What trails in Rocky Mountain National Park would you recommend to find birds

I’m looking for a lot of birds. I know there are different trails for different birds. White-tailed Ptarmigans, many owls, rosy-finches, and many others. You can also recommend to me any other birds that I can find here. You can also recommend any other trails outside of the park. I live in aurora so I look for as many trails as possible. also, I look at how close the trail is to me. I usually bike to the trails

People typically look for ptarmigans near the top of trail ridge road. I’ve seen them on the saddle between Fairchild and Hagues, but that’s an 8 mile hike one way. Never seen rosy finches in the park, but plenty in the Sawatch Range near Leadville and Buena Vista (they hang out on snow patches at 13-14,000 ft). A hike in Wild Basin is probably the best place for American 3-toed Woodpeckers, since the trails are less crowded.

Have u seen owls besides great-horned owls? I’m looking forward to finishing most of the owls in colorado. I would also like to know if you have seen any band-tailed pigeons. It’s the last pigeon/dove that I need in the western part of the USA. after that, I need a Common Ground-Dove, White-crowned Dove, and White-tipped Dove

I know people who’ve seen Flamms and Pygmy in the park, but not me. I think there could be western screech and long-eared in the area too? eBird is a good place to search recent sightings.

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I visited RMNP about 3 years ago; unfortunately we weren’t able to visit at the optimal time of day for birding. I didn’t manage to find a white-tailed ptarmigan, but I did manage to find an adult and juvenile brown-capped rosy finch foraging at the edge of some snow at the Lava Cliffs overlook, and sources I find online support that being a great spot for them. Of course, three years ago had rather special circumstances for RMNP with surprisingly late and heavy snowfall.

That reminds me … the gates to the park are open 24/7. In summer, you’ll want to arrive as early as possible (before 7) for dawn chorus and better parking. Avoid Bear Lake as much as possible, it’s a zoo. You could also go hiking at Berthoud Pass (near Winter Park) for similar access to high elevation tundra that Ptarmigans live in.

has anyone seen a band-tailed pigeon up there? or possibly a Goshawk. What birds have any of you seen in colorado and where can I find them?

All I can recommend is to pick a few different habitats and go hike. I’ve walked literally thousands of miles in Colorado and seen a lot of birds, but rarely on purpose. The last time I saw rosy finches was a snowfield near the summit of Mount Hope (13,933 ft, 8 mile hike near Buena Vista). Driving to Independence Pass would be much easier though!

Goshawks are usually a chance encounter (fly-by), unless you know someone who finds a nest. Personally, I’ve never heard of BT pigeons in Colorado.

For example:

  • Chimney Gulch trail in Golden, CO - orioles, Yellow Warblers, Lazuli Buntings, dippers near Clear creek then forest birds (nuthatches, downy and hairy woodpeckers, grosbeaks, Chipping sparrows, Steller’s jays) near the top
  • Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR and Barr Lake State Park - kestrels, pelicans, bald eagles, meadowlarks, Swainson hawks, Vesper sparrows, Western grebes
  • Trail Ridge Road in RMNP - nutcrackers, Canada jays, Golden eagles, American pipits, White-crowned sparrows, ptarmigans and grouse if you’re lucky
  • Gardens of the Gods in CO Springs - Pinyon jays, GT towhees, magpies, scrub jays, Rock wrens, falcons

Thanks for the info also where is Wild Basin. I’d probably like to hike there before I climb Mt. Elbert.

It’s the southern entrance to RMNP on the east side, while trail ridge road entrance is further north in Estes Park.

also, I’m going to Red feather lakes tomorrow so if anyone can recommend some trails near there. Poudre canyon area is fine

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