Weld County is for the Birds!

Published on May 01, 2020


By Jennifer Finch, Communications Director

Cows and corn, agriculture and energy - these are things Weld County is most well-known for, but did you know Weld County is also renowned as a great place for birding?

That’s right. Birders across the country and around the globe have landed in Weld County to spot Loggerhead Shrikes, Long-billed Curlew, and more!

Bird watching as a hobby is increasing in popularity as it can be done anywhere with little expense. A pair of binoculars and a little patience is really all you need to get started. And while you can begin bird watching in your own backyard, Weld County has some great spots to find feathered friends.

The Pawnee National Grasslands encompass more than 193,000 acres of short-grass prairie and provides great opportunities for spotting numerous species of birds. A self-guided birding tour directs drivers along a 21-mile route through various habitats, and pullouts and signage help birders of all skill levels learn more about bird species found throughout the prairie. (To make the most of this tour, be sure to have plenty of gas in the tank and bring water, sunscreen and a jacket as amenities are extremely limited and the weather can change quickly).

Not up for tackling the Grasslands? Head over to Saint Vrain State Park in Firestone and walk along the paths that wander between the ponds and look for Great Blue Herons, American White Pelicans, Osprey, and Red Winged Blackbirds just to name a few. This 604-acre oasis in an otherwise urban setting is a great place to enjoy nature without having to drive far. Bring a bike, a boat or even a tent – miles of walking and biking trails are open to visitors and hand/foot propelled boats, or boats with electric trolling motors, are permitted on all ponds. Campsites are available to reserve spring, summer and fall.

Two birds on a wire.

There is an app for that

Several apps for iPhone and Android are available to help identify bird species. Try the Audubon Bird Guide, eBird, Song Sleuth or Merlin Bird ID.

Check out this fun video from a Philadelphia CBS station that tells you more.

What to look for

Birds can be found anywhere - from your backyard feeder and local parks to waterways and open prairie. While trees seem like an obvious place to spot feathered friends, don't forget to look at shorelines and along the ground as those places are great spots for birds to find a tasty snack. Just be patient, be quiet and enjoy!

Great Blue Heron This Great Blue Heron loves the water and can be found near ponds and lakes looking for its next meal. Other water birds found in Weld County include pelicans, cormorants, ducks, geese, gulls and terns.

Meadowlard The prairie is home to hundreds of birds, and surprisingly few trees. Western Meadowlarks, such as the one pictured here, are likely to be heard before being seen. Look closely at fence posts, rock and the tops of plants for birds like the Lark Bunting and Burrowing Owls as well.

Northern Flicker Your own backyard is probably home to more birds than you realize. This Northern Flicker loves suet as do Blue Jays and various sparrows and wrens.

Click here to check out more photos of birds found in Weld County on our Pinterest board.

Where to look in Weld County