• A bull elk bugles in Yellowstone National Park


    National Park ID,MT,WY

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  • Craig Pass Closed for the Season; Mammoth to Norris, Expect 30-minute Delays

    The road linking West Thumb and Old Faithful is closed for the season—traffic should detour through West Thumb, Lake, and Canyon. More »


An American white pelican hovers above the surface of Yellowstone Lake.
An American white pelican hovers above the surface of Yellowstone Lake.

Records of bird sightings have been kept in Yellowstone since its establishment in 1872. These records document nearly 300 species of birds to date, including raptors, songbirds, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Approximately 150 species nest in the park. The variation in elevation and broad array of habitat types found within Yellowstone contribute to the relatively high diversity. Many of the birds are migratory species. There are currently no federally listed bird species in Yellowstone National Park.

The Yellowstone National Park bird program monitors a small portion of its breeding bird species to gather information like reproduction, abundance, and habitat use, on multiple species from a wide variety of taxonomic groups; and maintain data from 25 or more years for several species. Long-term monitoring efforts help inform park staff of potential shifts in ecosystem function (e.g., climate change effects) for Yellowstone’s bird community and may guide future conservation of the park’s birds and their habitats.

Sensitive species

  • Birds should be viewed from a distance. Getting too close can stress a bird (as it can any animal) and sometimes cause the bird to abandon its nest.
  • The use of audio bird calls (or any other wildlife call) is illegal in the park.
  • Never feed birds or other park wildlife.

Quick Facts about Birds in Yellowstone
  • 280 bird species have been documented in Yellowstone.
  • Approximately 150 of these species nest in the park.
Additional Resources

Did You Know?

Bear Cubs

Even though the animals of Yellowstone seem tame they are still wild. Feeding the animals is not permitted in any way, and all visitors must keep 100 yards away from wolves and bears, and 25 yards from other animals.