We guarantee you, these balls of fluff are the cutest thing you'll see all day.
Located in the depths of the Manitou Experimental Forest, just north of Woodland Park, CO, are tiny creatures that take to the sky in the warm, summer evenings. You've probably never heard of flammulated owls, much less knew of their existence in one Colorado forest.
The experienced scientists that work for the forest have been conducted over 30 years worth of studies to learn more about this delicate animal and how to protect its ecosystem.
The Manitou Experimental Forest covers over 16,700 acres and has been instrumental in a wide variety of environmental research studies in Colorado. The owl study area takes up 1,117 acres of the forest and is approximately 1.5 miles east of Manitou Lake within the forest. Researchers have found that the flammulated owls thrive in environments with ample ponderosa pine trees to take shelter in during the day. Studies have been conducted on the owls for the past 18 years, with scientists working to find out more about their breeding season, nesting biology, and longevity records.
Courtesy of Image by skeeze from Pixabay
While you can technically visit the forest itself, in order to properly learn and get a chance to see the owls, we recommend joining a tour or seminar. Several birding groups around Colorado offer field trips to the site where you can learn from one of the country's leading experts on the owls, Dr. Brian D. Linkhart. You can join him and search for nest cavities and, hopefully, catch a glimpse of the owls themselves.
Please note that this field trip is currently full, so we recommend planning ahead for a trip to see them next year. We also suggest researching other birding groups or reaching out to the Manitou Experimental Forest office directly if you'd like to schedule a group outing.
There's also the option for a seminar hosted by the National Parks Service where you can learn all about the owls and take a hike out to the area where they typically reside. They are currently hosting an event on July 12 from 5 p.m.-12 a.m. The owls are typically most active during the evenings, hence the later time.
What do you think? Will you be taking a trip to see the owls? Let us know in the comments!