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Bird watching in Wyoming


Wyoming’s state bird is the Western Meadowlark, but this warbling songbird is but one of the many feathered creatures at home here. From commonly sighted species like the Canada Goose, the Mallard or the Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch to the more elusive Prairie Falcon, Long-eared Owl or the increasingly evasive Greater Sage-Grouse, Wyoming’s diverse ecosystems shelter an equally expansive bird selection.

Though eagles soar lazily above national parks like Yellowstone and Grand Tetons in search of unsuspecting prey, the hawk-eyed observer will also note in the forests, fields and wetlands an assortment of songbirds, waterfowl, even wading birds. Venture out of these popular tourist destinations and seek out scenic routes like the Snowy Range Byway, the ponds of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area or the foothills of Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site and find the likes of kingfishers, owls, Ospreys, and pelicans to help lengthen a growing bird list.

Yellowstone National Park:
Take to backcountry trails for a lucky look at the great gray owl and two kinds of woodpeckers, the Three-toed and the Black-backed. Watch also for Bald Eagles, one of a modest population of Harlequin Ducks, Trumpeter Swans, Peregrine Falcons and even American Pelicans around the Molly Islands.

Grand Tetons National Park:
Though best known for its soaring peaks, Grand Tetons National Park also takes in stands of aspen, home to woodpeckers, Black-Capped Chickadees, House Wrens and Violet-green Swallows. Sagebrush flats shelter sparrows, Sage Thrashers and Sage Grouse while lodgepole pine forests house Olivesided Flycatchers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Watch alpine aeries for a glimpse of Golden Eagles or bird the numerous lakes that provide refuge for warblers, dippers, eagles, Canada Geese and assorted sparrows.

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area:
Venture into Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area and find over 200 species of birds if you’re patient. Riparian songbirds flock to the banks of the Shoshone River, Marsh Wrens and Soras to ponds near the Flicker House and a good selection of gamebirds, raptors and songbirds to the assorted fields, shrublands, woodlands and marshes of the Yellowtail Habitat. Also look for American White Pelicans and Osprey around nearby Lovell Lakes.

Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site:
Between ancient petroglyphs and pictographs, spot the likes of Yellow-rumped Warblers, Belted Kingfishers, American Dippers and Western Screech Owls in the foothills and riparian zones around Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site.

Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge:
Located in the southwestern corner of the state, Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge might fall beyond the commonly beaten tourist track, but the reward for venturing down this direction is a chance to spot abundant waterfowl, wading birds such as the heron, ibis and crane, numerous shorebirds, Bald and Golden Eagles, hawks, owls, Ospreys, Western Meadowlarks (the state bird) and even seasonally the Rufous Hummingbird.

Snowy Range Scenic Byway:
Get a glimpse of some spectacular Wyoming scenery along with your bird watching on a sight-seeing drive along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, which cuts through Medicine Bow National Forest above Laramie. Keep an eye out for Mountain Chickadees, Townsend’s Solitaires and Cordilleran Flycatchers.

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