My 14 Best Bird Watching Spots in Wyoming You Should Try

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Wyoming is one of the biggest states in the U.S. It also has some large and well-known parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Parks. The vast, open areas and relatively low population in Wyoming make for an excellent bird watching experience.

The best bird watching spots in Wyoming include big national parks like Grand Teton and Yellowstone and exciting areas like the Red Desert and Lions Park. The best place to see a range of birds at different elevations is by taking the Snowy Range Scenic Byway.

A table giving the most exciting birds you can see at each of my top 14 birding spots in Wyoming:

Grand Teton National ParkClark’s Nutcracker and American Three-toed Woodpecker
Keyhole State ParkUpland Sandpiper and Black-billed Magpie
Yellowstone National ParkGolden Eagle and American Dipper
Edness Kimball Wilkins State ParkCommon Merganser and Warbling Vireo
Seedskadee National Wildlife RefugeRing-necked Duck and Marsh Wren
Hutton Lake National Wildlife RefugeMcCown’s Longspur and Western Grebe
Devil’s Tower National MonumentPeregrine Falcon and Cliff Swallow
Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife RefugeBlack Tern and Sandhill Crane
Wyoming Hereford RanchPhiladelphia Vireo and Prothonotary Warbler
Snowy Range Scenic BywayBrown-capped Rosy-Finch and American Pipit
Lions ParkYellow Warbler and Belted Kingfisher
The Red DesertBurrowing Owls and Sage Thrashers
Curt Gowdy State ParkMountain Chickadee and Red-breasted Nuthatch
Shoshone National ForestMerlin and Trumpeter Swan
Best Places to Bird Watch in Wyoming

Read on for more information and bird species in each of my chosen best bird watching spots in Wyoming.

Best Bird Watching Spots in Wyoming
Best Bird Watching Spots in Wyoming

TIP: If you want to check out the best pair of binoculars for bird watching, we recommend a pair of waterproof and fog-proof 8 x 42 binoculars like the Celestron – Outland X 8×42 Binoculars (Amazon link).

Best Places to Bird Watch in Wyoming

You can bird watch many places in Wyoming, including lakes, rivers, grasslands, forests, and mountains.

1. Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is 310,000 acres in size and is a terrific spot for bird watching, with 304 species recorded. There are high-elevation birds found here. You can also find birds in the sagebrush and along water courses.

Birds typically found in Grant Teton include Vesper Sparrows and Greater Sage-Grouses. You can also find Long-billed Curlews and Black-billed Magpies.

You can see birds like the Steller’s Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Pine Siskin, and Red Crossbill at higher elevations. You can use a checklist of the birds of Grand Teton to help you in the park when bird watching.

Watch for Common Loons, Western Grebes, and Common Mergansers at Jackson Lake. Osprey and Sandhill Cranes can also be seen near the lake.

TIP: Knowing how to spot the birds in your yard is key to enjoying visits from your winged friends as much as possible! The best sources are trusted books, I recommend using the following (Amazon links):
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
National Audubon Society Birds of North America

2. Keyhole State Park

This park is located in the northeastern part of the state. The park is also used for bird banding activities by the Audubon Society. There are various habitats here, including grasslands, woodlands, and reservoirs. 

Birds you can find at this state park include Upland Sandpiper, American White Pelican, Wild Turkey, Horned Lark, and Black-billed Magpie. During migration, the park attracts many terns, gulls, and waterfowl.

3. Yellowstone National Park

This park is enormous at 2,221,766 acres in size. It offers a range of bird habitats, so it is a good spot for bird watching.

Habitats you should bird watch here include rivers and riparian areas along rocky rivers, coniferous forests, mixed forests, and open areas. You can find Harlequin Ducks and American Dippers in the Yellowstone River.

In the forests, you can find the following bird species: Townsend’s Solitaire, Swainson’s Thrush, Gray Jay, Dusky Flycatcher, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Hammond’s Flycatcher, and Williamson’s Sapsucker.

White-throated Swifts and Golden Eagles also live in the park. You can print off a checklist of all the birds recorded in Yellowstone National Park.

Roads may be closed at certain times of the year due to snow; check the website for more information if you plan a winter visit.

4. Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park

This state park is situated along the North Platte River and includes ponds and cottonwood trees. The park is 362 acres in size and is designated as an important bird area. Birds on the water include Mallards, Wood Ducks, Common Mergansers, Double-crested Cormorants, and Blue-winged Teals.

The trees in the park have resident birds like Warbling Vireos, Black-headed Grosbeaks, and Bullock’s Orioles. Keep watch for Lark Sparrows and, possibly, even Wood Thrushes in the shrubbery. 

5. Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge

This refuge is in the southwestern state, surrounded by a high desert. The Green River flows through the refuge, and you can find open areas and brush.

The birds to look out for include the Greater Sage-Grouse and Trumpeter Swan. Ring-necked Duck, Cinnamon Teal, Common Goldeneye, and Pied-billed Grebe can be seen on the water.

Watch for Marsh Wrens in marshy areas, and in the grassy areas, watch for Brewer, Vesper, and Sagebrush Sparrows.

You can also see Bald Eagles in the refuge and Northern Harriers. Golden Eagles and Ferruginous Hawks are two other raptors you can find in Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge.

6. Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge comprises wetlands, grasslands, and scrub. The refuge is in the southern part of the state, just south of Laramie. Hutton Lake’s wetlands birds include Cinnamon Teals, Redheads, Canvasbacks, Gadwalls, Western Grebes, and Eared Grebes.

You can also see American White Pelicans and Forster’s Terns near the water. On the edge of the lake in marshy areas, you should see if you can spot the secretive Virginia Rail and Sora.

You should look in the scrub and grass for birds like the Sage Thrasher, Vesper Sparrow, and McCown’s Longspur. 

7. Devil’s Tower National Monument

Devil’s Tower National Monument has trails that pass along the river through ponderosa pine, grasslands, and riparian vegetation. You can find many birds at Devil’s Tower, including raptors, passerines, owls, and game birds.

The monument is 900 feet high, and the cliffs offer an excellent place to spot Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons, Golden Eagles, and Cliff Swallows. You should also look out for other raptors like the Swainson’s Hawks and Red-tailed Hawks.

Summer migrants like Western Tanager and Lazuli Bunting can also be spotted in the area. Some owls are seen in the park, including the Great Horned Owl and Northern Saw-whet Owl.

8. Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

This 8,106-acre refuge is found along the Bear River and is designated an important bird area in Wyoming. Wetlands, marshy areas, sagebrush, grasslands, and agricultural fields provide foraging and nesting opportunities for birds. 

Bird species that you can find in this refuge include Canada Geese, Sandhill Cranes, Black Terns, White-faced Ibises, and American Bitterns.

You can also see Snowy Egrets and Long-billed Curlews. Several species of waterfowl can also be found in the open waters of the refuge.

TOP TIP: How do birds recognize each other and others of their own species? Find out here. This article provides a complete breakdown of how birds recognize their own babies.

9. Wyoming Hereford Ranch

This ranch is found east of the city of Cheyenne. Since this is a private ranch, you should contact the owners first before planning a bird watching trip here, even though they do welcome birders.

The ranch has several trees, such as pines, spruce, cottonwoods, and willows. There are also grasslands and the tree-lined Crow Creek. 

There are also two reservoirs on the property where you can look for waterfowl. Such as ducks and grebes. A total of 240 bird species have been noted in the area, and the best time to make a trip here is probably spring and fall when migration occurs.

On the ranch, birds to look out for include Prothonotary Warbler, Great-crested Flycatcher, and Philadelphia Vireo.

10. Snowy Range Scenic Byway 

This byway is a road that takes you through the Medicine Bow National Forest for 27 miles. It takes you up over 10,000 feet into the upper reaches of the Rocky Mountains. You can expect to find some high-elevation bird species along this route.

The habitats for birds change as you drive up from lower to higher levels. You can find sagebrush, lodgepole pines, then spruce and fir forests. 

You can watch out for birds in the area, including Dusky Grouse, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Cordilleran Flycatcher Pine Siskin, Clark’s Nutcracker, Mountain Chickadee, American Pipit; at the highest spots, you can find Brown-capped Rosy-Finches.

11. Lions Park

Lions Park is exceptional during spring migration. There is also a lake, Sloan Lake, present in the park, which helps attract birds to the region. During migration, you can find many warblers and vireos in the cottonwoods around the lake.

On the lake, you can spot birds like Western Grebes and Osprey, and in surrounding vegetation, you can find Yellow Warblers and Yellow-headed Blackbirds. Black-crowned Night Herons and Belted Kingfishers can also be seen near the water park.

12. The Red Desert

This is located in the south-central state and includes a high desert and sagebrush. It may be surprising, but the red desert is good for bird watching. You can also find temporary ponds after the snow has melted.

Birds in the red desert include Sage Sparrows, Greater Sage Grouses, Golden Eagles, Burrowing Owls, Sage Thrashers, and Brewer’s Sparrows.

13. Curt Gowdy State Park

Curt Gowdy State Park has varied topography and is situated at the foot of the Laramie Mountains. There are granite rock formations, rolling hills, meadows, and wooded patches. Three reservoirs are found in the park, providing a place for waterfowl to thrive. 

This park has a bird species list of 168 species. The park has many ponderosa pines, fir, and spruce trees, providing suitable habitats for many birds, such as the Mountain Chickadee, Pygmy Nuthatch, and Red-breasted Nuthatch. Also, keep an eye out for Common Ravens and Black-billed Magpies. 

14. Shoshone National Forest

This is a large area encompassing 2.5 million acres, and it has a range of habitats, including rivers, lakes, meadows, forests, grasslands, mountains, and even waterfalls. 

This beautiful forest has numerous walking trails for bird watchers. The birdlife is prolific here, with 300 species of birds having been recorded in the forest. Birds such as the Black-billed magpie and Clark’s nutcracker are shared here. 

You can also find Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles, Merlin, Great Horned Owls, and Peregrine Falcons. You can see Trumpeter Swans and American White Pelicans on the lakes and many waterfowl species.

Best Time to Bird Watch in Wyoming

Like most other states, Wyoming is an excellent place to look for birds at any time of the year. It is helpful to consider what species you want to see because some are more abundant in certain seasons.

Warblers and vireosSpring
Ducks and TealsWinter
Best Time to Bird Watch in Wyoming

The Wyoming State Bird

Western Meadowlark - State Bird of Wyoming
Western Meadowlark – State Bird of Wyoming

The state bird of Wyoming is the Western Meadowlark. The bird is yellow on the underside. The upper parts of the bird are brown with black steaks. There is also a black band on the breast that forms a V shape.

Meadowlarks like to sing from the top of a bush or fence and have a melodic and distinctive song. You can expect to find meadowlarks in grassland and open areas where they forage for insects but also feed on plant material.

Bird Watching Laws in Wyoming

Birds of prey, which include hawks, falcons, vultures, kestrels, eagles, owls, and most species of other birds, are protected in Wyoming and fall under the protection of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. You may not take or keep any eggs, nests, or birds protected in Wyoming.

TIP: Check out my recommended products if you are looking for the best and trusted equipment for birdwatching in the wild or on your backyard (Amazon link):

My Favourite Equipment for Bird Watching

Bird watching is one of the least expensive hobbies out there, but you still need some equipment to get the most out of it. 

The essential equipment to start bird watching is a pair of binoculars. My preference is 8 X 42 binoculars. The number 8 is how much the magnification is, while 42 is the field of view in millimeters of the lenses.

A pair of waterproof and fog-proof 8 x 42 binoculars like the Celestron – Outland X 8×42 Binoculars on Amazon is an excellent choice for both beginners and experts. 

In time, you can choose more expensive models and also opt to buy a spotting scope like the Celestron Ultima 80 on Amazon.

These are a lot more expensive compared with binoculars though, so if you are only a beginner, start with binoculars first. A spotting scope is only helpful for birds far away, such as out on a pond or seashore.

There are a few rules or guidelines you should abide by as an ethical birder. These are listed below.

  • Do not enter private lands without prior permission from landowners.
  • Follow all the rules in refuges and reserves, including cleaning up any garbage from your campsite.
  • Do not disturb birds on nests.
  • Do not use apps and play songs to call up birds when they are hungry, tired, and breeding during spring and summer.


Wyoming has beautiful scenery, wide open spaces, and prolific bird life.

The two large parks, Yellowstone and Grand Teton, alone provide many birding opportunities, but other high-elevation spots, arid areas, and mountains are good for birds. You should include Wyoming on your bucket list of bird-watching spots.

TIP: If you want to check out the best pair of binoculars for bird watching, we recommend a pair of waterproof and fog-proof 8 x 42 binoculars like the Celestron – Outland X 8×42 Binoculars (Amazon link).

Rae Osborn

Rae Osborn is an avid bird watcher and holds a doctorate in Biology. Her interests in birds began as a child growing up in South Africa. She has continued to study birds and has bird watched in the United States and South Africa.

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