Guide to Birding in Colorado

Colorado is a Top Bird-Watching State

Colorado’s varied terrain and habitats contribute to its impressive standing as one of the top ten states in the nation when it comes to varieties of birds who call it home or make regular migratory visits each year. From mountains to prairies to open tundra, mesas, plains, forests, and semidesert sagebrush, birders can enjoy discovering a wide variety of fowl during any season of the year. Colorado’s topography is rich in natural habitats that make excellent viewing grounds for birders and other wildlife enthusiasts all over the state. 

Where to See Birds in Colorado

While the Audubon Society shares its thoughts on the top 10 spectacular locations to enjoy birding, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife suggests nearly 30 more! Make sure you call ahead to ask about the weather conditions and entrance openings, and check for any fees or licenses that may be required. 

Rising Popularity of Birding

Birding has become a hot pastime in the past few years for a variety of reasons: it takes little skill training, it gets you outdoors, and birds can be found everywhere. According to America’s State Parks, interest has risen most among Millennials because it requires only two main pieces of equipment: a good pair of binoculars, and a smartphone with an app that can help birders easily identify their observations via virtual guides packed with thousands of bird images, plug in the sounds of birdsongs with a single tap, and then record their sightings with almost no effort. 

Birding Festivals

In fact, birding is so popular now that Colorado has a year ‘round schedule of impressive bird festivals and events. These events occur every month of the year and all around the state. Each event is different, but many include:

  • Guided nature walks and hikes
  • Bird watching
  • Speakers and educational programs
  • Kids’ activities
  • Musical entertainment
  • Craft fairs
  • Silent auctions
  • Trade shows
  • Pertinent technology updates
  • Photo contests 

Colorado Birding Trail

Another popular Centennial State birding opportunity is the Colorado Birding Trail. The trail links public and private outdoor recreation sites into a designated driving route. These 54 trails offer nearly 800 sites where watchable wildlife can be seen. Some trails including hiking or walking paths. 

The Colorado Birding Trail maps have descriptions of each that you can use to best suit your preferred birding style. Be aware that a valid hunting or fishing license and SWA (state wildlife area) pass may be required for ages 16 and older.

You may download regional trail guides for the Colorado Birding Trail or contact regional offices to get print copies. 

Audubon Bird Guide

To make birding even better, download the free Audubon Bird Guide app. Built for all experience levels, the app comes with a complete field guide of more than 800 species of North American birds. It will help you identify and keep track of the birds you’ve seen. Key features include:

  • Bird identification
  • Multi-season maps
  • Sightings features
  • Bird hot spots
  • 3,000 field guide photos
  • Photo feed to share your shots with fellow birders

Other Colorado Birding Resources

If you are passionate about bird conservancy, you may want to connect with the American Birding Association, Audubon Rockies, or Colorado Field Ornithologists. Each of these partners with the Colorado Birding Trail. 

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