Birding In Colorado: A Fun Winter Activity

Birding In Colorado: A Fun Winter Activity

by Jessica Hughes

Bird stroll leaders at Bluff Lake Character Center. Pictured from remaining to suitable: Jason Bidgood, George Ho, Steve Hebert, and Lisa Pera.

1000’s of snow geese flock to the reservoirs and farmland of the Jap Plains. Photo by Jessica Hughes

Colorado is household to around 400 species of birds that either stay below yr-spherical or go as a result of through seasonal migrations. But when is the most effective time to see them? Though most assume of birding all through heat-weather conditions months, birdwatching is a 12 months-spherical action, with winter season staying one of the best situations for viewing.

“Colorado winters are comprehensive of sunny, gentle times which enable birders to love the outdoors. Moreover, the lack of leaves on the trees will allow for greater viewing of the birds,” suggests George Ho, Bluff Lake Mother nature Middle Hen Volunteer/Regular Fowl Walk Leader. “Winter is excellent for birding.”

“There are a great deal of ducks, geese, and raptors that migrate south to our parks and lakes to shell out the winter season in our (rather) heat climate,” says Ben Jacques, Bluff Lake Character Heart Outdoor Explorers Plan Coordinator. Also, due to the fact they must hold their bodies heat, they invest a great deal of time shifting all-around browsing for food stuff. This helps make them less complicated to location and hear by means of the bare foliage.”

“Plus, with shorter daylight several hours, fantastic winter season birding doesn’t call for a 4 a.m. alarm,” says Jacques.

So, what need to you anticipate to see? From the admired bald eagle to track sparrows, there is a range of winter season fowl to catch your eye. “Bald eagles are more plentiful in the wintertime here in Colorado due to the fact they come south to us from the north. Waterfowls like ducks are considerable in winter as perfectly,” suggests Ho. “Winter sparrows are also well-known to see. These consist of the white-crown sparrows and the juncos as well as the yr-round music sparrows.”

He also claims birds of prey are ample, which include owls like the excellent horned owls, hawks like the ferruginous, and the yr-round pink-tailed hawks, in addition falcons like the prairie falcons and the American kestrels.

The best part is you do not have to vacation far too significantly to see these wonderful birds in flight. Under are a few places near to house that make a great afternoon outing or a exciting family members working day vacation.

Bluff Lake Nature Middle

Within Denver’s town boundaries, Bluff Lake Nature

A Pink Tail Hawk swooping in on its prey. Photo by George Ho at Bluff Lake Character Heart

Centre is 1 of the best spots for birdwatching in Denver. The 123-acre mother nature protect has noticed 226 distinctive species of birds in accordance to their active group of birders who file their encounters.

For the newbies and households, the heart features bird walks all over the 12 months. Led by an pro guidebook, uncover how and where to place specific birds and study about the distinct species you can locate in Colorado. The walks are absolutely free, but you require to sign up in progress on their website. Download their printable birds of Bluff Lake checklist and retain observe of what you spot.

Go to their birding web site to master additional at

Cherry Creek State Park

Cherry Creek Point out Park is one of Colorado’s most well-liked parks owing to its myriad of summertime functions, but most may perhaps not imagine of it as a major birding place. There are a good deal of birds you can see yr-round but in winter season, soaring bald eagles perch higher in cottonwood trees, although gulls satisfy about the marina and swim beach front spot. The reservoir eco-procedure also draws in raptors species together with golden eagle, pink-tailed hawk, northern harrier, and ferruginous hawk. For the reason that the reservoir normally stays un-frozen through the winter season, waterfowl and shorebirds are well-liked to see as effectively.

Barr Lake State Park

With a lot more than 350 species of birds noticed, Barr Lake Condition Park is the metro area’s leading birding lake. About 30 miles northeast of Denver, Barr Lake features a single of the best established-ups for winter birdwatching. Wander the 8.8-mile path that circles the lake, with a number of wildlife viewing stations and the wildlife refuge at the southern finish of the lake. The lake’s substantial variety of bald eagles, together with a pair that nests there each yr, are what attract in the birding crowds, both equally amateurs and gurus.

Jap Plains

Beyond Denver and the Entrance Selection, the Eastern Plains generate the perfect natural environment for fowl watching in Colorado. The Higher Prairie and bordering locations welcome more than 40

The Crimson-winged Blackbird is just one particular of numerous birds to location this winter season. Picture by Lisa Pera

species of birds like warblers, snow geese, grosbeaks, mountain plovers, and buntings. They make their properties among the grasslands, craggy outcrops, isolated ponds and reservoirs, moreover rivers lined with cottonwoods and willows. There are 20 birding trails on the Eastern Plains that includes a assortment of web sites in which you can perspective wildlife.

A single of the most significant once-a-year migrations in the point out is the Snow Goose migration. Just about every winter, in January and February, the wind-swept plains and open-water reservoirs in the vicinity of Lamar, Colo., transform white, not with snow, but a swirl of 200,000+ snow geese descending on the Significant Plains of Colorado. By way of the Western Central Flyway, the yearly migration lasts up to two weeks and can be seen within condition wildlife areas, neighborhood reservoirs, and place farms where they prevent to feed.

Significant Plains Snow Goose Pageant

In celebration of this migration, Lamar County hosts the once-a-year Higher Plains Snow Goose Festival, getting location Feb. 3-5, 2023. As just one of the largest birding festivals in Colorado, the celebration hosts a assortment of courses, excursions, and seminars that highlight the area’s landscape and distinctive birding heritage. Sign up for birding excursions, shop the community craft reasonable, and hear to lectures to study far more about the migration and other regional fowl. The celebration is free of charge but tours and lectures need an highly developed obtained ticket. For extra data go to highplains

Birding Ideas

The hen wander leaders at Bluff Lake Character centre say the greatest time to see birds is when they are most energetic, at dawn and dusk, when they are feeding. Endurance and a good pair of binoculars are essential to get the most out of fowl looking at. “Plan your fowl looking at all-around a bird’s fundamental survival desires (food, water, and shelter) and you are bound to get some birds in your binoculars,” states Jacques.

Jacques also indicates if you are new to birdwatching there are quite a few rookie-pleasant teams all around Denver to join. The Denver Field Ornithologists, Denver Audubon, Bluff Lake Nature Middle, Tuesday Birders, and several hen feeding retailers operate free fowl walks in the place. Or obtain the absolutely free Merlin fowl ID app by Cornell Lab for a fantastic field guideline on your telephone.