Your Guide to Birding

in La Plata County

County Map La Plata County
Author(s):  James Beatty, James D. Beatty
County Seat: Durango
Size: 1,692 square miles
Low Elevation: 5,924 ft. - Animas River on the NM border
High Elevation: 14,083 ft. - Mount Eolus
Best Birds: White-eared Hummingbird (2005), Green Violet-ear (1998), Purple Gallinule (1978)
Checklist: La Plata County Checklist
Introduction: Home to Durango, the largest town in southwest Colorado, La Plata County is arguably the best-birded county in this part of the state. Its diversity of habitats, ranging from lowland desert up to 14,000 feet, make it a great ecotourism destination. The bodies of water are not large, but some, especially Pastorius Reservoir, can be surprisingly productive. La Plata County is home to the only publicly accessible colony of Acorn Woodpeckers in the state, and has attracted more than one Mexican stray. With coverage, it's certain to produce many more!

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Birding Sites

Animas River
Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Stream
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Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Stream
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Durango Mountain Resort Ski Area and Sig Creek
Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest
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Florida Mesa
Habitat: Grassland/Prairie
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Junction Creek Campground
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest, Aspen Grove, Spruce-Fir Forest, Cliff Face
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La Plata Canyon
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest, Spruce-Fir Forest, Mountain Meadow, Krummholz, Alpine Tundra
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La Plata County Road 136
Habitat: Pinyon/Juniper Forest, Scrub Oak Forest, Grassland/Prairie
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Lake Eileen
Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest, Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Lemon Reservoir
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Ponderosa Forest, Spruce-Fir Forest, Alpine Tundra
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Long Branch Creek
Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Grassland/Prairie
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Madden Peak Road
Habitat: Mountain Meadow, Scrub Oak Forest, Aspen Grove
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Meadow Rd., Rafter J subdivision
Habitat: Scrub Oak Forest
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Middle Mountain Road
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest, Spruce-Fir Forest, Burn Area
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Pastorius State Wildlife Area
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Pinyon/Juniper Forest, Lowland Riparian
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Saul's Creek
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest, Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Vallecito Reservoir
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Ponderosa Forest, Spruce-Fir Forest
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Zink's Pond
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Marsh
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Use the form on the home page to contact the editor with corrections or to volunteer to add a site.

eBird Seasonal Bar Chart

Latest Unusual Birds (eBird) in La Plata County


CBRC Accepted Records from La Plata County

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck2015-079 06/20/2015
Tundra Swan2003-14611/11/2003
Tundra Swan2008-069 1/1/2008
Eurasian Wigeon2007-017 4/6/2007
Eurasian Wigeon2016-019 03/03/2016
Mexican Duck2014-208 14 Apr 2014
Harlequin Duck1883-0017/15/1883
Harlequin Duck2001-0011/12/2001 - 3/20/2001
Surf Scoter2015-15308 Sep 2015
Eurasian Collared-Dove2003-1473/31/2003
Eurasian Collared-Dove2004-140 12/28/2004
White-winged Dove2001-0369/?/2000
White-winged Dove2002-0384/17/2002
Mexican Violetear1998-0807/26-27/1998
Rivoli’s Hummingbird31-89-276/20/1989
Rivoli’s Hummingbird2006-113 7/24/2006 - 7/28/2006
Rivoli’s Hummingbird2015-088 06/27/2015
Blue-throated Mountain-gem31-76-19/7/1975
Blue-throated Mountain-gem31-91-409/1/1991
Blue-throated Mountain-gem31-92-547/27/1991
Anna's Hummingbird31-74-186/21/1970 - 6/25/1970
White-eared Hummingbird2005-069 6/19/2005 - 7/24/2005
White-eared Hummingbird2005-077 7/30/2005
Purple Gallinule17-78-558/6/1978 - 8/7/1978
Long-billed Curlew2022-007 30 Mar 2022
Pectoral Sandpiper2002-0374/15/2002
Short-billed Dowitcher2004-096 4/24/2004
Short-billed Dowitcher2007-082 5/5/2007
Laughing Gull2018-017 10/15/2018
Short-billed Gull2001-0193/30/2001
Herring Gull2003-0243/27/2003
Lesser Black-backed Gull2022-006 1 Apr 2022
Least Tern2005-031 4/25/2005
Caspian Tern2022-008 11 Apr 2022
Black Skimmer2004-0304/29/2004
Great Egret2001-0535/29/2001
White Ibis1998-0114/15/1998 - 5/5/1998
Glossy Ibis2001-0414/24/2001
Glossy Ibis2006-037 4/20/2006
Glossy Ibis2007-078 4/27/2007
Glossy Ibis2008-032 4/19/2008
Glossy Ibis2010-017 4/25/2010
Glossy Ibis2011-036 4/21/2011
Common Black Hawk2001-0324/13/2001 - 4/14/2001
Broad-winged Hawk2019-029 26 Sep 2019
Acorn Woodpecker1998-0856/25/1995
Acorn Woodpecker1998-086 
Acorn Woodpecker1999-0914/11/1999
Acorn Woodpecker2001-0051/18/2001
Williamson's Sapsucker2023-003 30 Jan 2023
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker2002-21110/1/2002
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker2014-126 03/22/2014
Least Flycatcher2020-075 10 May 2020
Black Phoebe34-78-128/9/1977
Black Phoebe2013-30327 Apr 2013
Eastern Phoebe2023-005 4 May 2023
Vermilion Flycatcher34-76-199/20/1975
Phainopepla48-78-729/24/1978 - 9/26/1978
Phainopepla48-87-646/20/1986 - 6/29/1986
Pacific Wren2017-006 01/24/2017
Pacific Wren2018-030 01/11/2018
Winter Wren2013-019 12/24/2012
Bendire's Thrasher43-75-518/2/1974 - 8/3/1974
Varied Thrush44-77-1611/21/1976
Varied Thrush2001-14112/26/2000
Varied Thrush2007-007 1/30/2007
Varied Thrush2012-007 1/12/2012
Purple Finch56-75-2112/5/1974 - 3/20/1975
Thick-billed Longspur2010-100 9/25/2010
Grasshopper Sparrow2020-049 12 Sep 2020
Black-chinned Sparrow2010-115 6/28/2010 - 7/20/2010
Golden-crowned Sparrow56-74-12810/10/1974
Golden-crowned Sparrow2013-144 10/21/2012
Golden-crowned Sparrow2013-132 04/27/2013
Orchard Oriole2004-095 5/9/2004
Baltimore Oriole2001-1655/10/2001
Ovenbird2009-047 5/30/2009
Golden-winged Warbler2010-034 5/20/2010
Prothonotary Warbler2001-11110/3/2001
Prothonotary Warbler2013-214 09/19/2013
Tennessee Warbler2011-120 9/16/2011 - 9/18/2011
Lucy's Warbler2015-100 04/24/2015
Mourning Warbler2002-0799/12/2002
Kentucky Warbler52-81-166/1/1981
Hooded Warbler2003-1429/2/2003
Northern Parula2012-071 6/2/2012
Blackburnian Warbler2002-0565/13/2002
Blackpoll Warbler2002-0475/7/2002 - 5/8/2002
Blackpoll Warbler2002-0665/20/2002
Palm Warbler2001-11010/3/2001 - 10/4/2001
Pine Warbler2014-055 05/04/2014
Yellow-throated Warbler2015-051 05/06/2015
Hermit Warbler2020-036 31 Aug 2020
Rose-breasted Grosbeak2015-14830 Apr 2015
Dickcissel2009-054 6/28/2009