Your Guide to Birding

in Boulder County

County Map Boulder County
Author(s):  Bill Kaempfer, Nathan Pieplow
County Seat: Boulder
Size: 741 square miles
Low Elevation: 4,893 ft. - St. Vrain Creek on the Weld border
High Elevation: 14,255 ft. - Longs Peak
Best Birds: Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (1975), Garganey (1992), Brambling (1983)
Checklist: Boulder County Checklist
Introduction: Though it is usually included in discussions of the "Metro Area," the city of Boulder considers itself distinct and has bought enough open space along its south and east borders to ensure that the suburbs of Denver never envelop it. With its numerous plains reservoirs, migrant traps, and mountain parks (including the highest part of Rocky Mountain National Park), Boulder County has something to offer the birder on every day of the year. Many thanks to Bill Schmoker for his comments and revisions on the text of this page, and to Bill Kaempfer and Randy Seibert for their contributions.

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Birding Sites

Habitat: Mixed Conifer Forest, Aspen Grove, Urban/Suburban, Mountain Meadow, Lodgepole Forest
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Baseline Reservoir
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Betasso Preserve
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest
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Bobolink Trailhead
Habitat: Grassland/Prairie, Lowland Riparian, Stream
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Boulder Creek & 75th Street
Habitat: Stream, Lowland Riparian, Grassland/Prairie
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Boulder Creek (downtown section)
Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Stream
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Boulder Reservoir
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Boulder Valley Ranch
Habitat: Short-grass Prairie, Yucca, Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt
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Brainard Lake area
Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest, Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Streamside Willow, Krummholz, Alpine Tundra, Cliff Face
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Button Rock Preserve
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest, Mixed Conifer Forest, Foothill Shrub, Stream, Cliff Face, Mountain Meadow, Streamside Willow
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Caribou Ranch Open Space
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest, Lodgepole Forest, Mixed Conifer Forest, Mountain Meadow, Streamside Willow, Foothill Shrub
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Cottonwood Trailhead and Hayden Lake
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Stream, Lowland Riparian, Grassland/Prairie
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CU South Campus Ponds
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Grassland/Prairie, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt
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Doudy Draw and the Mesa Trail
Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Stream, Foothill Shrub, Grassland/Prairie, Ponderosa Forest, Cliff Face
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Eldorado Canyon State Park
Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Cliff Face, Stream, Mixed Conifer Forest, Ponderosa Forest, Mountain Meadows
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Greenbelt Plateau Trailhead
Habitat: Grassland/Prairie
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Gregory Canyon
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest, Foothill Shrub, Lowland Riparian, Cliff Face, Stream
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Gunbarrel and Niwot area
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Stream, Lowland Riparian, Grassland/Prairie
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Hall Ranch Open Space
Habitat: Foothill Shrub, Ponderosa Forest
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Heil Valley Ranch
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest, Mountain Meadow, Foothills Shrub, Cliff Face
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Highland Reservoir #2
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Humane Society Dog Walk Park
Habitat: Stream, Lowland Riparian, Marsh
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Ish Reservoir
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Jim Hamm Nature Area Accessible
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt
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Lafayette Storage Ponds
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Lagerman Reservoir and the Swede Lakes
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Grassland/Prairie, Marsh
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Left Hand Valley Reservoir area
Habitat: Lake/Pond/Reservoir, Grassland/Prairie
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Little Gaynor Lake
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Lyons Area
Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Foothill Scrub, Cliff Face, Stream, Urban/Suburban
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Marshall Mesa
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Foothill Shrub, Ponderosa Forest, Grassland/Prairie
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McIntosh Lake
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Mount Sanitas
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest, Lowland Riparian, Foothill Shrub, Cliff Face
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Panama Reservoir area
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt, Wet Meadow
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Pella Crossing Park
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Prince Lakes, Erie and Thomas Reservoirs
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Rabbit Mountain Open Space
Habitat: Mixed Conifer Forest
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Reservoirs west of Hygiene
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Rollins Pass (Boulder County section)
Habitat: Alpine Tundra
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Saint Vrain Greenway
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Lowland Riparian, Stream, Urban/Suburban
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Skunk Canyon
Habitat: Foothill Shrub, Ponderosa Forest
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Sombrero Marsh
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Stearns Lake
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Marsh, Stream, Grassland/Prairie, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt
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Teller Lake #5 and Culver Ponds
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Lowland Riparian, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt, Marsh
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Terry Lake and Clark Reservoir
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Valmont Reservoir complex
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Grassland/Prairie, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt
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Varsity Pond
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Lowland Riparian
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Walden Ponds/Sawhill Ponds Complex Accessible
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Lowland Riparian, Marsh, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt, Stream
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Walker Ranch Open Space
Habitat: Burn Area, Ponderosa Forest, Mountain Meadow, Stream, Aspen Grove
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Waneka Lake
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Lowland Riparian, Marsh
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Wild Basin
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest, Aspen Grove, Stream, Streamside Willow, Mountain Meadow, Lodgepole Forest, Burn Area
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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 Boulder County


CBRC Accepted Records from Boulder County

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck2023-009 20 Jun 2023
Trumpeter Swan8-89-63/23/1989 - 5/13/1989
Trumpeter Swan8-95-121/7/1995
Trumpeter Swan1997-01412/7/1997
Trumpeter Swan1998-0193/10/1998
Trumpeter Swan2002-12012/19/2002 - 12/31/2002
Trumpeter Swan2004-00112/11/2003
Trumpeter Swan2006-163 11/25/2006
Tundra Swan2003-13111/13/2003
Tundra Swan2004-132 11/24/2004
Tundra Swan2007-125 11/4/2007
Tundra Swan2013-31401 Dec 2013
Eurasian Wigeon2011-188 3/24/1992
Eurasian Wigeon2022-022 12 Jan 2022
Mexican Duck2011-047 5/12/2011
Tufted Duck1997-0163/21/1997 to 3/23/1997
Tufted Duck2011-018 1/17/2011
Black Scoter8-75-14610/26/1975 - 11/30/1975
Black Scoter8-76-11011/6/1976
Black Scoter8-76-9510/23/1976
Black Scoter2000-02511/28/1998
Red-necked Grebe2-74-14710/29/1974 - 10/30/1974
Eurasian Collared-Dove2003-0305/7/2003
Inca Dove25-92-311/5/1992 - 11/8/1992
White-winged Dove25-95-516/19/1994
Black-billed Cuckoo1943-0016/10/1943
Black-billed Cuckoo1981-1006/8/1981
Lesser Nighthawk2010-042 5/29/2010
Common Nighthawk2012-22624 May 2012
Rivoli’s Hummingbird1965-0027/22/1965
Rivoli’s Hummingbird1999-0888/10/1999
Rivoli’s Hummingbird2014-159 10/27/2014
Ruby-throated Hummingbird2007-051 8/19/2007
Ruby-throated Hummingbird2010-099 9/22/2010
Ruby-throated Hummingbird2013-139 05/13/2013
Ruby-throated Hummingbird2018-014 10/24/2018
Anna's Hummingbird1997-05712/5/1997
Anna's Hummingbird2012-157 10/7/2012
Common Gallinule17-83-266/10/1983 - 6/13/1983
Hudsonian Godwit2021-021 3 May 2021
Ruff2008-042 5/1/2008
Sharp-tailed SandpiperN-19-6210/26/1975 - 11/6/1975
Buff-breasted Sandpiper2022-021 10 Sep 2022
Western Sandpiper2014-20028 Jun 2014
Short-billed Dowitcher19-75-664/8/1975
Short-billed Dowitcher19-76-810/4/1975
American Woodcock19-90-1911/28/1990 - 11/30/1990
Lesser Yellowlegs2013-30117 Apr 2013
Greater Yellowlegs2013-29810 Apr 2013
Red Phalarope2005-108 10/12/2005
Red Phalarope2010-135 10/30/2010 - 10/31/2010
Red Phalarope2011-127 9/19/2011
Parasitic Jaeger2018-022 10/06/2018
Long-tailed Jaeger2007-088 9/13/2007
Long-tailed Jaeger2014-142 09/19/2014
Ancient Murrelet1957-00111/28/1957
Ancient Murrelet1998-06911/4/1995
Black-legged Kittiwake23-81-2212/6/1980
Black-legged Kittiwake2004-141 11/28/2004
Black-legged Kittiwake2010-054 11/15/2009
Bonaparte's Gull2013-29912 Apr 2013
Black-headed Gull23-90-224/14/1990
Little Gull2013-243 10/31/2013
Ross's Gull2007-075 10/28/2007
Short-billed Gull2001-1443/5/2001
Short-billed Gull2004-109 
Short-billed Gull2005-002 1/17/2005
Short-billed Gull2009-004 1/17/2009
Short-billed Gull2009-099 12/20/2009 - 12/25/2009
Short-billed Gull2011-030 2/4/2011 - 2/6/2011
Iceland Gull2002-075 4/18/2000
Iceland Gull2008-011 2/2/2008
Iceland Gull2010-0031/8/2010 - 1/9/2010
Iceland Gull2012-051 3/11/2012
Iceland Gull2013-043 02/02/2013
Iceland Gull2014-095 12/31/2013
Iceland Gull2015-003 12/01/2014
Iceland Gull2015-004 12/17/2014
Lesser Black-backed Gull23-93-202/20/1993 - 2/27/1993
Lesser Black-backed Gull2000-056 
Lesser Black-backed Gull2001-12612/1/2001
Glaucous-winged Gull2009-113 12/25/2009
Glaucous-winged Gull2012-036 3/15/2012
Glaucous-winged Gull2013-077 01/27/2013
Glaucous-winged Gull hybrid2013-051 01/24/2013
Great Black-backed Gull23-88-203/12/1988
Great Black-backed Gull2005-003 1/20/2005
Great Black-backed Gull2009-006 2/2/2009 - 2/3/2009
Great Black-backed Gull2009-114 12/25/2009 - 1/9/2010
Great Black-backed Gull2012-101 1/3/2010
Great Black-backed Gull2016-120 12 Mar 2016
Arctic Tern2010-102 6/13/2010
Arctic Tern2011-146 10/18/2011 - 10/29/2011
Arctic Tern2013-217 09/29/2013
Arctic Tern2015-121 11/11/2015
Red-throated Loon2011-158 11/8/2011
Yellow-billed Loon2006-162 11/22/2006 - 11/24/2006
Brown Booby2016-047 06/22/2016
Brown Pelican2006-089 5/27/2006 - 11/27/2006
Brown Pelican2016-029 04/26/2016
Least Bittern1930-0016/ /1930
Least Bittern5-75-356/3/1973
Least Bittern5-80-397/12/1979
Least Bittern2005-063 6/5/2005
Least Bittern2010-040 5/24/2010
Least Bittern2013-165 06/13/2013
Least Bittern2016-033 05/19/2016
Little Blue Heron5-81-214/3/1981
Tricolored Heron2015-111 10/11/2015
Tricolored Heron2018-054 06/12/2018
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron1999-0145/22/1999
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron2022-016 30 Oct 2022
White Ibis2022-030 30 May 2022
Glossy Ibis7-89-55/7/1989
Glossy Ibis2003-0195/13/2002
Red-shouldered Hawk10-74-18011/2/1974 - mid-March 1975
Red-shouldered Hawk1998-0355/29/1998
Broad-winged Hawk2001-13212/24/2001
Snowy Owl2018-031 01/20/2018
Spotted Owl28-82-5411/7/1982
Acorn Woodpecker2010-041 5/25/2010
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker2006-200 11/03/1991
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker2006-195 02/09/1992
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher2011-010 8/21/2009
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher2012-095 8/21/2009
Fork-tailed Flycatcher2018-009 10/21/2018
Eastern Wood-Pewee34-73-986/1/1973
Eastern Wood-Pewee1998-0897/31/1998 - 8/22/1998
Eastern Wood-Pewee2005-079 7/31/2005
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher2012-183 11/15/2012
Alder Flycatcher2011-066 5/29/2011
Gray Flycatcher2020-074 11 May 2020
Black Phoebe2009-016 4/8/2009
Black Phoebe2010-024 5/9/2010
Black Phoebe2015-038 04/03/2015
Vermilion Flycatcher2010-053 12/12/1987
Vermilion Flycatcher2009-020 4/18/2009 - 4/19/2009
Vermilion Flycatcher2018-021 09/29/2018
White-eyed Vireo51-93-88/18/1992
Yellow-throated Vireo51-73-515/10/1973 - 5/12/1973
Yellow-throated Vireo51-84-275/19/1984 - 5/20/1984
Yellow-throated Vireo51-93-98/28/1992
Yellow-throated Vireo2005-164 5/23/2004
Blue-headed Vireo2011-136 10/8/2011
Blue-headed Vireo2013-015 10/11/2012
Philadelphia Vireo51-74-309/4/1973
Philadelphia Vireo1983-10010/7/1983
Philadelphia Vireo2013-200 05/24/2013
Carolina Wren1959-00111/17/1959
Carolina Wren42-74-1209/27/1974 - 11/8/1974
Carolina Wren42-90-4011/17/1990
Carolina Wren1999-11310/11/1999
Carolina Wren2010-18701 Jun 2010
Pacific Wren2009-092 11/10/2009
Pacific Wren2015-082 07/09/2015
Pacific Wren2016-050 07/04/2016
Pacific Wren2017-046 07/14/2017
Winter Wren2000-114 6/21/2000
Winter Wren2011-104 7/17/2011 - 7/25/2011
Sedge Wren42-74-15811/9/1974
Sedge Wren2007-041 6/5/2007
Sedge Wren2013-014 11/17/2011
Sedge Wren2022-015 23 Oct 2022
Gray-cheeked Thrush44-76-735/13/1976
Gray-cheeked Thrush44-76-855/16/1976
Gray-cheeked Thrush44-93-785/13/1993
Gray-cheeked Thrush2009-030 5/11/2009
Wood Thrush44-74-18111/10/1974 - 11/11/1974
Wood Thrush44-75-71/8/1975
Wood Thrush44-80-7010/3/1980
Wood Thrush2002-20210/7/2002
Varied Thrush44-74-1012/22/1973
Varied Thrush44-75-15911/19/1975
Varied Thrush44-84-5312/27/1984
Varied Thrush2000-1173/14/2000
Varied Thrush2001-13312/24/2001
Varied Thrush2009-107 11/1/2009 - 12/5/2009
Varied Thrush2010-0021/6/2010
Varied Thrush2010-166 12/26/2010
Sprague's Pipit46-76-1078/23/1976
Sprague's Pipit2010-101 9/29/2010 - 9/20/2010
Brambling56-83-6012/17/1983 - 1/13/1984
Purple Finch56-74-17411/15/1974
Purple Finch56-76-2512/6/1975
Purple Finch56-76-10110/18/1976
Purple Finch56-76-322/29/1976
Purple Finch56-94-889/17/1994
Purple Finch56-95-10111/6/1995
Purple Finch2011-180 12/24/2011
Purple Finch2012-008 2/3/2012 - 2/4/2012
Purple Finch2014-164 11/12/2014
Common Redpoll2013-088 11/17/2012
Common Redpoll2013-107 11/24/2012
Common Redpoll2013-100 03/15/2013
Hoary Redpoll2013-001 12/29/2012 - 12/30/2012
White-winged Crossbill56-82-9 17 Apr 1982
Smith's Longspur2013-121 04/16/2013
Snow Bunting56-84-21 26 Jan 1984
Field Sparrow56-83-9 19 Dec 1982
Field Sparrow2002-11112/10/2002
Field Sparrow2005-090 9/13/2005
Fox Sparrow (Red)2011-028 2/4/2011
Fox Sparrow (Red)2012-202 11/27/2012
Fox Sparrow (Red)2014-144 01/06/2014
Fox Sparrow (Sooty)2020-023 26 Dec 2020
Fox Sparrow (Sooty)2022-055 11 Oct 2022
Golden-crowned Sparrow2006-175 12/27/2006 - 12/28/2006
Golden-crowned Sparrow2011-031 4/2/2011
Golden-crowned Sparrow2012-032 3/3/2012
Golden-crowned Sparrow2013-008 01/03/2013
Golden-crowned Sparrow2014-089 01/09/2014
Baird's Sparrow56-74-14610/29/1974
Eastern Towhee1944-0039/24/1944
Eastern Towhee56-95-9610/31/1995
Eastern Towhee2010-045 12/8/1999
Eastern Towhee2011-165 11/17/2011 - 11/19/2011
Chihuahuan Meadowlark2015-089 07/21/2015 - 7/31/2015.
Eastern Meadowlark2012-076 5/23/2012
Eastern Meadowlark2013-164 06/13/2013
Baltimore Oriole2020-020 05/07/2020
Scott's Oriole2005-038 5/3/2005 - 5/4/2005
Scott's Oriole2011-054 5/16/2011
Worm-eating Warbler52-76-455/8/1976
Worm-eating Warbler52-76-695/20/1976
Louisiana Waterthrush2008-033 4/25/2008 - 4/26/2008
Golden-winged Warbler52-73-255/20/1972 - 5/21/1972
Golden-winged Warbler52-74-1329/28/1974
Golden-winged Warbler52-77-335/14/1977
Golden-winged Warbler52-94-625/21/1994
Blue-winged Warbler52-75-825/3/1975
Blue-winged Warbler52-75-835/10/1975
Blue-winged Warbler52-77-405/25/1977
Blue-winged Warbler52-81-206/15/1981
Blue-winged Warbler52-82-265/23/1982
Blue-winged Warbler52-87-676/4/1987 - 6/6/1987
Blue-winged Warbler52-89-395/5/1989 - 6/6/1989
Blue-winged Warbler2001-0655/24/2001
Prothonotary Warbler52-76-435/8/1976 - 5/11/1976
Prothonotary Warbler1997-0965/20/1997
Swainson's Warbler52-75-525/20/1975 - 5/21/1975
Connecticut Warbler2010-039 5/22/2010 - 5/23/2010
Mourning Warbler1979-0019/25/1979
Mourning Warbler52-82-275/28/1982 - 5/30/1982
Mourning Warbler2008-104 9/11/2008
Mourning Warbler2013-208 09/11/2013
Kentucky WarblerN-52-205/31/1963 - 6/21/1963
Kentucky Warbler52-75-395/13/1975
Kentucky Warbler52-75-565/6/1975
Kentucky Warbler52-80-195/16/1979
Kentucky Warbler1981-500 06/12/1981
Kentucky Warbler52-83-495/15/1983
Kentucky Warbler52-87-685/30/1987
Kentucky Warbler1998-1386/7/1998 - 7/31/1998
Kentucky Warbler2009-048 6/5/2009 - 7/10/2009
Hooded Warbler1998-141 
Cape May Warbler52-73-485/2/1973 - 5/7/1973
Cape May Warbler52-76-10910/31/1976
Cape May Warbler52-76-425/11/1976 - 5/12/1976
Cape May Warbler52-78-165/19/1977
Cape May Warbler2000-12411/16/2000
Cape May Warbler2004-031 5/10/2004 - 5/15/2004
Northern Parula2006-007 1/15/2006
Magnolia Warbler2007-14503 Jun 2007
Bay-breasted Warbler52-74-14511/2/1974
Bay-breasted Warbler52-74-18211/9/1974
Bay-breasted Warbler52-74-655/22/1974
Bay-breasted Warbler52-77-345/14/1977
Bay-breasted Warbler1978-00111/ /1978
Bay-breasted Warbler2013-258 11/09/2013
Blackburnian Warbler52-74-15210/29/1974
Blackburnian Warbler52-74-15310/20/1974
Blackburnian Warbler52-74-514/30/1974
Blackburnian Warbler52-74-635/8/1974
Blackburnian Warbler52-75-936/1/1975
Blackburnian Warbler52-75-945/31/1975
Blackburnian Warbler52-75-955/29/1975 - 6/1/1975
Blackburnian Warbler52-84-365/14/1984
Blackburnian Warbler1998-1215/26/1998
Blackburnian Warbler2011-061 5/25/2011
Pine Warbler52-93-1011/20/1992
Pine Warbler52-93-1112/17/1992
Pine Warbler52-93-5910/31/1993
Pine Warbler2006-005 1/14/2006
Yellow-throated Warbler52-78-384/3/1978
Yellow-throated Warbler52-85-224/22/1985
Yellow-throated Warbler52-87-785/3/1987
Yellow-throated Warbler52-94-686/5/1994
Yellow-throated Warbler2011-037 4/22/2011 - 4/24/2011
Prairie Warbler52-75-585/30/1975
Prairie Warbler52-82-366/6/1982
Prairie Warbler2006-062 5/15/2006
Prairie Warbler2008-077 5/26/2008
Hermit Warbler52-80-285/16/1980
Hermit Warbler1999-1305/17/1999
Hermit Warbler2019-048 24 May 2019 to 26 May
Canada Warbler52-73-586/22/1970
Canada Warbler52-76-210/15/1975
Canada Warbler52-87-1056/24/1987
Hepatic Tanager55-77-455/9/1977
Summer Tanager2001-03712/19/1996
Scarlet Tanager55-76-1156/12/1976
Scarlet Tanager2013-277 02/18/1994
Scarlet Tanager2001-0381996
Scarlet Tanager1997-1046/9/1997
Scarlet Tanager2004-0365/27/2004
Scarlet Tanager2007-045 6/30/2007 - 7/7/2007
Scarlet Tanager2008-087 6/11/2008
Scarlet Tanager2009-049 5/30/2009-6/6/2009
Scarlet Tanager2019-054 29 Apr 2019 to 30 Apr
Rose-breasted Grosbeak2002-09711/4/2002
Lazuli Bunting2014-19425 May 2014
Painted Bunting56-86-275/9/1986
Painted Bunting2005-042 5/9/2005