Ask a random out-of-state person what terms come to mind when they think of Colorado and you may hear, “rugged; wild; beautiful; inspiring.” Perhaps all of these adjectives could also describe Colorado’s state animal, the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.
Bighorn sheep are magnificent animals with great agility and perfect balance. They can be found high in the Rockies, usually above timberline, in extremely rugged terrain. This makes it quite difficult for wildlife lovers to view and appreciate these animals.
One exception to this, however, is during winter in the Rampart Range.
The cold typically drives the sheep down from the range to graze in lower elevation meadows which is why seeing sheep inside Garden of the Gods Park through late February is not at all uncommon. In fact, it’s cause for celebration.
Each year, the City of Colorado Springs, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society, Garden of the Gods Visitor Center and Colorado Parks and Wildlife cosponsor Bighorn Sheep Day at Garden of the Gods Visitor Center. This year’s event is on Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Bring the family and take a guided nature hike while looking for sheep using binoculars and scopes; sit in on an educational presentation; enjoy free refreshments and door prizes; or, simply renew your mind and spirit by connecting with the outdoors.
This event is free and no registration is required. For a complete schedule, or for more information go to the Garden of the Gods Sheep Day Web page.
Saturday Guided Bird Walks Saturday, February 13
Grab your binoculars and field guide or check out a loaner set of ours, and enjoy an exciting morning of birding at Barr Lake. Park Naturalists enthusiastically introduce birders of all ability levels to Barr Lake’s feathered residents and migrants. In addition to a variety of wintering songbirds, you may find the raptor and waterfowl watching this time of year to be exceptional!
Great Backyard Bird CountSaturday, February 13
Great Backyard Bird Count now has participants in over 130 different countries with over 140,000 participants! Come join Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and Barr Lake State Park for the 19th annual GBBC. Spend a morning learning the importance of being a Citizen Scientist while exploring what local birds are toughing out the winter here in Brighton. There is even a photo contest for the photographers in the group!
Join in the 19th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend! It’s a fun and easy way to help researchers learn about birds – all over the world! Anyone can take part, by counting the birds in your backyard or join in one of our bird hikes. Hikes will be lead by bird guides. No experience necessary. Read more about it at birdcount.org
Saturday, February 13th
9 am or 10:30 am at Florissant Fossil Beds
Sunday, February 14th
9 am at Mueller State Park
Hike Homestead TrailSaturday, February 20
Take a pleasant 2 mile hike through forest, meadows, and rock formations with Volunteer Naturalist Nancy. Snowshoes are recommended after recent snowfall.
Chatfield BirdwalkSaturday, February 27
Join naturalist & bird expert Joey Kellner in exploring various areas inside the park in search of feathered treasure. All ability levels are welcome. No sign-up necessary. Meet at the Platte River parking lot. No pets. Dress for the weather. Sunscreen and insect repellant as needed.
Hike Homestead TrailSunday, February 28
Take a pleasant 2 mile hike through forest, meadows, and rock formations with Volunteer Naturalist Penny. Snowshoes are recommended after recent snowfall.
Chatfield BirdwalkSaturday, March 26
Chatfield BirdwalkSaturday, April 30
Select a pin point for a description of the location and wildlife viewing information. There are over 200 sites to choose from. These sites are also published on the official Map to Colorado. Order yours today (included with the Vacation Guide). Look for the brown wildlife viewing signs at (most) location destinations. Download our wildlife viewing tips and checklist to use on your next wildlife viewing adventure.