Colorado Grouse: Apr 05—15, 2019

Register NowTour Details

Price: $3,545
Departs: Denver
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Erik Lindqvist
Download Itinerary: PDF (1.9 MB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Brian Gibbons

Brian Gibbons grew up in suburban Dallas where he began exploring the wild world in local cr...


Michael O'Brien

Michael O'Brien is a freelance artist, author, and environmental consultant living in Cape M...

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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Greater Sage-Grouse

Greater Sage-Grouse— Photo: Brian Gibbons


Centered around the unique and wonderful mating displays of five species of grouse, this tour also takes in the scenic beauty, birds, and wildlife from all four corners of Colorado. Incredible scenery and close looks at incomparable grouse displays.

Five species of grouse inhabit the prairies and inter-mountain valleys of North America: the Greater and Gunnison sage-grouse, Sharp-tailed Grouse, and the Greater and Lesser prairie-chickens. All are noted for their spectacular mating displays, and all can be exceedingly difficult to find away from their leks or display grounds. From the sandhills of southeastern Colorado to the high sagebrush parklands of the north, we will see some of the most fascinating rituals in the bird world: the booming of the prairie-chickens, the wild dance of the Sharp-tails, and the strutting of the huge sage-grouse.

Around reservoirs we may be treated to side by side views of Clark’s and Western grebes, Snowy Plovers, trees full of colorful Yellow-headed Blackbirds, and such southwestern specialties as Scaled Quail and Curve-billed Thrasher. In the mountains we often encounter lingering flocks of all three species of Rosy-Finches.

VIDEO: Greater Sage-Grouse strutting his stuff, VENT’s 2014 Colorado Grouse tour, by Brian Gibbons

In west central Colorado, beautiful canyons shade streamside cottonwood groves where Lewis’s Woodpeckers abound. In the prairies, towns of Black-tailed Prairie Dogs also support nesting Burrowing Owls, and grasslands are home to Cassin’s and Grasshopper sparrows. We will bird the Pawnee National Grassland, a vast expanse of shortgrass prairie where Ferruginous Hawk, Mountain Plover, and McCown’s and Chestnut-collared longspurs all nest.

Though the high mountains are still under snow, the lower forests are accessible. Here we may find Golden Eagle, Dusky Grouse, Williamson’s and Red-naped sapsuckers, Mountain Bluebird, Cassin’s Finch, and many other mountain species. White-tailed Ptarmigan has been found on eight of the last ten tours, and we will try to track down this cryptic bird at 12,000 feet, weather permitting. Mammal viewing should be excellent throughout the trip, and the mountain scenery is breathtaking.

Good accommodations and food; easy to moderate terrain, elevation 3,500-12,000 ft; long drives; cold to mild climate, with potential for inclement weather.