Preserve Unique Magnolia

June, 1997
Volume 3 Issue 1


Cover Story: Sounds of Summer Wildlife, Pets, and People
Bird-Friendly Feeders High Altitude Toads
Updates: 68J and MEPP Community News

Sounds of Summer    

Savor the sounds of summer.

Winter herds graze their last farewell and retreat to their higher homes, grasses emerge from their silent winter sleep and shower our meadows with lush green hues, and birds’ soft melodies nudge our chilly spring hearts into a new wakefulness: summer is here.

Listening to the songs of summer is but one of the joys we experience living among so many species of birds in the Magnolia area. As the Magnolia Environmental Preservation Plan gets underway, keeping an eye on all the birds in this area is increasingly important.

We know there are many generalist species that cohabit well with all sorts of human interventions and, like crows and magpies, appear to be increasing in our area; however, some species in this area are sensitive species and considered rare or declining in population in Boulder County, and may require unique habitats.

This year, one of PUMA’s big efforts is a Breeding Bird Survey. We are trying to document which species live where in our area and determine how large a forest area various species need for successful nesting. We are also trying to identify hunting territories for different hawks. Considering the magnitude of this project, we could use some help!

We are following the Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas Protocol in order to be compatible with other studies used in Boulder County’s Comprehensive Plan. We have divided our area into small blocks and are looking for volunteer birders who can commit to 12 to 20 hours in a specific block between June 1 and August 15. To have the greatest chance of finding breeding activity, nests, or fledglings, volunteers will make three or more visits to their assigned block during summer. Surveyors will need to find out who owns the properties in their blocks and get permission to bird there. We hope to look for birds and nests in all habitats, some of which are on private property, and hope to be well received by local landowners.

Some surveyors will be PUMA members and local friends; members of Boulder County Nature Association and Boulder Audubon Society have also generously volunteered to help. If your property has special habitat, if you control convenient access to public land, or if you think you might be able to help coordinate access between landowners and volunteer birders in your immediate area, please call Cherie Long, at 447-0922.

We do not yet know the variety and extent of the birds in this area and are hoping for some exciting surprises. Documenting the species and understanding their breeding habitat requirements is the best way to ensure that their sweet songs continue to welcome us into summer year after year.



Bird-friendly Feeders

  Getting the feeders ready is one of the rites of passage from spring to summer. Many of us enjoy cleaning them out, filling them up, and watching our favorite birds return from their southern vacations.

As we prepare our feeders, here are some things to remember:

Please keep your feeders clean. This means keeping the area free of accumulated seed debris, animal droppings, etc. This creates breeding and proliferation sites for molds and bacteria. Water pans and baths need to be washed (scrubbed) out once or twice a week. For hummingbirds, change the fluid in them at least every other day, or daily if the weather is hot. Hot weather can cause the solution to ferment, causing illness and even death—clearly not our objective. Use sugar water for hummingbird feeders that is one part sugar to four parts water rather than commercially sold hummingbird juice. If you see more than an occasional sick or dead bird near your feeders, stop feeding for a time, and consult with the Wild Bird Center.

Also, it is a very good idea to bring hanging feeders in at night. Bears, raccoons, and even loose horses, are attracted to feeders. Their visits tend not be as gentle as visits from our feathered friends and they will return again and again. Their habitual presence is likely to cause conflicts and could jeopardize their safety and yours. Bringing feeders in is a simple way to minimize encounters and keep the area safe for all.

Lastly, and of great importance, keep your cat indoors! They are excellent predators who readily cure your mouse problems, but they also KILL BIRDS.

Enjoy your summer!


Domestic Animals in a Wild Environment

In our ongoing effort to educate ourselves and to learn about the unique Magnolia- area environment, PUMA invited Pat Dorsey, Colorado Division of Wildlife; Dr. Cathy Eppinger, DVM, Paws on Wheels; and Dede Hager, Boulder County Animal Control to speak at our April meeting about interactions between wildlife, domestic animals, and people. Our primary goal was to learn how our lives can affect the lives of our wild-animal neighbors.

While a variety of domestic animals were discussed, attendees had many questions about dogs and their interactions with wildlife. According to Dorsey, it is a common misnomer that this rugged, open terrain around Magnolia is a haven for our canine companions.While we may think our move up the mountain is a dream-come-true for fido too, that is not always true. Over centuries of being domesticated, dogs have come to rely on and find happiness in human contact and companionship. While there are certainly great areas for dogs to entertain themselves while we are away from home, Dorsey and Eppinger both agree it is time spent with owners on walks or even an occasional car ride that keeps most dogs the happiest. Not only do they both encourage owners to take responsibility for getting their pets exercise, they are concerned about the animals’ safety if they are left outside all the time.

As dogs have grown more and more accustomed to human contacts and surroundings, they have become less and less accustomed to the wild. As a result, the wilder environment that the Magnolia area presents to our dogs, is not always safe for them or other animals they may encounter.

Hungry mountain lions can easily make a dog into lunch - big dogs look a lot like a deer to a lion and are not necessarily safer than smaller dogs. Likewise, in the spring, if a dog gets near a mother bear and her cubs, she will certainly be less than friendly to your dog. A livestock owner has the right to shoot a dog if it is threatening or harassing his or her animals and animals that are always on their own may develop pack-like behavior with other dogs in the area: either case may present a situation in which the DOW could be forced to put down a dog .

Keeping dogs inside when possible also minimizes their risks of getting diseases from wild animals—raccoons and coyotes are primary carriers of rabies and decreases their opportunities for disruptive barking or harassing wildlife. Some residents have used invisible fencing to keep their dogs within a safe range of their homes; this does not bother the wildlife at all. Fencing a portion of your property, using elk-friendly fencing can be another alternative for your pet’s safety.

Eppinger also noted the importance of keeping cats inside at all times, even if you are out and about in your yard. Cats are easy prey for a variety of wild animals living in this area. She recommends that if you are thinking of getting a cat, be sure that it is a breed that is well suited for indoors. Not all cats will be happy being inside their whole life, but letting your cat out in this area is one way to guarantee a short relationship between you and your cat!

This is a great area to take your dog on a variety of tremendous hikes or simple strolls on dirt roads. Taking your dogs for regular walks is also a great way for us to get and remind ourselves what a special place Magnolia really is.

If you would like more information on domestic and wild animals, please contact the Division of Wildlife at 291-7225.



It’s weed season again...

..and PUMA is planning its third annual thistle pull. As usual, we will organize a group of volunteers to weed a parcel of land that is particularly overgrown with musk thistle—the tall weed with the purple spiny flower. If you would like to suggest an area for this year’s pull, or if you would like be a volunteer, call Brian Whitney at 258-0939.  This year’s pull is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, July 19. 


High Altitude Toads

At elevations between 7,500 and 12,000 feet the boreal toad, bufo boreas boreas, is the only toad to be found. While it was once common in many parts of our state, its population has dropped dramatically in the last 15 years and it is now listed as an endangered species by the state of Colorado. Reasons for the decline are unknown, but possible causes include the effects of increased ultraviolet radiation, heavy metals and other toxins in water; acidification of water; habitat loss or disturbance; new or more virulent pathogens (disease-carrying micro-organisms), or a combination of factors leading to immunosuppression and increased susceptibility to naturally occurring pathogens.

In 1996 there were 50 known breeding sites, up from 10 in the early 90s. Although intensive surveys have yielded hopeful results, the current population remains well below historic levels.

Boreal toads may grow to five inches, but are usually smaller. They are warty and darkly colored with light strip running down their backs. A tiny peep might be heard from a toad, but only if you are very close.

Winters are spent in streamside chambers where flowing groundwater keeps the air temperature above freezing. In the spring, males will cross snow banks to reach water for breeding. Toads lay their eggs in any body of water, even puddles in a dirt road.

Volunteers are needed to search for these increasingly rare creatures. At this time we know of breeding sites in Chaffee, Clear Creek, and Summit Counties, and in Rocky Mountain National Park, as well as an active site in southern Wyoming, an observation in northern New Mexico and recent information of toad presence at Giggey Lake in the Magnolia area.

The research process involves careful, periodic checking of ponds, bogs, streamsides, and puddles to find eggs and tadpoles, and gentle searching of surrounding land for young toadlets and adults. In our community, we know where some of these wet spots are and hope our searching will reveal that boreal toads are alive and well and living on Magnolia!

To volunteer, please contact Jennifer Stewart (442-7460).

Click on Picture Buttons to see Boreal Toad Photos!

Toad eggs (69K)
photo: Co.DOW
Tadpoles (53K)
photo: Co.DOW
Toadlet (19k)
photo: Co.DOW
Toad (55k)
photo: Geoff




The Boulder County Commissioners approved the plans of the 68J working group this March. We have the go ahead now to implement improvements to the 68J road corridor. Plans include closing all spur roads on Forest Service land (signs and boulders), putting up private property signs, and installing two gates on each end of 68J. Gates will be locked open. We hope that these gates will make 68J look more "private" and provide a visual deterrent to people using the road. A grant of approximately $2,000 was provided by the police department to pay for gates, signs and posts.

On May 17th, PUMA and Lakeshore volunteers met with the Forest Service to install signs, begin closing spur roads off 68J, and to pick up trash. About 25 people showed up to help and within three or four hours made a lot of progress. Thanks to everyone who helped out. Boulder County Transportation Department’s plans for early June were to place boulders at spur-road entrances to close them off completely.

PUMA volunteers and Lakeshore residents will monitor the 68J road corridor throughout the summer and collect data on road use, trash dumping, shooting, and unmonitored campfires. This information will be compiled in the fall to assess whether these current signage and closure improvements have solved any problems in that area. If you are interested in helping PUMA monitor, please call Bay Roberts at 447-8836.

Even if you don’t have time to regularly monitor the area, please keep us informed of what you do observe when you are there. Call in any problems or disturbances to the Boulder County Sheriff at 441-4444, or the Forest Service if it is on their land, 444-6600.

It is important to make the call and lodge your complaint on the system even if the police are unable to respond immediately. At the end of the year, the Sheriff's Department will summarize all calls concerning the 68J area this data will be used when we reconvene next December and re-evaluate the situation.


By now we hope you have all heard about our Magnolia Environmental Preservation Project.

PUMA volunteers are working on a variety of projects this summer for MEPP. Studies include geology, hydrology, vegetation/ecosystems, wildlife, cultural resources, historic resources, recreation, transportation, DIA, scenic corridor analysis and land use planning. This fall, Mike Figgs, the environmental consultant hired for the project, will compile all information collected and prepare the final report.

There are many volunteer positions available. If you want to be involved please contact:

Wildlife Surveys
Cherie Long, 447-0922

Vegetation Surveys
Jennifer Stewart, 442-7460

Weed Surveys
Brian Whitney, 258-0939

Archaeological Surveys
Mike Landem, 499-9877

Local Histories
Susie Gallaudet, 258-0939

Trail Monitoring & Mapping
Bay Roberts, 447-8836

DIA Noise Issues
Paula Hendricks and Norman Lederman, 449-2202

These projects are fun, you'll learn new skills and have the opportunity to get to know your Magnolia neighbors!

If you are unable to give your time to MEPP, we hope that you will consider making a tax-deductible donation. PUMA's application for a GOCO grant was not funded, so we are asking all Magnolia residents to dig deep to fund this important and worthwhile project. You should have received a MEPP funding request in the mail this May. To make a donation, make checks out to Boulder County Nature Association, a nonprofit organization, and send to: PUMA P.O. Box 536 Nederland, CO 80466


We will continue to keep you up-dated on all of our MEPP progress.






  Gross Reservoir re-licensing application is still underway. Outside consultants are gathering data, conducting studies, and looking for community input this summer. For information on how to express your feelings about increased recreational use, contact Scott Reuman at 442-0406.  

Terry Greenberg is back on Magnolia after her home was destroyed by a fire earlier this year. She hopes construction on her new home will begin within the next month or so. Welcome back Terry.

PUMA has access to an informational video on fire; please let us know if you would like to borrow it.

The Magnolia area is home to many butterflies. Contact Cherie Long if you would like to help survey them this summer.

Four Tarahumaras Indians from Copper Canyon, Mexico are runners living and training on Magnolia this year. They compete in North American road races to raise money for their families and their village that has suffered greatly from drought. We are proud to have them in our community this summer and wish them luck.



PUMA Potluck Saturday, July 19 from 4 - 8 p.m. 7425 Magnolia Rd. (Scott Reuman’s House) Kids Welcome croquet & horseshoes will be setup plates, utensils and soda provided by PUMA; please being a food contribution to share RSVP (not required but helpful) 442-0406 ^^^^^^

Please join us again this year for the annual potluck. PUMA was founded in 1993 to discuss management plans for the Magnolia area. We are a citizens group striving to preserve the unique quality of life we all enjoy and to strengthen our community.

This a great opportunity for residents and landowners to meet their neighbors and enjoy a summer afternoon!

Membership is not required, just come and enjoy. ^^^^^^