Enjoy watching our bountiful Colorado wildlife this fall without even having to leave your car if you don’t want to. This is a great time, before snows get deep and weather gets too frigid to watch our elk, bighorn sheep, antelope, moose and other animals.

Our smaller creatures, like chipmunks, beavers, and even birds are also quite busy this time of year. The have a lot of fattening up to do for winter, and are currently gorging themselves, while some animals are creating winter stores for the cold hungry times they know by instinct are coming.

One of the advantages to living in Colorado is that many natural animal habitats are located in our mountain and rural communities. Estes Park really belongs to the elk, not the people. The valley town was theirs long before anyone put in a candied apple store or pewter plant. The immigration of humans to their home hasn’t deterred them from carrying on business as usual, which means finding a mate in the fall. Drive on up to Estes Park, and you will see elk bugling and sparring in the roads, on peoples lawns, as well as anywhere else in town they happen to find themselves.

Wildlife Watching Calendar

The best seasons to observe our animal neighbors are fall, winter and spring. This is when most animals temporarily migrate to lower elevations, for mating as well as moving to areas where food is more abundant during the winter months.

September – October

Elk gather in low meadows and bulls bugle as they form harems of cows. They will also fight for dominance, a spectacular thing to see.

October – November

Mule deer bucks are entering their mating season and will be chasing every doe they can find.

November – December

Bighorn rams come into their season. The males challenge each other with head-butts that can be heard for a mile.

January – February

Most animals have finished their rutting season, and will now remain in their winter feeding grounds. Estes Park is one of these feeding areas, but their are numerous other towns that throughout our state that serve the same purpose. Remember, the elk were here first, we just happened to build our mountain towns right in the middle of their winter feeding areas.

March – April

Herds of animals are preparing to return to alpine meadows

May – June

Elk, moose, deer and bighorn sheep emerge with their newborns in tow and will remain at higher elevations until Fall.


 

Fall is also the time for all of us to get a maintenance check at our Fort Collins automotive center. No, our cars don’t need a mate, nor do they need to fatten themselves up for winter and create food stores, but they do require seasonal maintenance. Colder conditions alter the performance needs of our cars, so we need to prepare them for the changes in temperature to keep them running efficiently. Before heading up to watch our wildlife, take your car in to your Fort Collins automotive center. Your auto technician will perform any needed regular car maintenance as well as getting your vehicle ready for fall and winter driving.

Here are automotive issues that need to be checked in the Fall:

Battery and Charging System

Cold weather puts quite a strain on batteries, so if the battery in your car has any issues, now is the time to find out. A fully charged battery is a must for cold weather start ups. Your auto technician will both test and charge your battery, as well as look at battery cables. If it should need replacing, better to get a new battery now rather than when you find yourself unable to start your car because the battery wont work. Your auto technician will let you know if your car battery is weak, and replace it if needed.

Coolant Levels

Even though the weather is much colder, our car engines still get hot when they are up and running. Have your coolant levels checked. If you want to do this yourself, be sure and monitor the level when your engine is cold. Check your owners manual or ask your auto technician about the correct ratio of coolant and water to add for fall. Most of the time, it’s 50/50.

All other fluids

Make sure you have enough of every kind of lubricant and fluid your car needs! Your Fort Collins automotive center can inspect all of these, including power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid and so on. If your oil needs changing, this is a great time to do it.

Other Routine fall maintenance checks include:

  • Drive belts
  • Engine hoses
  • Tires
  • Axles
  • Air filter
  • Brakes
  • Windshield Wipers
  • Heating system and ventilation
  • Headlamps, tail lights, emergency flashers and brake lights

Additionally, if your car has been having any issues over the summer, and you have been putting off getting those addressed, combine a fall maintenance car check up with any of those problems or concerns. Once you have had your car serviced, head on up, and enjoy watching the rut!