Birding and taking road trips are two activities that have gained some serious popularity in 2020. Combine them and you get an unforgettable, breathtaking adventure through Wyoming, where you have plenty of opportunities to see some incredible birds! The author of this article details his adventures birdwatching in Wyoming.
Departures ~ ” To prepare for the trip, I called the dean of American birders, David Allan Sibley, author and illustrator of the two birding guides I own as well as a lovely new compendium, What It’s Like to Be a Bird. Our interview turned into a crash course in ornithology. Sibley gave me tips on field drawing (start with a circle for the head and an oval for the body, and work quickly), taught me proper birder slang (it’s ‘bins,’ not ‘nocs’), and clued me in on a debate that has long been roiling the American birding community: whether to call its members birdwatchers or birders. ‘A bird-watcher is, like, the backyard hobbyist who feeds birds, looks at cardinals and robins,’ he said. ‘And the person who keeps a life list and goes on chases, travels, and searches for birds, that would be a birder.’
Every night for the next week, we camped at a different breathtaking site, each worthy of an Ansel Adams photograph or an Aaron Copland symphony. Around dawn, I would sneak out of the van with my bins for a solo hike. The birds were most active at that time of day. Sitting by a frigid mountain stream in Colorado, I saw three mountain chickadees flitting among the spruce trees and a lone sandpiper pecking along the bank. Amid an ocean of sagebrush, a sheltered oasis of greenery abounded with green-tailed towhees. High up a pine tree in the shadow of the Grand Tetons, I spotted the aquiline profile of the pine grosbeak backlit by the rising sun.
Photo by Manideep Karne from Pexels
I was crestfallen whenever Sibley’s guide declared that my miraculous sighting was considered ‘common.’ As the week progressed, however, we saw rarer birds. As we floated down the Snake River, bald eagles swooped over our boat, followed by a belted kingfisher and a flock of white pelicans. Later, a curious long-billed curlew took off as we drove past, rising above the cloud of dust kicked up in our wake. An American kestrel—the country’s smallest bird of prey—hovered over the plains near the Hole-in-the-Wall where Butch and Sundance hid out..
With each new check mark on my list, I was morphing from a bird-watcher into a birder. I could practically feel myself fledging.” ~ Departures
To read the rest of this fun, well-written article, click the link below. And if you’re interested in taking your own birding road trip, check out our 2021 Military Travel Guide U.S.A.™ for information to help you travel on less per day, the military way!
**Please note: Due to the impact of COVID-19 on travel, we encourage people to always plan trips in accordance with the guidance provided by government and health officials.