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Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Posted By David Mendosa On November 4, 2014 @ 12:01 am In Photography | No Comments

As Sharon and I returned from Staunton State Park last week, we passed through the town of Morrison, where ​red ​sandstone rock formations provide a dramatic backdrop for outdoor concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheatre [1]. But to Colorado’s birders it is equally famous for the bird feeders behind the Trading Post [2].

This is one of the few places anywhere where we can see all three species of rosy-finches, and we have usually gone there in winter.​ But this time, in late fall and in the middle of the day, we were trying our luck.

We got it.

We were happy to find several Oregon-form Dark-Eyed Juncos in the rock gardens. Sharon and I both appreciate its subtle colors. While these are common birds that often come to my own bird feeders, they have been difficult for me to photograph. Until now.

The Colors of an Oregon-form Dark Eyed Junco Match Those of the Rocks [3]

The Colors of an Oregon-form Dark Eyed Junco Match Those of the Rocks

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A Junco Finds Seeds to Eat​​​ [4]

A Junco Finds Seeds to Eat

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Colorado Chipmunks aren’t much bigger than the birds at Red Rocks, but the birds leave when the chipmunks approach. These chipmunks are endemic to the four Southwestern States ​of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico and are one of four species of chipmunks that we have in Colorado. I think that this is a particularly attractive specimen, maybe because it is well fed.

A Colorado Chipmunk Enjoys a Seed for Lunch [5]

A Colorado Chipmunk Enjoys a Seed for Lunch

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​​​W​e have found several Blue Jays, Gray Jays, and Steller’s Jays lately. But this was the first W​estern Scrub-Jay​ we have seen in quite a while. Here it rests on the same rock that the Colorado Chipmunk occupied a few minutes earlier.​​

This is One Smart Bird [6]

This is One Smart Bird

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​Western ​S​crub​-J​ays, along with several other corvids, are among the most intelligent​ animals. The brain-to-body mass ratio of adult ​Western Scrub​-J​ays rivals that of chimpanzees​, ​whales, dolphins, and porpoises​. Only that of some humans is greater. ​These smart birds are also the only non-primate or non-dolphin ​that we know can plan ahead. ​They can remember ​the ​locations of ​more than​ 200 food caches as well as ​what food ​they stored ​in each cache.​ But I wonder if they enjoy the music where they live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

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[1] Red Rocks Amphitheatre: http://redrocksonline.com/

[2] Trading Post: http://redrocksonline.com/special-events/weddings-meetings/our-facility/trading-post-backyard

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