Spring and fall bring migrating Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Orange-crowned Warblers, and countless Yellow-rumped Warblers. In winter, Northern Shovelers and Common Goldeneyes jostle for space with mergansers on the lake. Raptors are a year-round presence. Kestrels hover above the fields, harriers cruise the lakeshore, and a pair of Bald Eagles nests every year. For a view of their nest, walk to the gazebo on the southwestern side of the lake. Don’t forget to scan the fields for meadowlarks and the occasional Ring-necked Pheasant. — Justine E. Hausheer
At a Glance
Click on the coordinates below to view location:
Lake, mature cottonwood stands, and fields.
Flat. A wide dirt path follows lake perimeter.
More than 350 species. Spring: White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Western Meadowlark, Song and White-crowned Sparrows, House Finch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Orange-crowned, Wilson’s, Yellow, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-capped Chickadee, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Flicker, American and Lesser Goldfinches, Red-winged and Brewer’s Blackbirds, Bullock’s Oriole, American Crow, Black-billed Magpie, Blue Jay, Western Kingbird, American Coot, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Double-crested Cormorant, Tree Swallow, Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, American Kestrel, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Mourning Dove, American Robin, American White Pelican.
When to go
Downloadable bird checklist on website (PDF). Nature center has restrooms and a book shop. Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, on north side of lake, offers public bird-banding demonstrations in fall.
State park. $7 per vehicle for day pass, or purchase annual pass for all Colorado state parks for $70. Open year-round from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Nature center open 9-4 Wednesday to Saturday and 11-4 Sunday.
Boaters and hunters use the northeastern section of park; from nature center, head left on trail for best birding. Don’t miss the feeders at the nature center.
For more info
Barr Lake State Park, (303) 659-6005.
Audubon Society of Great Denver
Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR
20 miles southwest of park in Commerce City. Swainson’s Hawk, Burrowing Owl, Western Meadowlark, and buffalo.
Sand Creek Regional Greenway
Hotspot Near You No. 39. A 14-mile ribbon of green that crosses northeast Denver. Warblers, shorebirds, and Cliff Swallow.