Birding in Wyoming

When people think of the hottest birding spots in North America, Wyoming doesn't always come to mind. But about 400 species have been seen in the state, and the opportunities can be enticing enough for even the world's best birders.

Local birders are almost always happy to share their knowledge of the sport and the state's avian attractions. One of the best ways to get oriented and connect with other bird enthusiasts is to contact a local chapter of the Audubon Society. In the Casper area, the Audubon Center at Garden Creek (101 Garden Creek Road, has a self-guiding nature trail. Other Audubon chapters are active in the Cody, Cheyenne, Gillette, Lander, Laramie, Pinedale, and Sheridan areas.

The National Wildlife Refuge system has several sites in Wyoming. The Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge north of the town of Green River was named for the Shoshone Indian word "Sisk-a-dee-agie," or "river of the prairie hen." (That'd be Sage Grouse to us today.) More than half of Wyoming's bird species can be seen here.

Cokeville National Wildlife Refuge – also in southwestern Wyoming – has one of the state's highest densities of nesting waterfowl. In southeastern Wyoming, the Hutton National Wildlife Refuge and the Snowy Range Scenic Byway are favorite birding locations. The Platte Valley Festival of Birds – held annually on the weekend after Memorial Day – is a good time to visit the Saratoga-Encampment area.

Of course, Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks are prime destinations for birding, too. The Yellowstone Association Institute offers birding expeditions lasting a day or longer, and the Teton Science Schools run a summer series of bird banding breakfasts where families can join field staff in monitoring Jackson Hole-area songbirds.

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