Time Machine Tuesday: 1903 Bird Protection Act

Yesterday I wrote about humans' effects on wildlife.  This issue is nothing new.  In 1903, the Colorado Legislature passed an Act providing for the protection of birds and their nests and eggs.  Colorado's Act pre-dated Federal protections that were put in place under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which prohibits the killing or capturing of migratory birds. 

https://dspace.library.colostate.edu/webclient/DeliveryManager/digitool_items/cub01_storage/2014/02/19/file_1/247400Colorado's 1903 Act, which you can read online via the digital Colorado Session Laws, says that "No person shall, within the State of Colorado, kill or catch, or have in his or her possession, living or dead, any wild bird other than a game bird...no part of the plumage, skin, or body of any bird protected by this section shall be sold...[and] no person shall, within the State of Colorado, take or needlessly destroy the nest or the eggs of any wild bird nor shall have such nests or eggs in his or her possession."  Colorado statute still provides for the protection of birds, pursuant to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

What were bird populations like in Colorado in 1903?  The Birds of Colorado, published in 1897 by the State Agricultural College (now Colorado State University), reports that there were at that time 360 known bird species in Colorado.  Today the official count for Colorado is 499 species.  (Source:  http://coloradobirdrecords.org/Reports/StateChecklist.aspx)  To learn more about Colorado's bird species and the state's wildlife protection efforts, visit Colorado Parks & Wildlife or search our library's online catalog and digital repository.


Human Population Growth and its Effect on Wildlife

You can go practically anywhere in the state and see that Colorado's population is booming.  The I-25 corridor, including Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, and the Denver Metropolitan Area, is especially seeing record growth.  More people results in more development, which equals changes and/or reduction in habitat for wildlife.  Therefore wildlife numbers are reduced, and many of those that survive are wandering into urbanized areas.  Predatory animals such as bears, mountain lions, and coyotes have become more dangerous to people and pets due to the building of homes in the animals' natural habitats.  Other wildlife, such as prairie dogs, are being eliminated at fast pace.  Wildlife species are important to our ecosystem, and the loss of their habitat will bring continued changes and ever more frequent interactions with humans.  Not only does building development reduce wildlife habitat, but more roadways and traffic, human-caused wildfires, resource extraction, and other situations are hazardous to wildlife as well. Here are some resources from our library that discuss this trend, and how humans can deal with wildlife interactions in the interest of both human and animal safety.  All publications are issued by the Colorado Division of Wildlife (now Colorado Parks & Wildlife) unless otherwise noted.  For more resources, visit our library's online catalog.


Colorado's Earliest Inhabitants

Much has been written about the Native Americans in Colorado in the nineteenth century, particularly in relation to the whites who were migrating to their land.  But what do we know about the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Ute, and other tribes' early ancestors?  Long before whites had explored and settled in what we now call Colorado, Paleo-Indians called this land home -- and archaeological study is yielding clues about these ancient peoples.

Common wisdom says that Native Americans descend from Asians who crossed the land bridge to what is now Alaska about 15,000 years ago, although this is still under speculation.  However they got here, it is estimated that people may have called Colorado home for as much as 11,000 years.  Evidence of these prehistoric peoples include projectile points (spear/arrowheads); ancient bison and mammoth bones that show signs of having been hunted; remains of dwelling sites; and the 1963 discovery north of Fort Collins of the bones of a woman thought to have died 9,000 years ago.  While many Coloradans today think of the cliff dwellers of Mesa Verde as the "ancient ones," they are, in fact, relatively recent -- having lived in Colorado only about 600 or 700 years ago.

Our library has numerous resources on archaeology and ancient Coloradans, including several great books from the University Press of Colorado (archaeology is one of their specialties):
  • Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains
  • Frontiers in Paleoindian Archaeology:  From the Dent Site to the Rocky Mountains
  • Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology of the Colorado High Country
  • Ice Age Hunters of the Rockies
  • Late Paleoindian Occupation of the Southern Rocky Mountains:  Early Holocene Projectile Points and Land Use in the High Country
  • Prehistory in Peril:  The Worst and Best of Durango Archaeology
  • In the Shadow of the Rocks:  Archaeology of the Chimney Rock District in Southern Colorado
The Colorado Historical Society (now History Colorado) includes an Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, which houses the State Archaeologist and oversees Colorado archaeological sites in cooperation with the Federal Government, who owns much of the land containing archaeological resources.  Some of their publications include:
Other resources in our library collection that tell the story of ancient Coloradans include resources from the Colorado Department of Transportation's archaeology unit, which detail specific investigationsTo find these and other resources visit our library's online catalog. 


Time Machine Tuesday: Buffalo Creek, 20 Years Later

In July of 1996 -- twenty years ago this month -- the town of Buffalo Creek was hit by a disastrous flash flood that took two lives and caused severe damage to property. 

Buffalo Creek is located in the western foothills of Jefferson County, about an hour from Denver.  It was founded in 1877.  Known for its hiking and biking trails, the area around Buffalo Creek has been tested several times by wildfire, including the 2000 Hi Meadows Fire and the 2002 Hayman Fire. 

The 1996 flood disaster occurred two months after another huge forest fire, this one even closer to the town.  The fire destroyed 18 homes.  According to a Colorado Water Conservation Board report issued in March, 1997, "The cruel irony of the flash flood is that it followed a massive forest fire which burned 12,000 acres of nearby forest land during May 1996.  The combined hardships associated with both of these disasters and the continuing threat of additional flash flooding has produced serious concerns for the remaining residents of Buffalo Creek."  The flood destroyed the town's fire station and community center, damaged several homes, destroyed bridges, and washed out parts of Highway 126.  It also wreaked havoc on the town's water, electricity, and telephone systems.

The denuded landscape along with unusually heavy rains were to blame for the flood.  In southern Colorado, Pueblo had also experienced flooding that same week.  The Buffalo Creek flood is just one of numerous high-profile floods in Colorado, including the 1965 South Platte River flood; the 1976 Big Thompson flood; and the major floods of 2013.  To learn more about flooding in Colorado, search our library's online catalog.

Aftermath of the 1996 fire and flood at Buffalo Creek.  Photo courtesy USGS.


Colorado Artists

Our library collection contains a number of biographies on Colorado fine artists.  Titles of interest in our collection include:
  • "The Art of 'Nettie' Bromwell," by Maria Matthews, Colorado Heritage, Spring 1997.
  • "C. Waldo Love:  Denver Artist," by Stan Cuba, Colorado Heritage, Jan/Feb 2012.
  • "The Cowboy, the Indian, and the Buckaroo:  Alexander Phimster Proctor in Colorado," by Peter H. Hassrick, Colorado Heritage, Summer 2003.
  • Denver Artists Guild:  Its Founding Members, by Stan Cuba.  History Colorado, 2015.
  • "Eve Drewelowe:  Boulder Artist," by Stanley L. Cuba, Colorado Heritage, Summer 1990.
  • Herndon Davis:  Painting Colorado History, by Thomas J. Noel and Craig W. Leavitt, University of Colorado, 2016.
  • "Impressions of a Renaissance:  The Artists of Denver National Bank," by Jack Henry Kunin, Colorado Heritage, Summer 2002.
  • Irene Jerome Hood:  A Victorian Woman and Her Art, by Georgianna Congiguglia, Colorado Historical Society, 1982.
  • Masterpieces of Colorado:  A Rich Legacy of Landscape Painting.  Colorado Council on the Arts, 2007.
  • "Paul Gregg:  The City Room Was His Studio," by Georgianna Contiguglia, Colorado Heritage, Summer 1990.
  • "Seeing Allen True:  The Life and Art of an American Muralist," by Alisa Zahller, Colorado Heritage, Sept/Oct 2009.
  • "Vance Kirkland:  Confronting Colorado in Art," by Stanley Cuba, Colorado Heritage, Summer 2001.
  • "Western Visions:  Colorado's New Deal Post Office Murals," by Mary Motian-Meadows, Colorado Heritage, Autumn 1991.
Many of these artists' works can be seen exhibited in local galleries, government buildings, universities, and museums such as History Colorado; the Denver Art Museum; the Kirkland Museum of Decorative and Fine Arts; and the American Museum of Western Art.