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Female Hairy Woodpecker

Female Hairy Woodpecker

Sunday, April 30th - Photo Of The Week..

Taken on Thursday morning, this week's photo features one of our area's year round feathered residents, the Hairy Woodpecker.

The Hairy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos villosus) is a medium sized woodpecker fairly common throughout the United States. Recognized by the vertical white stripe on its back and long bill, the Hairy Woodpecker is sometimes confused with the Downy Woodpecker which is smaller and has a shorter bill.

The Hairy and Downy woodpeckers occur together throughout most of their ranges. The Downy Woodpecker uses smaller branches while the Hairy Woodpecker tends to spend more time on the trunk. It might be thought that the larger woodpecker excludes the smaller one from more productive foraging spots, but it appears that just the reverse is true. In the Bahamas, where the Downy Woodpecker does not occur, the Hairy Woodpecker uses the branches more frequently.

The Hairy Woodpecker shows a great deal of morphological variation across its broad range, with more than 17 recognized subspecies. Northern birds tend to be larger than those farther south. Western birds are dark underneath and have few spots on the wings, while eastern birds are white underneath and have extensive spotting. Hairies in the Rocky Mountains are white below, but have few spots on their wings. Populations on islands often are distinctive. Sexes are similar, but the female does not have a red patch on the back of its head. Their call is a loud peek, and also a loud Kingfisher-like rattle.

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Larimer County Sheriff's News Release

Larimer County Sheriff's
News Release

Friday, April 28th - Two Juveniles Missing From Loveland..

Two juvenile boys were reported missing from Prairie View, a Reflections for Youth group home at 6:45 P.M. on Thursday evening. The two juveniles left the home located at 8233 East County Road 18 in Loveland and headed east to Weld County Road 13 then south. The two boys left on foot.

Jeremy Shawn Keith, age 12, is described as 5’ 7”, 160 lbs., brown eyes, and short brown hair. He was last seen wearing a white sleeveless shirt, blue jeans, and a dark gray long sleeve shirt tied around his waist.

Ryan Rouston, age 17, is described as 5’ 11”, 260 lbs., brown eyes, and short brown buzz-cut hair. He was last seen wearing a red short sleeve shirt with blue horizontal stripes, blue jeans, and brown tennis shoes. Ryan has a scar on his left eyebrow from a piercing, a pierced left ear with a gold hoop, and wears a plain silver band on both ring fingers.  Ryan left with a light gray and black backpack.

No photos are available at this time.

If anyone has information on the location of these two juveniles, please contact your local law enforcement agency or the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office at 970-416-1985.

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Consumers Boycott Exxon/Mobile

Consumers Boycott Exxon/Mobile

Thursday, April 27th - Consumers Fight Back With Boycott...
By: Darrell E. Spangler

A movement is underway by consumers Nationwide to fight back against high fuel prices with a boycott against Exxon/Mobile, refusing to buy gas from them until their prices at the pump drop below $1.50/gal.

The movement, unofficially started by a Texas judge, is picking up steam as consumers understand the theory behind this action. This theory is very simple. If consumers across America completely stop buying fuel from Exxon/Mobile, the oil giant will see losses almost equal to their outrageous profits in a relatively short period of time, eventually forcing Exxon/Mobile into bankruptcy. Even when the Exxon/Mobile prices fall below the others, hold your ground and refuse to buy their products. This boycott of Exxon/Mobile would continue until the price at the pump drops to the $1.50/gal mark. They would be forced to drop their prices to this level or go out of business in America.

Each of the other major oil companies would then in turn be targeted by the boycott forcing prices down to an average of $1.50/gal. This theory would absolutely work. We as consumers do hold the ultimate trump card over the oil companies. Through selective purchasing American consumers can dictate what prices they will pay simply by choosing who they give their money to. 

This action would also force oil companies to spend some of their precious profits on more cost effective means of refining and delivering fuel to American consumers, something they have avoided doing for far too many years.

Other ways consumers are fighting back include only purchasing $10 of fuel at a time, buying only fuel and no other items at gas stations and changing long distance vacation plans to local ones.

Editor's Note: We at SMN believe in and fully support this pro-active approach by American consumers and have requested that all of our staff refrain from purchasing any fuel or other products at Exxon/Mobile until further notice. We The People absolutely have the power to bring fuel prices and oil company profits into balance. So why not exercise it? We encourage all of our readers to follow suit and refuse to buy any more fuel from Exxon/Mobile until prices and profits both drop to a more realistic level.

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Larimer County Sheriff's News Release

Larimer County Sheriff's
News Release

Tuesday, April 25th - Two Found Dead In Apparent Murder/Suicide...

Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Investigators responded on Monday to a report of what appears to be, at this time, a murder/suicide on McKenna Court in the Glacier View area.

The incident was reported by a visitor to that address early Monday morning. The exact location and the names of the decedents are being withheld pending notification of the family.

Investigators believe the decedents to be husband and wife, approximately 50 to 55 years of age.  Both appear to have died from gunshot wounds.  However, the Larimer County Coroner’s Office will determine the exact identity of the decedents and the manner and cause of their death.

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Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3

Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3

Monday, April 24th - Comet On Course For May Appearance...

Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 is beginning to brighten as it approaches the Sun and is expected to be visible to the naked eye by mid May.

73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (S-W 3) is a comet in its dying stages and has broken apart into several pieces or fragments. Astronomers are currently tracking 19 of these fragments will further breakup expected. The above photo, taken early Sunday morning on Storm Mountain, captured two of these fragments.

S-W 3 is currently located in the constellation of Corona Borealis and is positioned high in the eastern sky just around midnight. Sky watchers can already view these dying comet fragments in binoculars and backyard telescopes (Sky Map). S-W 3 is expected to reach a brightness of magnitude 3, or about that of an average star by mid May of this year.

More information on Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann3 can be found in a NASA article via the link provided below. For the latest photos of S-W 3 and other astronomical events be sure to visit

NASA - Mini-Comets Approaching Earth

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Common Mergansers in Big Thompsom River

Pair of Common Mergansers in Big Thompson River on Thursday morning

Sunday, April 23rd - Photo Of The Week...

This week's photo features a pair of Common Mergansers, one of the several species of waterfowl in our area, swimming in the Big Thompson River on Thursday morning.

The Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) is a large diving duck-like bird measuring 22 -27 inches with a wingspan over 30 inches. The male has flashing white sides, green head, white breast, and long, thin red bill. The female has a gray body and sides; reddish-brown crested head sharply set off from white throat.

Although preferring to feed on lakes, Common Mergansers are often driven to rivers by cold weather; where they are sometimes found in flocks of 10 to 20 birds, all facing upstream and diving in pursuit of fish. The narrow bill, with a hooked upper mandible and fine, saw-like teeth along the edges, is specialized to catch slippery fish. Pairs are formed in late winter, and until then one is likely to find flocks composed entirely of males or of females.

The Common Merganser usually nests in tree cavities, either those made by large woodpeckers or from where a limb broke off. It will also use a nest box. Infrequently a Common Merganser might make its nest in a rock crevice, a hole in the ground, a hollow log, in an old building, or in a chimney.

Young Common Mergansers leave their nest hole within a day or so of hatching. The mother protects the chicks, but she does not feed them. They dive to catch all of their own food. They eat mostly aquatic insects at first, but switch over to fish when they are about 12 days old.

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