Your Guide to Birding

in Custer County

County Map Custer County
Author(s):  Lisa Edwards, Mark Peterson, Nathan Pieplow, Andrew Spencer
County Seat: Westcliffe
Size: 740 square miles
Low Elevation: 5,720 ft. - East slope of Jackson Hill
High Elevation: 14,260 ft. - East Crestone Peak
Best Birds: Snowy Owl (1971), Pomarine Jaeger (1973), Reddish Egret (2009)
Checklist: Custer County Checklist
Introduction: Like many of Colorado's small mountain counties, Custer County is rarely birded except by a few locals. Unlike many of Colorado's small mountain counties, Custer County includes a surprising large range of habitats, and the potential to rack up a list of 100 or more on a good day during migration. Possibilities range from lowland species such as Lewis' Woodpecker and Juniper Titmouse in the NE corner to shorebirds and waterbirds near Westcliffe to ptarmigan and rosy-finches above treeline. Not many Front Range counties can offer such a choice!

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Birding Sites

De Weese Reservoir
Habitat: Reservoir, Grassland/Prairie
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Greenwood area
Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Urban/Suburban, Mixed-Conifer Forest, Scrub Oak Forest
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Hermit Basin Recreation Area
Habitat: Pond
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Hermit Pass
Habitat: Mixed-Conifer Forest, Spruce-Fir Forest, Krummholz, Alpine Tundra
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Lake San Isabel
Habitat: Mixed-Conifer Forest, Streamside Willow, Lake
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Lewis Creek Trail
Habitat: Mixed-Conifer Forest, Pond
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Ophir Creek Road
Habitat: Aspen Grove, Streamside Willow, Mixed-Conifer Forest, Mountain Meadow
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South Colony Lakes Road
Habitat: Mixed-Conifer Forest, Krummholz, Streamside Willow, Alpine Tundra
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Westcliffe and Silver Cliff
Habitat: Urban/Suburban, Pond
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Wetmore area
Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Urban/Suburban, Pinyon-Juniper Forest
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eBird Seasonal Bar Chart

Latest Unusual Birds (eBird) in Custer County


CBRC Accepted Records from Custer County

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Trumpeter Swan8-78-191/4/1978 - 1/15/1978
Scaled Quail2006-20901 Nov 2006
Ruby-throated Hummingbird2012-011 8/31/2011
Red Phalarope2008-109 9/22/2008
Pomarine Jaeger22-73-455/12/1973
Laughing Gull2016-030 05/22/2014
Reddish Egret2009-070 7/17/2009 - 7/18/2009
Broad-winged Hawk2002-1867/19/2002
Snowy Owl28-73-12012/25/1971
Black Phoebe2012-156 8/25/2012
Blue Jay2006-20825 Oct 2006
Eastern Towhee2013-002 01/01/2013
Kentucky Warbler2005-149 5/5/2005
Kentucky Warbler2009-071 4/28/2009
Bay-breasted Warbler2017-045 06/26/2017
Prairie Warbler2013-114 09/21/2004
Canada Warbler2006-184 9/24/2009
Rose-breasted Grosbeak2009-12316 May 2009