Your Guide to Birding

in Morgan County

County Map Morgan County
Author(s):  Nicholas Komar, Steven Mlodinow, Bill Schmoker, Randall Siebert
County Seat: Fort Morgan
Size: 1,278 square miles
Low Elevation: 4,081 ft. - South Platte River on the Washington border
High Elevation: 4,935 ft. - Judson Hills
Best Birds: Mottled Duck (2013), Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (2013), Curlew Sandpiper (2012. 2013), American Black Duck (2012), Kelp Gull (2003), Garganey (1990), Henslow's Sparrow (1985)
Checklist: Morgan County Checklist
Introduction: Morgan County is one of the most frequently birded counties of Colorado's Eastern Plains. The habitats are typical of the High Plains ecosystem, with short-grass prairie, riparian habitat along the South Platte River and associated irrigation reservoirs, irrigated agriculture (mostly hay fields), sandhills scrub, and managed landscapes of homesteads and several small towns and cities. Most visiting birders will associate Morgan County with Jackson Lake State Park. The Colorado Division of Wildlife operates numerous State Wildlife Areas (SWA), primarily for hunting. Access to these may be limited at various times of the year. Most of these SWA are within or close to the South Platte River riparian corridor, which is characterized by a wide swath of large cottonwood trees and small willow shrubs. Just about any wooded area along the river might harbor rare Eastern migrants. The riparian corridor provides a western extension of breeding habitat for several eastern species such as Great Crested Flycatcher.

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Birding Sites

Andrick Ponds State Wildlife Area
Habitat: Small ponds and marshes with cottonwood and willow edges. Scattered junipers.
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Bijou Reservoir
Habitat: Reservoir
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Brush Prairie Ponds State Wildlife Area
Habitat: Pond, Grassland/Prairie
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Brush State Wildlife Area
Habitat: Pond, Lowland Riparian, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt
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Cottonwood State Wildlife Area
Habitat: Lowland Riparian
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Elliott State Wildlife Area
Habitat: Pond, Lowland Riparian, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt, Marsh
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Fort Morgan
Habitat: Lake, Lowland Riparian
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Habitat: Urban/Suburban, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt
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Jackson Reservoir
Habitat: Lake/Pond/Reservoir, Lowland Riparian, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt, Marsh, Grassland/Prairie
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Jean K. Tool State Wildlife Area
Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt
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Morgan County Sandhills
Habitat: sandhills, grassland, agricultural, intermittent resevoir
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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 Morgan County


CBRC Accepted Records from Morgan County

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Brant (Black)2013-013 12/23/2012
Trumpeter Swan2007-018 4/6/2007
American Black Duck8-86-211/29/1985
American Black Duck2012-018 2/19/2012
Mottled Duck2013-186 07/28/2013 - 07/30/2013
Eurasian Collared-Dove2001-14712/23/2001
Common Ground Dove1999-18111/20/1999
Greater Roadrunner2011-099 7/10/2011
Ruby-throated Hummingbird2004-011 7/30/2003
Common Gallinule17-74-246/6/1965
Ruddy Turnstone1998-0479/11/1998
Red Knot19-74-1149/29/1974
Red Knot2000-0339/23/2000
Red Knot2003-128 9/18/2003 - 9/19/2003
Curlew Sandpiper2012-103 8/23/2012
Curlew Sandpiper2013-192 08/30/2013
Buff-breasted Sandpiper19-77-679/4/1977
Buff-breasted Sandpiper19-95-329/5/1994
Buff-breasted Sandpiper2000-0389/12/2000
Buff-breasted Sandpiper2006-138 10/1/2006
Buff-breasted Sandpiper2010-092 8/18/2010
Buff-breasted Sandpiper2012-100 8/21/2012 - 9/3/2012
Buff-breasted Sandpiper2013-193 08/30/2013
Buff-breasted Sandpiper2013-210 09/13/2013
Buff-breasted Sandpiper2014-018 08/21/2013
Short-billed Dowitcher19-76-899/6/1976
Red Phalarope21-88-89/14/1987
Red Phalarope2000-04110/3/2000
Red Phalarope2001-09410/14/2001
Red Phalarope2002-1978/11/2002 - 8/12/2002
Red Phalarope2004-0499/17/2004 - 9/27/2004
Red Phalarope2011-106 8/7/2011
Pomarine Jaeger22-86-4210/5/1985
Pomarine Jaeger2007-064 10/1/2000
Pomarine Jaeger2008-116 10/4/2008 - 10/5/2008
Parasitic Jaeger2015-114 10/11/2015
Parasitic Jaeger2015-120 10/03/2015
Long-tailed Jaeger2001-209 9/5/2000
Long-tailed Jaeger2009-118 10/4/2008
Long-tailed Jaeger2020-050 19 Jul 2020
Little Gull2012-126 8/25/2012
Laughing Gull2013-191 08/31/2013
Western Gull2012-028 3/17/2012
Iceland Gull2012-021 2/19/2012
Least Tern2014-180 05/28/2014
Red-throated Loon1997-1095/10/1997
Little Blue Heron5-90-44/25/1990
Reddish Egret2020-031 18 Sep 2020
American Goshawk2022-003 10 Feb 2022
Snowy Owl2017-070 11/25/2017
Snowy Owl2017-074 12/15/2017
Great Crested Flycatcher2004-06910/1/2004
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher2013-203 09/10/2013
White-eyed Vireo51-80-6911/13/1980
Blue-headed Vireo2013-206 09/02/2013
Philadelphia Vireo51-87-9310/19/1985
Philadelphia Vireo2012-110 9/9/2012
Northern Mockingbird2010-049 12/2/2004
Swainson's Thrush (Russet-backed)2012-102 5/6/2012
Varied Thrush2000-1161/9/2000
Varied Thrush2012-23020 Oct 2012
Snow Bunting56-72-34 31 Dec 1972
Henslow's Sparrow56-85-559/10/1985
Worm-eating Warbler52-92-795/13/1992
Worm-eating Warbler2001-0636/5/2001
Golden-winged Warbler52-72-336/9/1968
Mourning Warbler2012-105 8/31/2012
Mourning Warbler2013-212 09/02/2013
Bay-breasted Warbler52-75-305/19/1973