The Colorado Birding Trail
is a major public and private initiative linking outdoor recreation
sites into a network of bird and wildlife watching sites, as well as
archaeological and paleontological features. The Colorado Birding Trail
features designated trails in three regions of Colorado: Eastern Plains,
Rocky Mountains and Western Colorado. The site also provides driving
routes, maps and more.
Comanche Trail. The
Comanche Trail is quintessential Southeast Colorado, where the
unspoiled views of prairie, hill, and canyon country stretch on for
miles, and the sounds of insects and wildlife softly hum instead of car
motors. Lucky visitors can catch a glimpse of the Lesser
Prairie-Chicken’s rare mating ritual in the dawn’s light or see Cassin’s
Comanche National Grassland is one of two nationally designated
grasslands in Colorado.
Snow Goose Trail.
The reservoirs, lakes, and ponds near Burlington are home to many
species of water and shorebirds. Mountain Plovers, sandpipers, Sandhill
Cranes and egrets are among the most-spotted birds during migration.
Ring-necked Pheasants, Bald Eagles, Burrowing Owls and Great Horned Owls
can often be spotted with a sharp eye.
Greater Prairie-Chicken Trail.
Whooping, cackling and puffing out their necks as they leap into the
air, the male Greater Prairie-Chickens aim to impress their female
counterparts each spring in a mating ritual unrivaled in the animal
kingdom. They share the sandsage prairies of Yuma County with Blue Jays,
cardinals and even Wild Turkeys.
Spanish Peaks Trail.
Both the birds and the scenery can be equally breathtaking along this
trail, as it passes through almost every type of habitat Colorado
offers. Water birds and dryland species alike share this stretch of
land, where loons, swans, Pygmy Nuthatches and Ptarmigan can all be
found along the Highway of Legends Scenic Byway.
This trail begins high in the Sawatch Range at the upper portions of
the Arkansas River in central Colorado. In addition to spotting Pinyon
Jays and Ptarmigans, visitors will also pass by the highest peak in the
state (Mount Elbert), the largest peak in the state (Mount Massive) and
one of the most distinctive peaks in the state (Mount Princeton).
Black Swift Trail.
Though known for being elusive, a Black Swift sighting is almost
guaranteed during the summer in the heart of Colorado’s majestic San
Juan Mountains. The “coolest bird” only clings to vertical surfaces and
typically builds its nest in close proximity to waterfalls, which makes
for spectacular viewing opportunities.
One of the best places on the Western Slope to see water birds, the
Fruitgrowers Trail is home to flocks of Sandhill Cranes, ducks and other
shorebirds. Sagebrush flats and towering canyon walls house Chukars,
while American Three-toed Woodpeckers can be found among the spruce
Upcoming Birding Festivals:
Greater Prairie-Chicken Viewing Tour
(March 29 – April 21, 2013) The tours began in 1994 – when the Greater
Prairie-Chicken was endangered – in an effort to educate the public on
these magnificent creatures. The species is no longer endangered, but
the tours still serve as an opportunity to learn from wildlife experts
and witness the Greater Prairie-Chicken mating ritual on the protected
lands of the
Karval Mountain Plover Festival
(April 26 – 28, 2013) Half of the population of Mountain Plovers nest
in Colorado, and this festival provides optimum viewing opportunities on
private ranch tours. Guests will enjoy a weekend of bird watching,
wildlife viewing tours, entertainment, history, arts and crafts, a chuck
wagon dinner, and a chance to mingle with local farmers and ranchers.
Ute Mountain/Mesa Verde Birding Festival
(May 8 – 12, 2013) Birdwatchers will gather in Southwest Colorado this
May in hopes of spotting more than 150 birds on the Colorado Plateau.
Spring migrants and early nesters are the main attraction at this 9th
annual event, which takes place in the diverse habitats of Mesa Verde
Country®. Several of the birding field trips visit archaeological
areas such as Mesa Verde National Park and the Ute Tribal Park.
Yampa Valley Crane Festival
(September 6 – 9, 2013) The Greater Sandhill Crane is an iconic species
in the Yampa Valley. For the second year, the festival will include
daily crane viewings, expert speakers, films, art exhibits, workshops,
family activities and more in celebration of the flock joining local
birds to feed and rest as they journey south.