Colorado Nature

Birding Colorado

With 54 summits over 14,000 feet and a mean elevation of 6,800 feet, Colorado is the highest state in the USA. Mountain wildlife abounds here, with bear, bighorn, moose, and mountain goat ranging throughout the Rockies. The Canada Lynx—once extirpated from the state—was reintroduced in 1999, and the lynx population continues to grow. Colorado is also one of the few states where birders can find all three rosy-finches, with other montane avian highlights such as American Three-toed Woodpecker, Clark’s Nutcracker, and Pine Grosbeak. Despite its position at the heart of the Rockies, about 40 percent of Colorado sits at the western edge of the Great Plains. These alluvial grasslands in the lee of the Rockies once supported an expansive shortgrass prairie, which today is best preserved in the Comanche and Pawnee National Grasslands. The handsome grassland breeder, the Lark Bunting, stands proud as the Colorado state bird, but this habitat also supports more than half of the Mountain Plovers in the species’ breeding range. Jump to Colorado’s western border with Utah, and you enter the arid Colorado Plateau. The southwestern corner of this region supports the threatened Gunnison Sage-Grouse, whereas the Greater Sage-Grouse resides in the northwestern corner of the state. In addition to the sage-grouse, Colorado has garnered a reputation among birders as the best place on the continent for a “chicken chase,” with 13 species of breeding gallinaceous birds, including the high altitude White-tailed Ptarmigan and remnant populations of Greater and Lesser Prairie Chickens.

What to See in Colorado

Notable Mammals and Other Wildlife

  • Black bear
  • Brown bear
  • Canadian Lynx
  • Mountain Goat
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Moose

Other Attractions

Where and When to Go

Nature & Birding Hotspots in Colorado

  • Comanche and Pawnee National Grasslands
  • Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado Birding and Nature Tours

Colorado Ecolodges/Accommodations

Best Time to Go

Visit Colorado

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