Bird Watching in the Rocky Mountains

Family of Canada Geese
Photo by Marcel Finnigan

Clark's Nutcracker
Photo by Scott Rowed

Bird watching in the Rocky Mountains is a great way to experience the great outdoors, do some hiking and breathe in that fresh mountain air. What kinds of birds await you? Well, there are apparently over 300 different species here in the various life zones of the Rockies according to The Compact Guide to BIRDS OF THE ROCKIES by Geoffrey L. Holroyd and Howard Coneybeare. I would recommend this great liitle guide book because it provides you with great detailed paintings of 130 different species and can easily be slipped into any backpack or even pocket!!

This handy little book even gives a "Bird Checklist", where you can check how common these birds are in Waterton, Banff, Jasper Kootenay and Yoho National Park and Kananaskis Country as well as which season you are most likely to see them in.

Here is a list of the birds mentioned in this pocket book and where they can often be found:

American CootLarger Lakes
American CrowMontane Zone
American KestrelWetlands
American RedstartShrublands/Wetlands/Avalanche Slopes
American RobinDeciduous Forests
American WigeonMontane Lakes
Bald EagleSoaring over Mountain Lakes
Bank SwallowWetlands
Barn SwallowWetlands
Barrow’s GoldeneyeLakes & Ponds up to Treeline/Large Rivers
Belted KingfisherWetlands
Black SwiftCanyons near Spray
Black-billed MagpieTownsites/Near Highways
Black-capped ChickadeeDeciduous Forests
Blue GrouseOpen Spruce Forests
Blue-winged TealWetlands
Bohemian WaxwingMontane/Wetlands
Boreal ChickadeeSubalpine/Coniferous Forests
Boreal OwlSubalpine/Coniferous Forests
Brewer's SparrowAlpine Meadows
Brewer’s BlackbirdMontane/Wetlands
Brown CreeperLower Subalpine/Coniferous Forests
Brown-headed CowbirdGrasslands/Shrublands
BuffleheadSmall Ponds/Wetlands
Calliope HummingbirdMontane Grasslands
Canada GooseMontane Lakes
Chipping SparrowMontane/Coniferous Forests
Clark’s NutcrackerConiferous Forests
Common GoldeneyeOpen Rivers
Common LoonMontane Lakes
Common MerganserRivers, Lakes, Streams
Common RavenMontane/Nesting:Cliffs, Rocks
Common RedpollWet Coniferous Forests
Common SnipeWetlands
Common YellowthroatWetlands
Dark-eyed JuncoDeciduous/Coniferous Forests
DipperMountain Rivers/Streams
Eastern KingbirdWetlands
Evening GrosbeakWetlands
Fox SparrowSubalpine/Treeline
Golden EagleOver Columbia Icefield/Kananaskis Lakes
Golden-crowned KingletLower Subalpine/Spruce Forests
Golden-crowned SparrowAlpine Meadows
Gray-crowned Rosy FinchAlpine Meadows
Gray JayConiferous Subalpine Forest
Great Gray OwlConiferous Forests
Great Horned OwlConiferous Forests
Green-winged TealMontane Lakes
Hairy WoodpeckerDeciduous/Coniferous Forests
Hammonds’s FlycatcherWetlands
Harlequin DuckWet Shrublands, Streams and Rivers
Hooded MerganserLakes/Ponds
Horned LarkAlpine Meadows
Least FlycatcherWetlands
Lesser ScaupRivers, Lakes, Streams
Lincoln's SparrowWetlands
MacGillivray’s WarblerShrublands
MallardMontane Lakes
Mountain BluebirdDeciduous/Coniferous Forests (near Treeline)
Mountain ChickadeeMontane Coniferous Forests
Northern FlickerDeciduous Forests
Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk)Meadows/Marshlands
Northern Hawk OwlConiferous Forests
Northern PintailWetlands/Ponds/Lakes
Northern Pygmy OwlConiferous Forests
Olive-sided FlycatcherWetlands
Orange-crowned WarblerShrublands
Pine GrosbeakConiferous Forests
Pine SiskinMontane/Subalpine Coniferous Forests
PintailMontane Lakes
Red CrossbillConiferous Forests (Lake Louise/Maigne)
Red-breasted NuthatchConiferous Forests
Red-necked GrebeMontane Lakes
Red-winged BlackbirdWetlands
Ring-billed GullOpen Lakes
Ring-necked DuckDeep Montane Lakes
Rosy FinchCliffs, Rocks
Ruby-crowned KingletConiferous Forests
Ruffed GrouseDeciduous Forests
Rufous HummingbirdMontane/Willow Marshes/Forests
Sharp-shinned HawkCliffs, Rocks
Snow BuntingFields/Meadows/Road & Railway Tracks
Song SparrowWetlands/Willow Shrublands
Spotted SandpiperNear Lakes/Streams
Spruce GrouseMoist Spruce Forests
Steller’s JayConiferous Forests
Swainson’s ThrushConiferous Forests
Tennessee WarblerShrublands
Three-toed WoodpeckerMontane/Low Subalpine Coniferous Forests
Townsend’s SolitaireOpen Coniferous Forests
Townsend’s WarblerConiferous Forests
Tree SwallowForests near Wetlands
Tundra SwanLarger Montane Lakes
Varied ThrushConiferous Forests
Water PipitAlpine Meadows
Waterthrush (Warbler)Shrublands/Coniferous Forests
Western GrebeLarger Lakes
Western TanagerDouglas Fir Forests
White-crowned SparrowWet Shrublands
White-tailed PtarmiganAlpine
White-throated SparrowMontane Zone (rare)
White-winged CrossbillConiferous Forests (Lake Louise/Maigne)
Willow PtarmiganAlpine (Jasper)
Wilson’s WarblerShrublands
Winter WrenMoist Subalpine Fir Forests in the Main Ranges
Yellow WarblerWetlands
Yellow-rumped WarblerDeciduous Forests


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