The Mischevious World of Otters

Otters just wanna have fun! These wild little carnivores always seem to be clowning around, romping in and out of the water, sometimes crunching on their favorite meal — crayfish. They clamber up and down the banks of our rivers exploring, hunting and hiding to, seemingly, create mischief. Although native to Colorado, the otter population was trapped out in the early 1900s, decimated from the fur trade and habitat destruction. The population, at the time, was sparse to begin with. Finally, in 1976, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, now the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPAW), began a reintroduction and introduced more than 100 river otters to various Colorado rivers between 1976 and 1991. “Most of the reintroductions focused on West Slope rivers in the upper Colorado, Gunnison, and the Green and Yampa Rivers, with partners in Utah,” explains Eric Odell, species conservation program manager with CPAW. “And, since then, we’ve […]

Blog, Environment

Trusting Our Future To Nature

There are a couple types of land trusts but most common to the public is when a private, not-for-profit organization actively works to conserve land by assisting in land conservation easement procurement. And we have our own, home-grown land trust right here in Eagle County, the Eagle Valley Land Trust (EVLT) that does just that. Not knowing exactly what a land conservator like EVLT does and what their work means to a community has fostered some interesting assumptions. Are these just a bunch of tree-huggers who are simply determined to keep land use out of reach to those pesky human beings? Are these people just concerned about keeping the wide-open spaces out of the hands of the evil developers? Let’s begin with what EVLT is not–it is not an anti-development organization, hell-bent on looking to throw itself in front of the wrecking ball to stop the wheels of progress. What […]


Majesty in Our Midst

Eagle River, Eagle County … the valley is aptly named. Both golden and bald e agles are longtime locals – soaring high above our mountain community all year round, adding majesty and legend to the sky. Bald eagles were chosen as our national symbol in 1782 because of their stoicism, large size, imposing presence and hunting prowess. Although, it has been famously argued that Ben Franklin’s choice of the turkey might have been a better fit. Bada boom. Walking Mountain’s Community Outreach Coordinator Peter Suneson, a naturalist and birding enthusiast, said his favorite eagle legend has to do with their part in the creation of Grand Mesa, just west of Vail. “Ute Legend has it that a pair of giant eagles was nesting on Grand Mesa and terrorizing the communities below,” Suneson said. “One day a Ute brave scaled Grand Mesa and threw all the eggs of the nesting eagles […]


Eagle County Wildlife

On a cool, crisp evening in the heart of winter, you’re taking a moonlit walk through the neighborhoods just west of Lionshead Village when you hear a rustling from the pine trees ahead. You hardly think twice about it—could just be the wind—but another round of rustling makes your ears perk up and hair stand on end. Is it a dog? A deer? A bear? A mountain lion? You stop in your tracks and listen to silence. By now your heart is beating a mile a minute and you still haven’t caught sight of whoever—or whatever—is in the trees ahead. Then, with one final rustle, it appears: a red fox, one of the most common predators in Eagle County and easily one of the most skittish. He (or she) is frightened but sticks around long enough for a final look at this odd, two-legged creature before disappearing back into the […]

Environment, Featured Stories

Hummingbirds Feeding our Souls – The Hummingbirds of Eagle County

It flits. It flutters. It fascinates us. And if one gets very close, it’s as though you’ve somehow been specially chosen to enjoy its dance. Then, in a blink of the eye it’s gone. And you’re left savoring the moment you’ve just experienced; a few seconds that will delight. It’s that extraordinary and, in its own way, feeds your soul. The flight of a hummingbird is mesmerizing. When they are flying, hummingbirds have a heartbeat of about 1,200 beats per minute and an average wing-beat rate of about 53 per second in normal flight. In fact, their name comes from the hum of their wings, which beat faster than the eye can discern. The smallest of all birds, they weigh only between one and three ounces. They can fly forward, or backward, do somersaults or hover. Their long tongues, which extend far beyond their bills, are uniquely designed to extract nectar from deep within tubular flowers. However, these birds don’t just suck up nectar. Instead, they lick it and then capillary action moves […]


One for the (Winter) Birds!

For most of us who live in the high country the word “winter” conjures up visions of sitting around a warm fire, eating hot soup, or heading up a mountain on a perfect Colorado blue sky day dressed from head to toe in clothing that keeps us warm and toasty – no matter how frigid the weather might turn. Not so if you’re one of our fine feathered friends! Oh, no. If you were one of the thousands of birds that make Eagle County your home for the winter, you would find a nice warm hole in a dense spruce tree. That’s the ticket for staying warm. No fire. No soup. No clothing. And, feathers can do just so much! Even elk head down to lower elevations and bears hole up for the duration. But lots of feisty birds make Eagle County their winter home and get by each day […]

Blog, Environment, Vail

Hey Vail! Take a Walk on the Wild Side

I thought I would share a few wild photos that were captured in the past couple of days. Wild animals, that is. We spotted a herd of big horn sheep in East Vail yesterday and the moose was spotted today in Eagle-Vail. I owe a lot to my husband and to my friends for calling me the second they see the cool animals so I can follow up with my camera! Thanks Coop, Joe, and Nell! We live in a pretty amazing place with these “backyard” sights! Right?! Just in case anyone is wondering, I have a big zoom lens on my camera, so these beautiful animals had plenty space to be themselves 🙂 Thanks for looking!  Photos: Katie Fiedler Anderson    

Environment, Featured Stories

this STING is really going to hurt

Has anyone given thought to the impact bees have on our everyday needs? When bees have access to good nutrition, we have access to good nutrition. Bees are integral to our bountiful harvest of fruits and vegetables. As she begins her presentation for a TEDtalk, Maria Spivak, the University of Minnesota’s McKnight University Professor of Apiculture/Social Insects, introduces two slides.  The first is a photo of a food market’s produce department, filled to the brim with an array of mouthwatering, colorful fruits and vegetables; the second shows the same produce section but, this time, with empty bins and only a smidgen of color. “This is our life with bees,” Spivak begins, as the first slide comes into focus. “And this is our life without bees,” she continues, as she points to the second photo. “Bees are the most important pollinators of our fruits and vegetables and flowers and crops, like […]