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Birding Locations
Birding Locations

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​From the grassy prairie lands to the snow-covered peaks, Colorado is home to more than 400 species of birds.

Whether you enjoy watching raptors soar through the sky, waterfowl dive for fish or songbirds flutter through the branches, you'll find plenty to see at Colorado State Parks. So grab your binoculars, and don’t forget your camera!

Northeastern Colorado 

Barr Lake State Park 

One of the top birding areas in the state, Barr Lake is home to more than 370 species of resident and migratory birds. A pair of bald eagles has taken residence at the park, and visitors can watch them building their nest and raising their young. Several species of waterfowl and shorebirds use the lake as a stopover during spring and fall migration. In the summer, white pelicans, cormorant and egrets join the pairs of nesting great blue herons. 

Barr Lake is also the headquarters of the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, which aims to conserve birds and their habitats through science, education and stewardship, and operates a birding station at the park.

Chatfield State Park 

With 212 species recorded, Chatfield is a primary birding spot. Nesting least flycatcher and American redstart are spotted here more regularly than at any other location in Colorado. Ferruginous and Swainson’s hawks, golden eagles and prairie falcons visit in the summer, rough-legged hawks in the winter. 

Castlewood Canyon State Park 

Castlewood is home to one of the largest turkey vulture populations in the state during the summer. Bluebirds and canyon wrens also call the park home. 

Eleven Mile State Park and Spinney Mountain State Park​ 

Both parks host a variety of migratory and resident birds, but catching glimpses of three rare species—bald eagles, American peregrine falcons and white pelicans—is a real treat.  

Jackson Lake State Park

Jackson Lake is home to an abundance of birds—from ferruginous and rough-legged hawks in the winter to Swainson’s hawks in the summer. Long-billed curlews, whooping cranes and northern harriers are occasionally seen, along with the ducks visiting the lake during migration.  

St. Vrain State Park 

St. Vrain is home to the largest great blue heron rookery in the state, which can be seen year-round.  

Enjoy more birding opportunities at these other northeastern Colorado state parks: Cherry Creek, Eldorado Canyon, North Sterling and Roxborough.

Northwestern Colorado

Highline Lake State Park

The National Audubon Society has named Highline Lake an Important Bird Area​ with more than 200 species here. Use a viewing scope to spot pelicans, blue herons, osprey, sandhill cranes and loons. 

Steamboat Lake State Park

Each spring, Steamboat Lake is the nesting ground for greater sandhill cranes. Over 200 species of migratory and resident birds are known to spend time in the park, including northern harrier, osprey, great blue heron, western screech owl, western bluebird, hairy and downy woodpeckers and red-winged blackbird. Located in the Pacific Flyway, the reservoir attracts many shorebirds and waterfowl. 

Stagecoach State Park

Stagecoach offers excellent opportunities for bird watching, with a variety of species including white-faced ibis, American white pelicans, dusky grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, and a wide variety of songbirds, hawks and falcons. 

State Forest State Park

Two hundred bird species await birdwatchers, including white-faced ibis, American white pelicans, mountain bluebirds and both dusky and sharp-tailed grouse. ​

Vega State Park​

Many migratory and resident birds may be seen here. 

Yampa River State Park

Sandhill cranes stage here during migratory travel and care for their young until they are ready to fly. Blue Heron rookeries co-exist with nesting bald eagles and a variety of other avian species.

​Southeastern Colorado

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

​Everything from common mergansers,  yellow warbler​s and stellar jays to great horned owls​, kingfishers and great blue herons can be spotted at the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area.

Cheyenne Mountain State Park

The natural habitats are remarkably undisturbed and unfragmented, offering outstanding wildlife viewing. Visitors may glimpse more than 100 species including golden eagles, wild turkeys and red-tailed hawks.​

John Martin Reservoir State Park

With nearly 400 documented species of birds in Bent County, John Martin Reservoir is a premier birding area. This park is wonderful for viewing many species of birds. Two federally protected shorebirds, the least tern and the piping plover, nest here in spring and summer. Many other species of birds are found including bald eagles, scaled quail, mallard ducks, and turkey vultures.

Lake Pueblo State Park

Lake Pueblo is probably best known for its large population of birds of prey. Great-horned Owls and Red-tail Hawks are abundant and nest in the park. ​Cormorants, Western Grebes, Great Blue Herons, Mountain Bluebird and Pelicans can be seen on the lake at various times of the year. ​

Lathrop State Park

Many migratory and resident birds are frequently seen at Lathrop, including several species of raptors, pinyon and scrub jays, western meadowlarks, as well as a variety of waterfowl and shorebirds attracted to the lakes and wetland habitats. 

Mueller State Park

Over 115 species of migratory and resident birds are known to visit this area, including raptors and songbirds. Common raptors are golden eagle, red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s hawk, goshawk, American kestrel, great horned owl and turkey vulture.

San Luis State Park

Adjacent wetlands, lakes and open valley mean the park is a great place to see birds and wildlife. Waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors are
frequent visitors. 

Trinidad State Park

Visitors to Trinidad enjoy sunshine, piñon pine and juniper-covered hills, along with abundant birds and wildlife. 

Southwestern Colorado

Crawford State Park​

Wetlands and riparian areas around the reservoir attract a variety of wildlife and songbirds. 

Mancos State Park

A wide variety of bird species can be found at Mancos, from the vibrant indigo bunting to the majestic bald eagle. The park offers great opportunities for bird watching. During the day, visitors can expect to see hummingbirds buzzing around as well as the gigantic turkey vulture cruising the shoreline. At night, don’t be startled by the common nighthawk popping up from the roads, or the hooting of the great horned owl. 

Navajo State Park

Many migratory and resident birds are known to spend time in this area, including several species of raptors, pin​on jay, black-billed magpie, common raven, and waterfowl and shorebirds, which are attracted to the reservoir.

Ridgway State Park

If variety is what you’re looking for, Ridgway's got it. Watch for different species of waterfowl and shorebirds such as American avocets and western grebes. Winter species include nuthatches and great horned owls; in the summer you might see American dippers, mountain bluebirds and red-tailed hawks.

Sweitzer State Park​

One hundred seventy-nine bird species have been observed in the area, and the lake is a good place to spot waterfowl.