Best time to travel to Utah

Migratory Bird Watching in Utah

Birding is becoming more and more popular and is often one of the main reasons people travel around the world. If you are a fan of birds, Utah has to be in your list!

Best time: late March–May | July–September

Migratory Bird Watching
Migratory Bird Watching
Migratory Bird Watching
Migratory Bird Watching
Migratory Bird Watching
Migratory Bird Watching
Bird Refuge, Utah
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The area of Utah is very important to the Western Hemisphere's migrations, featuring three national wildlife refuges and lots of other birding locations. This diverse nature is home to more than 430 bird species. One of the most popular birding sites is Northern Utah's Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. This place is considered to be one of the top ten locations for birding in the world. Over 300 square kilometres of the refuge serve as a home to millions of migratory birds. This is a perfect spot to observe the American White Pelican, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, White-faced Ibis and Snowy Plover. The Great Salt Lake and the nearby wetlands are the main areas for millions of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, during spring and autumn. Every year in May there is a bird festival held here.

Antelope Island, Mirror Lake, and Provo River are also good places for birdwatchers. The Uinta Mountains and the surrounding forest lands are home to various birds. During the summer months, you can see wrens, bluebirds, warblers, hummingbirds, sparrows, and thrushes. Less frequent, but also possible to see are the American Pipit and Townsend's Solitaire. Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge is a 73 square kilometre marshland and is the perfect habitat for wetland birds. One more popular wetland area is the Scott M. Matheson Preserve, located in the Arches National Park. Here you can find around 225 species of birds.

One can see some migratory birds in Utah at different times of year, as some come, and others leave. Still, the peak time to spot the greatest variety of migratory birds is late March through May (spring migration), and also July through September (fall migration).

Practical info

What is the best time of year to view migratory birds in Utah?

To spot a vast diversity of migratory birds, visit Utah during the late March through May and July through September period. These are the spring and fall migration seasons where millions of shorebirds and waterfowls flock to Utah’s wetlands and the Great Salt Lake. Show more

Where are the popular birding sites located in Utah?

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is one of the world's top ten birding sites and one of Utah’s most celebrated destinations. Other renowned birding spots in Utah are Fish Spring National Wildlife Refuge, Antelope Island, Mirror Lake, Provo River, and the Scott M. Matheson Preserve in Arches National Park. Show more

What are some of the unique bird species that can be spotted in Utah?

Utah boasts of over 430 bird species that dwell in different habitats. Some of the unique species found in Utah include the Townsend’s Solitaire, American Pipit, Snowy Plover, Black-necked Stilt, White-faced Ibis, American Avocet, and American White Pelican. During summers, you may spot a variety of wrens, thrushes, hummingbirds, bluebirds, warblers, and sparrows. Fish Spring National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for wetland birds, housing around 10,000 of them. Show more

When is the annual bird festival held in Utah?

May is the best time to catch the annual bird festival in Utah since it aligns with the breeding season when migratory birds return. Every year, the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival takes place at this time. Tour guides with vast knowledge of ornithology accompany visitors on birdwatching tours. You can participate in presentations and workshops catered to people interested in birds. Show more

What are some good places to spot birds in the forested areas around Utah?

Utah's forested regions are ideal for birding. To spot birds in large numbers, visit the forest lands surrounding the Uinta Mountains. During summers, you can spot various birds like bluebirds, warblers, hummers, thrushes, wrens, and sparrows. The American Pipit and Townsend’s Solitaire are not commonly seen but can be spotted. Additionally, you can spot many migratory birds at Antelope Island, Bear River, Mirror Lake, and Provo River. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin