Raptors to return to Broomfield as spring approaches

Different types of raptors are expected to soar into Broomfield with spring around the corner.

The birds return for two reasons — nesting to breed and the return of migratory species, according to a Broomfield Open Space and Trails newsletter. They are a key component of a healthy ecosystem.

The great horned owl maintains its territory year-round and it’s nesting period is from late February through March. The owls lay one to five eggs with a 35-day incubation period, according to the newsletter. The owlets develop wings large enough for flight at anywhere from six to 10 weeks.

The red-tailed hawk can also be seen building and occupying nests in early spring. The young are typically seen from April through the summer, the newsletter noted.

Swainson’s hawk and the burrowing owl, both migratory raptors, can be seen in Broomfield as they return to their breeding grounds on the shortgrass prairie east of the Front Range, the newsletter said. The burrowing owl is a state threatened species and they usually use prairie dog burrows for their nests. The golden eagle, bald eagle and American white pelican are also migratory raptors that may be spotted.

For those interested in viewing birds in Broomfield, the newsletter suggests the Metzger Farm Open Space, 102080 Lowell Blvd., “where a rookery high in the cottonwoods draws quite an avian spectacle each spring.”

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