Trip report: Colorado: Chasing Chickens (April 2016) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Andrew Spencer. This was a set departure tour.

If you ask the average tourist, April is not the ideal time to visit Colorado. The winter ski season is grinding to a close, with only a few slopes still open. At the same time, access to the backcountry that makes the state famous during the summer months is still patchy to say the least. And the weather, always fickle in the state, can vary from hot to freezing in a matter of hours, with anything from strong sun to strong snow falling down on you. But ask a birder, and they will likely say there is no better time to visit Colorado. Many of the winter specialties are still bopping around at mountain feeders and on the open plains, while spring arrivals have begun to trickle in. And most of all, the stunning variety of “chickens” that inhabit the area are in full form, dancing and clucking their hearts out in the cool spring dawn.

In 2016, Tropical Birding ran two concurrent trips to Colorado; this report covers the group that ran the tour in a counter-clockwise loop around the state. Some last minute changes forced by an untimely blizzard and a change in location for Lesser Prairie-Chicken resulted in more driving than usual, but we still managed to score just about every target species (and the full suite of grouse).

Click this link to view the full report in PDF format (4 MB file)