Top 5 Bird Watching Spots in Utah

Top 5 Bird Watching Spots in Utah

By Ashley Sanders
March 24, 2016 | Updated November 09, 2023

Watch Birds Fly

So you weren’t homecoming royalty, but who’s laughing now?! While your old high school nemeses flex their diminishing neck muscles and sell people Toyota Tercels, you’ve gone and captured a freakin’ fulvous whistling duck (Dendrocygna bicolor) in the all-seeing eye of your birding binocs. No need to give them the proverbial bird when you’ve got photos of the real thing.

But you’re not bitter: If they think they can hang with the red-tails, you’re more than happy to share Utah’s bird-friendly skies with them. (You’d only be a little bit pleased if they came down with avian flu.)

Fish Spring National Wildlife Refuge

5. Ouray National Wildlife Refuge

And you thought nothing good came from Wyoming! Guess you’ve never heard of the GREEN RIVER, or you’d know it brings the best of the Cowboy State to the parched deserts south of the Uintas. (And yes, we do mean birds drunk on bootleg whiskey smuggling illegal fireworks under their wings.) In other words: this waterhole is bumpin’, and all it’s missing is your spotting scope. So ogle away and say hip, hip Ouray! Read More ...

4. Tracy Aviary

Our hip urban professional ascension is almost complete. Every morning you leave your Craftsman bungalow, grab an Americano at your local artisanal coffee shop and wear your baby to the park for an African-drumming play date. But something still feels missing. Is it yoga? Flax-seed granola? No, silly, it’s birds. As in young, current, urban birds who hang out at revitalized city parks just like you, eating their flax-seed pellets and thinking about joining the creative class. We’re talking owls, condors and peacocks, all rediscovering downtown and looking down their noses at you. Read more ...

3. Fish Spring Wildlife Refuge

Ummmm, okayyyy ... the birds of the Pacific Flyway are, like, trying to not be offended that this refuge was named after a bunch of water-logged neck-breathers instead of them. But it’s hard. I mean, when was the last time you saw a bunch of fish wing through the air in scientist-confounding v’s, traveling thousands of miles in one season just to check out the proverbial KOAs at the other end of the rainbow? (Don’t you dare mention salmon right now.) Well, a refuge by any silly name would smell as ... uh ... fecund. Head to Fish Spring in the migration season for friends both feathered and scaled, hanging out awkwardly like they’re at a party that turned out to be a Cutco knife presentation. Read More ...

2. Pariette Wetlands

Yes, it sounds like a bumpkin who don’t parley-voo any fransay tryna pronounce ‘pirouette,’ but give it a try anyway! You ain’t never seen somethin’ so purty, what with all the bird youngins flyin’ this-here-way and that-a-way, and the natural stream flowing between man-made ponds is the outdoors as Mama Nature shoulda made it. Can even see Ouray in the same trip if you just head northeast a spell. Read More ...

1. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

If birding were a metaphorical hero’s journey, the Bear River Bird Refuge would be the monk at the top of the mountain who has been expecting you, who speaks your name before you’ve even introduced yourself. Maybe you didn’t even know you’d end up here when you began with nothing but a pair of binoculars and a dream. But the Refuge knew, because the Refuge always knows. And what it knows is this: You didn’t invest in this floppy hat and field guide and church whisper just to sit around and not see the avian promised land. So what are you waiting for? Onward to winged victory. Read More ...