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    Bent's Old Fort

    National Historic Site Colorado


Nature and Science

Red-tailed Hawk

(Levi Castello)

To date ninety-nine species of birds have been documented at the site. Great horned owls, Wild turkeys, Northern bobwhite, and Red-headed woodpeckers are commonly seen or heard along the river in the cottonwoods. In the winter Northern harrier and Red-tailed hawks stay and prey on the Black-tailed prairie dogs, and small rodents in the scattered trees along the river. Mallards, Snow geese, and Canada geese can be found in the large wetland during the winter. White-faced ibis migrate through the park in the spring. The park has a Bird Check List that includes 137 species of birds and lists 15 species that were identified from period diaries as being here during the 1840's.

- Saturday, August 9th 1845,
Report of Lt. James Abert of his Examination of New Mexico -
"... Scattered around the fort in different cages we saw some of the birds of this region - mocking bird, 'turdus polyglottus,' magpie, 'corvus pica,' and two of the bald-headed eagle, 'falco leucocephalus' ."

Did You Know?

Wagon on the Santa Fe Trail

Bent’s Fort was the only place on the Santa Fe Trail where wagons could be repaired and supplies replenished. Typically it would take 50 to 60 days or more for ox drawn wagons to make the 600 mile journey from Missouri. It would still be another month of travel before they reached Santa Fe.