Birds


Grand Teton National Park has a number of diverse habitats which support a host of birds in the area. Within the park boundaries some of the largest and smallest North American birds can be found. The calliope hummingbird, the smallest North American bird, weighs less than a tenth of an ounce. This bird can be found around blooming scarlet gila and near willow. The trumpeter swan, the largest water fowl in North America, can be seen in the area of Swan Lake as well as near the National Elk Refuge. These birds are usually found in pairs that mate for life.

Two birds that can be found around areas of water are the osprey and bald eagle. A sighting of either of these birds catching fish is a special treat. Ospreys are distinguishable from other birds by the streamlined manner in which they carry a fish in their talons. The talons are typically turned so that the fish can be carried parallel to the bird’s body.

The Western Tanager is one of the most colorful birds in the Tetons and can be found in forested areas. In the summer the male is red, orange, yellow, and black. Another impressive bird sighting in the area of the Tetons is the Sage Grouse. If you visit the park during the spring months you may see the courtship display which occurs near the Jackson Hole airport. The tail feathers of the male Sage Grouse can spread over a 280-degree angle. This display, along with brightly colored expanded air sacs on the chest which produce a popping sound, may help to attract a female. 

Birdwatchers are reminded to view birds from a distance, preferably with binoculars. Also, as with all wildlife, birds are not to be harassed or disturbed. This descriptive list is only a sampling of the birds that can be found in the Jackson Hole area.

Bird Finding Guide

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