Grand Teton National Park has many diverse communities that support a variety of birds. Some of the largest and smallest North American birds inhabit or pass through the park and parkway. The calliope hummingbird, the smallest North American bird, weighs less than a tenth of an ounce. This bird can be found around blooming scarlet gilia and near willow shrubs. The trumpeter swan, the largest waterfowl in North America, can be found at Oxbow Bend, Swan Lake and Flat Creek in the National Elk Refuge. Trumpeter swans are often found in pairs that mate for life.
Osprey and bald eagles hunt and nest near water. The sight of these birds catching a fish is a special treat. Ospreys carry fish in their talons so the fish is parallel to the bird's body in an efficient streamlined position. Osprey are often mistaken for bald eagles.
The Western Tanager is one of the most colorful birds in the Tetons frequenting the forests. The male is red, orange, yellow and black reflecting its winter range in the tropics. If you visit the park during spring, look for the courtship display of the sage grouse in the sagebrush community. During display, the male sage grouse tail feathers spread over a 280-degree angle and they expand air sacs on the chest that produce a popping sound to attract a female.
Birdwatchers are reminded to view birds from a distance especially while nesting, preferably with binoculars. As with all wildlife, birds are not to be harassed or disturbed.
Bird Finding Guide
Bird Checklist (USGS website)