• Camarasus skull in the cliff face, rafters on the Green River, McKee Springs petroglyphs

    Dinosaur

    National Monument CO,UT

Birds

With its varied topography, Dinosaur National Monument includes a number of different habitats: riparian (along waterways), sagebrush, pinyon-juniper woodland, grassland, montane forest, and more. These diverse areas are home to more than 200 bird species, some year-round residents, others part-time residents at Dinosaur.

Dinosaur's rivers are used by, among others, bald eagles, Canada geese, and great blue herons. High above the rivers, canyon walls are home to turkey vultures, peregrine falcons, and a number of hawk species. Nearly a third of all the bird species in the monument have been detected in the pinyon-juniper woodlands, which cover nearly half the monument.

Learn more about a few of Dinosaur National Monument's birds below.

 
Clark's nutcracker

Clark's nutcracker                               

USFS

Clark's nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana) feed primarily on pine seeds. To ensure a supply of food for winter, these birds stockpile seeds in underground caches. A pouch under the tongue allows them carry more than 100 seeds at a time to the cache site. Listen to a Clark's nutcracker.








 
Mountain chickadee

Mountain chickadee

USFWS

Mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli) live year-round in Montane forest. These small songbirds eat insects and use tree cavities for nesting. Listen to a mountain chickadee.











 
Northern goshawk

Northern goshawk

USFS

Northern goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) hunt small birds and mammals. These large hawks will aggressively defend their nests from predators (and from humans!). Listen to a northern goshawk.










 
Mountain bluebird

Female mountain bluebird (left) and male (right).

NPS/Tiffany Small

Male mountain bluebirds (Sialia currucoides) are a vivid blue, making them easy to identify. Despite their more subdued coloring, patches of blue can also be seen on the females. These birds eat insects and nest in tree cavities. Listen to a mountain bluebird.









 
Turkey vulture

Turkey vulture

USFWS

Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) are often seen soaring in the sky, searching for carrion (dead animals). Although from a distance turkey vultures may appear all black, their featherless red heads are one of their most distinctive features. Turkey vultures use their keen sense of smell to locate food. Because turkey vultures lack a syrinx, the avian vocal organ, their vocalizations are limited to grunting and hissing.






 
Greater sage grouse

Greater sage grouse

USFWS

Greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), the largest grouse in North America, require sagebrush and sage steppe for survival. They eat forbs and insects in spring and summer and rely mainly on sagebrush buds in winter. Listen to a greater sage grouse.









 
Golden eagle

Golden eagle

USFWS

Golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) are large raptors that often hunt rabbits, jackrabbits, and prairie dogs. They nest in remote, secluded cliffs. Listen to a golden eagle.











 
Common raven

Common raven

USFWS

Common ravens (Corvus corax) are large, black birds frequently seen at both at Dinosaur National Monument and across the West. Ravens, part of the corvid or crow family, are among the most intelligent birds. Listen to a raven.









 
Black-billed magpie

Black-billed magpie

USFS

With their long tails and distinctive coloring, black-billed magpies (Pica hudsonia) are easy to identify. They make large stick nests in trees. Listen to a black-billed magpie.










 
Canada geese with goslings

Canada geese with goslings

USFWS

Canada geese (Branta canadensis) are common along the river. These large waterbirds nest along the river, sometimes on low ledges above the river. Listen to a Canada goose.











 
Common merganser

Common mergansers, female (left) and male (right)

USFS

Common mergansers (Mergus merganser), recognizable by their scarlet-orange bills, are often seen along the river. These diving ducks eat mostly fish, but will also feed on small aquatic animals and insects. Listen to a common merganser.










 
Burrowing owls

Burrowing owls

USFWS

Burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) nest underground and feed mostly on insects and small mammals. These small owls can dig their own burrows, but will often use burrows created by prairie dogs or other animals. The males often stand watch on a mound near the nest burrow. Listen to a burrowing owl.








 
Peregrine falcon

Peregrine falcon

USFWS

Peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) are a medium-sized bird of prey, roughly the size of a crow. Although males and females are identical in appearance, the female can be a third larger than the male. These previously-endangered birds nest on high, remote cliff ledges in Dinosaur's canyon country. Listen to a peregrine falcon.

Did You Know?

Peregrine chicks on cliff.

A population of peregrine falcons has been established at Dinosaur National Monument. The park's rugged canyons make ideal habitat for the once endangered raptor. Fossils show that dinosaurs evolved into birds--and so still live in modified form at Dinosaur.