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Bird Checklist of the Bighorn National Forest

Sponsored by the Bighorn Audubon Society and the Bighorn National Forest.

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This checklist was prepared by J. Canterbury and C.J. Grimes from Orabona and Rudd’s 2016 Wyoming Bird Checklist, J. Canterbury and P. Johnsgard’s 2013 Birds and Birding in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains Region, D. Faulkner’s 2010 Birds of Wyoming, H. Downing’s 1990 Regional Checklist, and eBird. The list is arranged by family, with common names following the sixty-second supplement to the American Ornithological Society’s Checklist of North American Birds.

The list of the 266 birds of the Bighorn National Forest is based on historical documentation of abundance (A) and is separated into five categories. Abundant (A) birds are those that occur in high density and are likely to be seen daily, while Common (C) birds are expected in high numbers. Uncommon (U) birds are expected in low numbers, while Rare (R) birds are not always expected or detected. Vagrant (V) birds are species whose occurrence is accidental because their range does not include Wyoming.

The Bighorn National Forest covers 1,107,671 acres, of which about 66% is forest, 33% is non-forest, and less than 1% is water. Habitats (H) are varied and are separated into eight categories. Riparian (R) zones are transitional areas from streams, lakes, and rivers to the adjacent lands and provide some of the most productive environments for birds. Wetland (W) habitats are areas where water is present most of the time including marshes, wetlands, reservoirs, and lakes. Meadows (M) are defined as non-forested areas dominated by grasses, sedges, and forbs. Coniferous and Deciduous Forests (F) include areas of subalpine fir/Engelmann spruce (8,500 ft.), lodgepole pine (7,545 to 9,000 ft.), ponderosa pine (below 7,500 ft.), and aspen. Shrublands (S) are dominated by bitterbrush, chokecherry, juniper, and sagebrush. Prairie (P) includes lowland grasslands dominated by the shortgrass prairie. Alpine (A) habitats contain perennial forbs, sedges, shrubs, and grasses above tree line. Cliffs (C) consist of cliffs, caves, canyons, and rocky outcrops.


The varied habitats of the region provide important refuge for breeding and migration for many birds across the seasons. Seasons (S) provide information about the time of year in which the birds are expected to occur in the region. Year-round (Y) birds are considered to be residents and do not migrate. Summer residents (S) are in the region during summer, June-July, and are likely breeding. Summer residents may also be present during spring, March-May, and fall, August-November, as they move in and out of their breeding areas, while Winter (W) birds occur in the region during winter, December-February. Migratory (M) birds regularly pass through the area between known breeding and wintering ranges.

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 Photos clockwise from top left: Black-capped Chickadee, Mountain Bluebird, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Great Blue Heron, Western Meadowlark, Ferruginous Hawk, Northern Flicker, Yellow-rumped Warbler. 

Center: American Dipper. Photos © Canterbury & Johnsgard

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Happy Birding!


BNF Checklist
BNF Checklist
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