Prairie, Southwestern Style
The northeast corner of Colorado sits atop a special ecosystem, a mix of desert and prairie known as sandsage. In undisturbed corners of the landscape live tallgrass prairie species from farther east, like Greater Prairie-Chickens and Upland Sandpipers, but with a little southwestern spice in the form of short-horned lizards, rattlesnakes, and Cassin’s Sparrows. Along the river valleys and in the towns, shade trees attract Baltimore, Bullock’s, and Orchard Orioles, and the occasional Northern Cardinal. In summer, Mississippi Kites float over some of the city parks. In the colder months, bodies of open water can be packed with waterfowl, including thousands of Ross’s and Snow Geese.