Spanish Peaks Birding Trail
Colorado Parks and Wildlife began building the statewide Colorado Birding Trail in 2000, connecting points rich in birds and wildlife. The trail now consists of three regions—Western Colorado, Rocky Mountains, and Eastern Plains. It’s in the Rocky Mountain region that you’ll find the Spanish Peaks Birding Trail.
The Spanish Peaks Birding Trail follows the Highway of Legends, includes a variety of habitats, and contains 20 sites that run the gamut of Colorado biodiversity.
The Spanish Peaks Birding Trail leads through Walsenburg, Lathrop State Park, La Veta, Wahatoya Valley, Devil’s Stairsteps, Stonewall, Bosque del Oso State Wildlife Area, and more.
Cool fact: The Colorado state bird is the lark bunting. It was chosen because of its acrobatic courtship dance and melodic song, which comes in short whistles and tweets, similar to a canary’s.
At Lathrop State Park, you might spot white pelicans, snow geese, canvasback ducks, American avocets, and a host of other water birds. There are ladder-backed woodpeckers south of the lakes, while greater roadrunners may be seen on the north side.
La Veta is a good place to see hummingbirds, warblers, downy woodpeckers, flycatchers, ravens, great horned owls, and turkey vultures.
At Wahatoya Lakes State Wildlife Area, chances are you’ll see dusky grouse, nuthatches, kinglets, or three-toed woodpeckers.
Head south on Hwy 12 and pass the Devil’s Stairsteps, where golden eagles, prairie falcons, and white-throated swifts soar.
The Stonewall area offers a chance to see pygmy nuthatches and plumbaceous vireos from the road. At the Bosque del Oso State Wildlife Area, there are Lewis’s woodpeckers, turkeys, and northern goshawks.
The diversity and abundance of bird life along the many sections of the Spanish Peaks Birding Trail is amazing. The trail provides a mecca for nature lovers willing to go a bit off the beaten path.