Bird watching in Yellowstone Country

We share our big sky with more than 400 species of birds, and we never tire of hearing the song of the western meadowlark—our state bird. Yellowstone Country is a birder’s paradise that happens to look like paradise, too. The Bridger Mountains are one of North America’s busiest Golden Eagle migratory routes, and Yellowstone is home to some of the rarest of life-list birds, like the black-crowned night heron, the red-necked grebe and the western bluebird. Varied park habitat of low, mid and high-elevations means diversity of birds in the park, especially during the summer months and migration periods. Thermal features and geyser basins also offer year-round habitat for the feathered residents of Yellowstone National Park.


Three Forks Ponds/Old Town Road: Best for osprey and a mix of waterfowl.

Bridger Bowl Ridge: Best for fall raptor migration.

Middle Cottonwood Canyon Trail: Best for western tanager, green-tailed towhee and Swainson's thrush.

Triple Tree Trail: Best for species diversity and short hikes in the Gallatin Valley.

Red Rocks Lake Wildlife Refuge: Birds are special residents at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge’s rich wetlands and nearby forests make ideal habitat for breeding and feeding birds in early June. Red Rock Lakes is best known as the primary location for the efforts to save the trumpeter swan from extinction. In addition to the beautiful trumpeter swan, there are a minimum of 232 other species of birds that have been recorded within the refuge.

Check out more birding hotspots of the Gallatin Valley.

Common Yellowstone Birds:

  • Canada Goose
  • Gadwall
  • Mallard
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Northern Pintail
  • Green Winged Teal
  • Lesser Scaup
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Common Goldeneye
  • Red Billed Gull
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Eurasian Collared Dove
  • Morning Dove
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Mountain Bluebird
  • American Robin
  • European Starling
  • Black-breasted chickadee
  • Mountain Chickadee
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Wild Turkey
  • Bald Eagle
  • Osprey
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Killdeer
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Northern Flicker
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • American Crow
  • Common Raven
  • Tree Swallow
  • Violet-Green Swallow
  • Cliff Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • House Sparrow
  • Western Meadowlark

Rare Yellowstone Birds:

  • Great tailed Grackle
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Harris’s Sparrow
  • Fox Sparrow
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Broad-tailed Hummingbird
  • Gyrfalcon
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