It is not uncommon to see a flock of people with binoculars staring at the sky along the trails in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Our pristine, high-elevation habitat is home to more than 280 bird species, everything from hummingbirds and red tailed hawks to flycatchers, vireos, swallows, wrens, thrushes and warblers. Peregrine falcons make the Lumpy Ridge their home, and climbing routes are closed each year to protect their nesting areas. Bird watching is fun and it's free! While having breakfast the other day at the Other Side Restaurant, I looked out the window and spotted a wild turkey walking along the deck. So even for the casual observer the opportunities are endless!Bird watchers throng to the Matthews-Reeser Bird Sanctuary on the south side of Lake Estes during the spring migration. In December, bird enthusiasts take part in the annual Estes Park Christmas Bird count organized by the National Audubon Society.In his guidebook “Birding: Rocky Mountain National Park,” local resident Scott Roederer takes the reader on a tour of the Park's eight best birding areas. Want to find that white-tailed ptarmigan? The guide identifies when, where and even how to find this elusive bird.Learn from an expert in Rocky Mountain Nature Association’s “Summer Birding with a Naturalist” on June 29, 2011. Former Park naturalist Jeff Maugans will show you how to identify, enjoy and appreciate birds.If you’d like to get your children excited about birding, enroll them in the “Jr. Naturalist Camp: a Birding Adventure” on June 16-18, 2011. Kids will enjoy learning about birds during this three-day, over-night camp that includes bird identification and behavior, habitat exploration, interactive games, hiking and other fun activities.Audubon Magazine named Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park a birder’s paradise, so bring your binoculars and add to your bird list!
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