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Seeing Magpies, Beaver and a Singing Eagle in Aspen

I’m in Aspen while my husband moderates a panel on the Rooftop Comedy Festival so I went to check out the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. I thought I had arrived just in time to go on one of  their summer beaver lodge walks. But I’m just a bit early. They do them all summer, two nights a week. The center is closed after 5 otherwise, so you can’t do the walk on your own. I’m curious whether a beaver lodge in front of the Aspen Art Museum is still active.


The lodge itself is on the bank and not very obvious, one of the workers, Olivia told us. They’ve put fencing and chicken wire around trees all over their property to protect them from the beavers. And they still have to undo complicated and well-constructed beaver-made waterworks, she says. But it’s amazing to have such an important species right there–the center is walkable from downtown Aspen.

The center itself has two non-releaseable birds,  a great-horned owl and a golden eagle, who sang for us.

Outside the center I was lucky enough to see a great horned owl, mobbed by sparrows, chase after them.  I saw a bat and a couple ground squirrels. Swifts are all around town.  Everything is bear-proof here. People talk about bears like they are a thing of the past–at least in town. Elk are seen out of town on route 82, but that’s considered more of a driving hazard than an animal watching opportunity.

My favorite animal I’ve seen so far are the magpies. They hang around, looking for food. Though, they are generally so skittish that they fly away if I even look interested in them.

Where to Go to See Wildlife Out West

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