Birds of John Martin Reservoir

Description: American White Pelicans can be seen most of the year at John Martin Reservoir.

Published: 04/26/2021
Byline: Keefer

Birds of John Martin Reservoir

By: Sue Keefer

People often associate Colorado's mountains with being good places to see birds, but there are many bird species that can be found on the plains.

These photos were all taken at John Martin Reservoir, and represent just a sample of the birds that can be found there. In addition to the birds in the photos, there are also many species of waterfowl, game birds, shore birds, raptors, and song birds. A bird checklist is available at the John Martin Reservoir State Park visitor center. Birds can be seen in the state park and the state wildlife area.

A good resource for bird ID is an app called Merlin, developed by the Cornell Library of Ornithology. It allows a search by characteristics and there is also a feature to add a photo which brings back a list of possible birds. It also has good bird descriptions, as well as songs and sounds.

There are also many good field guides available. I prefer Sibley Birds West but often consult others as well. Online Resources include Cornell Lab of Ornithology: and National Audubon Society: . Even with all the resources, though, I still make mistakes on getting the right ID.

Scene in the WildPelican taking off. The knobs on the bill indicate breeding condition. 

Scene in the WildRed-breasted mergansers (male on left)

Scene in the WildOsprey

Scene in the WildGreat Blue Heron

Double-crested CormorantDouble-crested Cormorant

Scene in the WildTurkey vulture

Scene in the WildHorned Lark (Colorado State Bird)

More of Sue Keefer's Photography Can Be Seen Here:


Scene in the Wild

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