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Birds of the Rocky Mountains

February 25, 2022

The Rocky Mountains are renowned for their incredible diversity of wildlife, and birds are certainly no exception. In addition to the many tame animals of the ranch and the breathtaking wild mammals you’ll observe, at C Lazy U Ranch resort you’ll be surrounded by some of the most incredible feathered creatures you’ll ever see (and hear). Literally hundreds of species of birds can be spotted both on the ranch and in the surrounding areas. Whew, that’s a lot! The unbelievable myriad of amazing animals to see can be overwhelming, and so we’ve prepared a small taste of just some of the awe-inspiring creatures you might find perched in a tree or taking to the sky.  

Related: A Horse’s Tale: A Glimpse of the Life On The Ranch 

What Birds Can I See at C Lazy U Ranch?


Among the most powerful and striking birds in the world, eagles are an incredible sight to behold on the ranch. The surrounding geography – with rocky peaks and dense, tall forests – provides ideal nesting conditions for both Bald Eagles (the national bird of the United States) and Golden Eagles (the largest birds of prey in North America). Avid fishermen on the ranch might even see one of these gigantic birds diving at 100 miles-per-hour to pull a rainbow trout from Willow Creek!  

bald eagle in air


Types of owl that can be spotted in the area include Great Horned Owls, Northern Pygmy-Owls, and Boreal Owls. The largest of these owl species is the Great Horned Owl, which is also known as the “tiger owl” or the “tiger of the air” due to the camouflage stripes that appear on its breast and belly. The namesake “horns” are actually feather tufts known as plumicorns. Owls are primarily nocturnal and are often elusive creatures. While you might not actually see one of these nighttime hunters, you may still hear their famous, distinctive “who-who” call at night through your cabin windows – the perfect ambience to accompany your roaring fire. 

Owl in the field


Another incredible bird of prey at the ranch, and perhaps the most frequently spotted, are Red-tailed Hawks. These hawks are the largest of hawks, and are easily identifiable in flight due to their (as the name implies) red tails. They can be seen on the ranch year-round, though some move to the Colorado lowlands during severe winters. Gophers and rabbits make easy prey for these birds, and so they are often seen hunting in the pastures and fields.  

Hawk in the sky


Silly as though they may sometimes seem, these are actually among the smartest animals on the ranch – and the world. They’re even known to use tools, bring humans gifts, and cause harmless mischief when bored. The black-billed magpie or “American magpie” is a member of the crow family, and can be identified by their black-and-white patterning, along with a beautiful iridescence on their tail and wings. These are some of the most common birds on the ranch, and you’re almost guaranteed to find them during your stay. 


When you wake in the morning to beautiful singing, these are the birds responsible. Passerines, also known as “perching birds” or “songbirds,” make-up the largest order of birds in the animal kingdom, comprising more than half of all bird species. Types of passerine that can be found on the ranch include sparrows, finches, wrens, thrushes, warblers, jays, and swallows (among so, so many more). They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the males of each species are often brightly colored with vivid, amazing patterns. While you can hear these birds and their delightful music year-round, Fridays in the summer are the perfect time to bask in nature’s serenade while you experience Chef Corey’s mouthwatering, ranch-style breakfast at scenic Woodsie Overlook. 

passerine in the mountains


Due to the ranch’s proximity to a number of large water bodies, an incredible variety of waterfowl can be spotted in the area. This includes a number of common bird species like ducks, geese, and swans. Additionally, waterfowl uncommon to Colorado can be spotted due to migratory patterns. It’s not unlikely to see gulls, terns, ospreys, and even pelicans occupying bodies of water around the ranch! 

A Paradise for Birds and Bird Watchers

Whether on a hike or horseback ride, casting a line or playing in the powder, with a vigilant eye you’re sure to spot some incredible avian life at C Lazy U dude ranch!

Contact C Lazy U Dude Ranch to reserve your spot for a family vacation in the Colorado mountains.

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Ranch Blog

Wild animals abound here at C Lazy U Ranch. On a visit to our working dude ranch and resort, you’re likely to spot some of the Rocky Mountains’ most iconic creatures, both big and small. Right at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, we share the same wealth of Colorado wildlife that makes RMNP…

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All the servers and people checking in on us were very attentive, friendly, and helpful. We never felt like we were waiting for service or anything, and the food was AMAZING.

~ Jen O., 09-16-2021

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