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!
Observe Birds on the Colorado Birding Trail
Colorado Birding Trail is a major nature tourism initiative to promote non-consumptive outdoor recreation, conservation of resources by private landowners, and a diversified income for rural economies. The Birding Trail links outdoor recreation sites, both public and private, into a network of sites where visitors can observe birds and other wildlife, often in addition to archaeological and paleontological treasures.
Find a Birding Festival Near You
There are birding festivals for each month of the year and you're invited!
The Bald Eagle Festival in February, Colorado Owl Festival in March, Yampa Valley Crane Festival in September are just a few.
Wildlife viewing page for more details.
More Outdoor Recreation Information
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.
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 is home to one of the largest turkey vulture populations in the state during the summer. In the winter the vultures prefer to spend their time in warmer climates, such as Mexico and Central America. From the spring through the fall, bluebirds call the park home. Canyon wrens can also be spotted throughout the 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. Many of these species can be spotted all year round, but migratory waterfowl will only be present for certain seasons throughout the year.
Birders travel from throughout the region to visit because of the abundance and diversity of bird species located at Jackson Lake. This park 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.
The 14 ponds located within the park provide oases for migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds and birds of prey, to name a few. St. Vrain is home to the largest great blue heron rookery in the state, which can be seen year-round. This park is also the only known nesting site of Great Egrets in Colorado. In the winter, there are viewing opportunities for bald eagles, and in the summer American White Pelicans can be spotted as well. Take a look at the Birds of St. Vrain Brochure to see a complete list of bird species found in the park.
Enjoy more birding opportunities at these other northeastern Colorado state parks: Cherry Creek, Eldorado Canyon, North Sterling and Roxborough.
The National Audubon Society has named Highline Lake an Important Bird Area with more than 200 species here. Many migratory and resident birds including waterfowl, shorebirds, neotropical songbirds and raptors are attracted to the reservoir and adjacent uplands. Canada geese, seven species of ducks and six species of shorebirds are common. Bald eagles are commonly seen in the park throughout the winter, and great horned owls have been known to nest in the campground.
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 offers excellent opportunities for bird watching with a variety of species year round including dusky grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, and a wide variety of songbirds, hawks, and falcons. In the summer, it is possible to spot white-faced ibis and American White Pelicans.
Two hundred bird species await birdwatchers including mountain bluebirds and both dusky and sharp-tailed grouse. Although elusive, grouse can be spotted throughout the year, but are more likely to emerge for a spring show. In the summer, visitors can look for white-faced ibis as well as American white pelicans.
Many migratory and resident birds may be seen here. You can easily spot Colorado bluebirds, wild turkeys and red-tailed hawks, common ravens and a variety of raptors, waterfowl, and shorebirds. Visitors may also have a chance to spot the ospreys that have built a nest on the roosting pole near the South Road and return every year.
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 in the winter, and the park also hosts a variety of other avian species.
Arkansas Headwaters has a large variety of birds that reside in the park. Visitors year round can spot everything from common mergansers, yellow warblers and stellar jays to great horned owls, golden and bald eagles, kingfishers and great blue herons at the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area.
The natural habitats are remarkably undisturbed and unfragmented, offering outstanding wildlife viewing. Visitors may glimpse more than 100 species of birds including prairie and peregrine falcons, golden eagles, American kestrels, sharp-shinned hawks and an assortment of migrant and resident songbirds, as well as a breeding population of wild turkeys.
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 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.
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.
Over 115 species of migratory and resident birds are known to visit this area, including raptors and songbirds. Some of the common raptors that visitors may see throughout the year are golden eagle, red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s hawk, goshawk, American kestrel, great horned owl and turkey vulture.
Visitors to Trinidad Lake State Park enjoy the sunshine, piñon pine and juniper-covered hills, along with abundant birds and wildlife. If you are visiting the park, you will have a chance to spot great horned owls, red tail hawks, and osprey throughout the year. In the winter, bald eagles have been known to frequent the park. In the fall, the park has a large variety of waterfowl that migrate down for the winter. If you are lucky, you may even see quail, which have been reported in the area in the past.
Wetlands and riparian areas around the reservoir attract a variety of waterfowl and songbirds.
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.
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.
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.
One hundred seventy-nine bird species have been observed in the area, and the lake is a good place to spot waterfowl. Eagles and falcons are also known to frequent this park.