What to Expect

Please review this information about what to expect and how to prepare for your Colorado Birding Adventure.  You can also download a PDF of this same information here.  

Our Day:   A full day of birding is generally up to 10 hours starting when we meet in the morning.  Typically we start at 7 a.m. local time but we can start at a different time if you prefer. At any point during the day if you’d like to take a break, stop for refreshments, or just slow down, it’s completely up to you.  

For some destinations (Pawnee National Grasslands, for example) much of our birding is done from the vehicle or by stopping along the road.  For other birding areas (such as Rocky Mountain National Park), we will likely make multiple stops for birding.  Many species can be found within a short distance from the parking areas.  Or, we can take off and explore the many trails. 

In any event, our pace is completely up to you and we can walk as much or as little as you wish.

We will keep you apprised of upcoming opportunities for restroom stops.  Depending on our location, this will be a pit vault toilet in a park or at a trailhead,  otherwise at a gas station or convenience store.

The weather in Colorado is generally moderate with lots of sunshine and relatively low humidity. But the weather can change quickly and you should be prepared for a variety of conditions.  Wear layers so you can adjust to changing temperatures. Even though we will alert you a few days ahead of your trip date if the forecast looks problematic, it’s a good idea for you to keep a general watch on the forecast.

Pawnee Grasslands 10-day Weather Forecast

Longmont area (northern Colorado foothills) 10-day Forecast

Rocky Mountain National Park 10-day Forecast

Birding is an outdoor activity and we will generally proceed regardless of the weather with the exception of potentially dangerous conditions such as lightning or extreme cold, icy roads, etc.  If we determine a trip should be cancelled for safety reasons, we will contact you as soon as possible by phone and we will refund your payment for that day (less any non-refundable costs that we may have already incurred.)

Neither smoking or consuming alcoholic beverages is permitted during our birding day.

Food & Drink: We will advise you in advance whether to bring your own food and drink or if we will be making different arrangements.  In any event, feel free to bring a favorite snack or beverage.  We are always happy to stop any supplies along the way but some of our birding destinations don’t have a lot of options.  Generally, we will stop for lunch out in the field and we  won’t take time to stop at a restaurant.

Looking for ptarmigan in RMNP

Altitude:  The Colorado landscape is varied but the overall average elevation is the highest of any state.  Our base in Longmont is approximately 5,000 feet (1500 meters) above sea level; if your itinerary includes a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park, we may travel  as high as 11,000 feet (3400 meters.)

  • Please consult with your physician about your specific situation if you have any conditions that may be impacted by moderate activity at altitude.
  • Stay properly hydrated. Acclimatization to higher elevation is often accompanied by fluid loss, so you need to drink lots of fluids to remain properly hydrated. Start drinking more water even before you arrive in Colorado.
  • Take it easy; don’t over-exert yourself when you first arrive. Light activity during the day is better than sleeping because respiration decreases during sleep, exacerbating the symptoms.  
  • The acclimatization process is inhibited by dehydration, over-exertion, and alcohol.
  • Sunscreen and sun hats are essential.  Ultraviolet exposure increases about 4 percent for every 1,000 feet above sea level.

What to Bring:

  • Layers of clothing for a variety of weather conditions 
    • A rain jacket for summer afternoons and for windy conditions
    • If your tour will include a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park, it can be very cool in the mornings and even cold and windy at the higher elevations and a warm hat and gloves may be needed.
  • Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
  • Walking shoes or light hiking shoes
  • Binoculars & camera
  • Your favorite field guide
  • Water bottle

Photography: The combination of birds and scenery creates terrific opportunities for photography.  We are happy to adapt our day to your photographic interests including putting you in the best positions for interesting shots and taking the time to get you as close as possible within the parameters of good birding ethics.  It’s helpful if you let us know in advance of particular birds you hope to photograph so we can plan our day accordingly.

eBird:  We are happy to create and share an eBird checklist from our major stops during the day.  We prefer not to constantly be making entries into our smartphone throughout the day so if you prefer to keep your own eBird checklist during the day, feel free to do so.  If we share checklists with you later on, the times and distances will be estimates and not exact.   If you would like us to share checklists with you, please be sure we have your eBird username or email.

Travel Arrangements: While we are not able to make any travel reservations or arrangements directly on your behalf, we are happy to provide informal suggestions about lodging, vehicle rentals, etc.  Just ask!  Here is a list of hotels in Longmont on Travel Advisor.

More Information:  We are happy to answer your questions in advance about either the birds and birding or how to prepare for your birding adventure.  Please don’t hesitate to ask.

Colorado Birding Adventures does not discriminate in its tours or activities on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, religion or religious creed, disability or handicap, sex or gender, gender identity and/or expression (including a transgender identity), sexual orientation, military or veteran status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state or local law.