Bird Watching in Bryce

In the Bryce Canyon area, there are over 200 different species of birds that can be observed. For those who are new to birdwatching, and those who are birdwatching professionals, Bryce Canyon is an incredible place to spy many different birds. In fact, many people travel to Bryce for the sole purpose of birdwatching. Anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of some breathtaking birds should look no further than Bryce, Utah.
When it comes to birdwatching in Bryce, there are a few things to keep in mind. The types of birds that can be seen, the seasons to birdwatch, and the equipment needed to birdwatch, are all very important aspects of birdwatching. Knowing what the common birds of Bryce look like, where they live, and where they are likely to be seen will increase the chance of seeing them. It’s also important to know which season to visit and what will be needed during the trip. When visitors plan a birdwatching trip, they will set themselves up for an incredible birding experience.

Types of Birds

The birds of Bryce Canyon are incredibly diverse. Of the hundreds of species of birds across Bryce, there are many birds that can be seen on a regular basis. From falcons to swallows, the winged creatures that call Bryce home will amaze every visitor. The following are a few bird species which can be seen in Bryce.

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon by Ron Knight

The Peregrine Falcon can be found in the western portion of the United States, as well as along the east coast. They usually have a muddled brown, tan, and black coloring. These amazing creatures will nest just about anywhere, from forests to cities. However, in the Bryce area, they are most likely to nest on rocky cliff sides and among the pines. Their long, slender wings and incredible speed make them an easy bird to spot. Better yet, Peregrine Falcons often hunt in pairs, so birdwatchers are likely to see more than one at a time.

 

Steller’s Jay

Stellars Jay by Eric Ellingson

The Steller’s Jay makes its home in the mountainous parts of the western United States. The Steller’s Jay has a deep blue body with a black head. The top of the head sports a tall crest, which sets this jay apart from others in the area. Those hoping to spy a Steller’s Jay should head to the Ponderosa forests, along the Bryce Canyon rim. These birds like to inconspicuously nest in the trees. Years of being fed by visitors have made many of these birds turn into beggars. It is important to remember not to feed these wild creatures, so their future as a thriving species in Bryce can be assured.

 

 

 

Raven

Raven

Ravens can be found throughout most of the world. They will live in most wild, undeveloped areas of wilderness. They are a larger, usually about two feet long, bird with jet black feathers. Because they have coloring and shape like a crow, ravens and crows are often confused for one another. However, a raven is about twice the size of a common crow. They are likely to be seen around the parking areas of scenic viewpoints, because ill-informed guests will often feed them in these areas. Catching a glimpse of these intelligent birds in their natural habitat will be an experience not soon forgotten.

 

 

 

 

California Condor

California Condor
California Condors can be found only in a few small areas near Utah and in California. Since California Condors are an endangered species, spotting one in the wild is rare. They are very large birds, weighing up to 22 pounds, with a wingspan of around 108 inches. They have a bald, pink head, and a stocky body covered in brown feathers. It is rare to see a California Condor, but it is not unheard of. Any sightings of this incredible bird should be reported to park officials immediately.

 

 

 

 

Clark’s Nutcracker

Clark’s Nutcracker
Clark’s Nutcrackers live in higher elevations, throughout the western part of the United States and Canada. These small birds are the size of a jay, but are shaped like a crow. They have a light grey body, a black tail, and black wings. Birdwatchers are most likely to see a Clark’s Nutcracker in higher elevations around Bryce, living among the pines. Listening for their gravelly call, and frequenting areas with seeds and nuts, is the best way to spy one of these terrific birds.

 

 

 

 

Osprey

Osprey
Osprey can be found across the United States, Canada, and many other parts of the world. They are larger birds, with a wingspan of around five feet. They have dark brown bodies with white undersides, and their head is white with a dark eye stripe. Their shape and movements make them easily identifiable, while they are soaring through the air. Osprey feed on live fish, which they catch with their large talons. Their feeding habits mean they live close to water, so the various bodies of water near Bryce are the best places to catch a glimpse of the magnificent Osprey.

Violet-Green Swallow
Swallows are a common bird, but there is something special about the Violet-green Swallow. The Violet-green Swallow is found in the western parts of the United States and Canada. They are a small, fast bird. As their name implies, they are violet and green. Various shades of green run from the top of the head to the middle of their back. From there, the tail and wing feathers are a violet hue. Their underside is a bright white, which makes their deep greens and violets even more striking. In Bryce, the Violet-green Swallow feeds on swarms of flying insects, so sightings around still waters and bright lights are most common.

Violet Green Swallow

 

 

Seasons for Birdwatching

Every season in Bryce provides ample opportunities to see the magnificent birds of the area. The time of the year birdwatchers come to visit Bryce will depend on a few factors. The type of birds they would like to see and the weather they would like to experience are the two most important aspects of a birdwatching trip’s timing. Rest assured, all four seasons in Bryce are beautiful, and there are magnificent birds to be

Winter

Though many birds do not stick around Bryce during the winter, there are still quite a few amazing birds to be seen during winters in Bryce. Lucky birdwatchers may spot a Bald Eagle or a Ring-necked Pheasant. Generally, though, visitors will mainly see the common birds who call Bryce home year-round.
The following birds are just a few of the common birds to see in Bryce during the winter.

  • Copper’s Hawk
  • Steller’s Jay
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Raven
  • Mountain Chickadee

Spring
Spring is a very exciting time of the year for birdwatching in Bryce. The months of March until May are a time of increased activity for the birds of Bryce. During the spring, birds are nesting, mating, and preparing for the arrival of their young. Fortunate birdwatchers may see the unique mating ritual of the Peregrine Falcon, as they plummet incredible distances overhead. Or, they may find themselves being chased away by a protective swallow, if they venture too close to their nest.
While there are many birds to be seen in Bryce during the spring, the following are a few of the most common species that may be observed.

  • Mallard
  • White-throated Swift
  • Broad-tailed Hummingbird
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler

Summer
Summer is another exciting time of the year for birdwatchers. During the summer, newly hatched birds are venturing out of their nests for the first time. Some birds may be laying another round of eggs, and working tirelessly to care for their hatchings. Some birds are still finding a mate to begin the mating and nesting process with. For birdwatchers in Bryce, summer is a great time to see many unique species performing their daily routines in their natural habitat.
Of the many species of birds to see during the summer in Bryce, these are a few of the most exciting.

  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Cassin’s Finch
  • Say’s Phoebe
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird
  • American Coot

Fall
During the months of September to November, birdwatchers can observe birds doing many incredible things. Many birds may be preparing for migration by filling up on their choice of nuts, berries, seeds, or other food sources. Others begin the process of preparing to stay for the winter in Bryce. Watching these amazing creatures as they prepare for winter in their own special way is a truly magical experience.
Though there are fewer birds in the fall than there are during the spring or summer, there are still many impressive beds to be seen. The following are just a few of the birds to see during the fall Bryce.

  • Brewer’s Blackbird
  • Pygmy Nuthatch
  • Violet-green Swallow
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Mountain Bluebird
Birdwatching Equipment

Experienced birdwatchers are likely to have an arsenal of birdwatching equipment. High-tech binoculars, guidebooks, radars, and more can be used to get the most out of a birding trip. However, for novice birdwatchers, there are just a few important things that should be used while birdwatching.

Seasonal Clothing
Clothes that will keep birders safe from the elements are a must. Whether it’s a hot summer day or a frigid winter morning, sensible clothing will make a trip enjoyable and safe.

Binoculars
Binoculars are the tool that turns a casual hike along the landscape into a birdwatching adventure. Having a good pair of binoculars can eliminate a lot of guesswork while trying to spot birds. With binoculars, birdwatchers can see the birds closely, identify them, and fully enjoy the unique, individual beauty each bird within a species has.

Camera
Catching a great picture or video of the birds in Bryce is a great way to share this exciting experience with others. Even people who are not interested in birdwatching will enjoy looking at pictures of the incredible colors, pattern, and other features on different species of birds.

Navigation Equipment
Since birdwatching is such an interesting activity, and following the birds can lead birdwatchers of the beaten path, it is important to have some sort of navigation equipment. Maps, GPS, and other navigation equipment will help birders to avoid being lost in the wild Bryce landscape.

Bird Species Checklist
The National Park Service compiled a list of the 210 species of birds that have been seen within a five-mile radius of Bryce Canyon National Park. This comprehensive list is a terrific guide to the common, occasional, uncommon, and rare birds of the area. Having this list can help to identify species, determine how rare a sighting is, and compare notes with other birders.

Keep an Eye on the Sky in Bryce

All year long in Bryce, visitors can look to the sky, peer into the trees, or search rocky cliff sides to catch a glimpse of incredible bird species. The untouched wilderness of Bryce Canyon National Park, and the surrounding areas, makes viewing birds in their natural habitat fun and easy. No matter what activity has drawn visitors to the area, spending a little time observing the amazing flying beauties of Bryce will be time well spent.