Colorado. We are committed to the conservation of natural resources through our birding, conservation and educational activities.

Chapter Goals

  • To promote the conservation of natural resources through informative public programs, our newsletter and this web site.
  • To provide the opportunity for the observation and study of birds and other wildlife, through our field trips.
  • To offer early education programs including bird banding stations and classroom bird skin programs.
  • To empower our members and the public with the knowledge to be effective environmental advocates.
  • To contribute to the recovery of the the Gunnison Sage Grouse (GUSG) through through joint efforts with GUSG working groups and federal and state agencies.

Geographic Range

The region covered by the Black Canyon Audubon society consists of Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, San Miguel and Ouray Counties. It encompasses nearly 8300 square miles, an area slightly larger than the state of New Jersey. Within this region, elevations vary from 4,695 to 14,309 feet above sea level. Rainfall ranges from less than eight inches per year in the lower valleys to more than fifty on the higher peaks. Vegetation varies from desert scrub to boreal forest and alpine tundra.


 Other Information of Interest

Bird Deaths in Western Colorado

You may have heard recently on KVNF radio that Paonia residents have been finding numerous dead house finches.  It turns out the culprit is salmonella that is killing songbirds in the Paonia area. According to Brenda Miller of Roubideau Rim Wildlife Rescue in Olathe, salmonella carried in the bird’s feces/urine causes diarrhea, resulting in dehydration and death.  When birds congregate at feeders (not just house finches), their droppings get on or in the feeder and the ground, spreading the disease to other birds using the feeder or picking up spilled seed on the ground below.  

Colorado Parks and Wildlife advised KVNF listeners to wash their feeders with bleach at least once a week, then leave them to dry in the sun.  However, Brenda notes that as soon as a cleaned feeder is hung, infected birds show up in a matter of minutes, continuing the spread of the disease.  Instead, Brenda recommends that all birdfeeders should be taken down and not be put back up.  As hard as it is for those of us who love feeding birds and seeing them so closely, she recommends that we stop feeding birds forever, for the protection of the birds from disease.  She notes that birds in the wild do not naturally congregate in the same place to feed day after day, therefore, minimizing the spread of disease.


Yellow-Billed Cuckoos

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list the western population of the yellow-billed cuckoo as an endangered species.  Three units of habitat in the BCAS area are under consideration: the North Fork of the Gunnison River in Delta County, the Gunnison River in Gunnison County, and the Uncompahgre River in Delta, Montrose, and Ouray counties.  Click on the links below to see maps of these units.  The critical habitats all appear to be the floodplains of these rivers that are well covered with trees.

North Fork of the Gunnison Map     Uncompahgre River Map     Gunnison River Map

This is copied directly from the USFWS information page about the potential listing:

Critical habitat is a term in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that identifies geographic areas containing features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species, and which may require special management considerations or protection. Designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge or preserve, and has no impact on private landowners taking actions on their land that do not require federal funding or permits.

On October 3, 2013, the Service proposed to list the western DPS of the yellow-billed cuckoo as a threatened species under the ESA in the western United States, Canada and Mexico. The listing proposal, which is based on the best scientific data available, cites threats from loss of riparian habitat and habitat fragmentation as a result of conversion of land to agriculture, dams and river flow management, bank protection, overgrazing and competition from exotic plants as key factors in the decline of the western yellow-billed cuckoo.

The Service is seeking information concerning the western yellow-billed cuckoo’s biology and habitat, threats to the species and current efforts to protect the bird. The Service also seeks information on the incremental economic effects of the proposed critical habitat designation.

Comments on the proposed critical habitat rule will be accepted through October 14, 2014. Comments may be submitted online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. The docket number for the proposed rule is FWS–R8–ES–2013-0011. Comments can also be sent by U.S. Mail or Hand Delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–ES–R8–2013–0011; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

Proposed Marine Road Park is Now an eBird Hotspot

As part of the initial evaluation work at the proposed Marine Road Park in Montrose, we have worked with eBird to have the location specified as a birding Hot Spot.  This means that it appears as a Hot Spot on the eBird map, and data from the site can be easily added to and accessed by those who are interested.  We encourage birders to visit the parcel and enter the birds they identify into eBird so that we can compile a detailed and complete checklist of birds throughout the year.  We expect to use this information for interpretive, planning, and management purposes.  When you visit, please park on the west side of Marine Road for safety.  The parcel is unmarked, unfenced, and unimproved, but is city property and open for access.  The wetlands are east of the drier uplands.  Both are rich and diverse habitats.  We are hoping to keep the wetlands as pristine as possible, so please view from their western edge and be conscious of limiting your disturbance of birds and animals while visiting.  In particular, please do not allow dogs to run free or, better yet, visit without them.



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