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Your Winter Bird Watching in Yellowstone Checklist

Just because the weather is cold doesn’t mean you have to set aside your passion for bird watching until
the spring. While many birds migrate out of Wyoming in the winter, a select few fly in from the north to
make the state their winter home.

Read on to learn more about the seasonal species you should keep your eyes peeled for while winter
bird watching in Yellowstone.

Common Goldeneyes
These medium-sized ducks are found in shallow lakes and ponds during the winter. You’ll recognize
them by their triangular head, sloping bill, and distinctive amber eye for which they’re named. Males
have dark green heads and mostly-white bodies, while females have chocolate brown heads and gray
bodies. Common Goldeneyes are nicknamed the “Whistler” by hunters, so listen closely for the
characteristic whistling sound of their wings as they fly.

Bohemian Waxwings
If you see a tree with berries on it, a Bohemian Waxwing is likely to be perched on one of its branches.
Known for their prominent crest and blushing peach face, these social creatures often flock in large groups during the winter. Other distinctive physical characteristics of the Bohemian Waxwing include
their yellow-tipped tail and red tipped feathers on their wings.

Snow Buntings
Stay on the lookout for these restless creatures which flock in great numbers through open fields. In the
winter, they have rust-colored patches on the top and sides of their head as well as their shoulders.
Females will have darker patches and a rusty wash on their face and breast. These birds won’t stick
around long as they become antsy in the winter and tend to fly to new locations every 10 minutes.

Rough-Legged Hawks
These raptors spend the winter in open fields, plains, or marshes. Rough-Legged Hawks come in both
light and dark forms: dark morphs can be completely chocolate brown aside from their white
underwings, while light morphs are heavily mottled with bronze and auburn coloring. All Rough-Legged
Hawks are easily identified by their relatively narrow wings, long tail, and feathered legs.

Lapland Longspurs
In the winter you’ll find these sparrow-like birds in open fields and prairies. They’re easily identified by
the heavy streaks on their backs which extend to the tip of their tail, along with their white outer tail
feathers. In the winter, female and male Lapland Longspurs look-alike with chestnut wings and black
border around their cheeks.

There is so much captivating wildlife to see in Wyoming during the wintertime. Don’t miss your chance
to view these seasonal species and make winter bird watching in Yellowstone your next weekend
activity.

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