There is nowhere in North America as iconic as Yellowstone National Park. Towering mountains, spewing geysers, vast forests and valleys harbouring the highest megafauna density on the continent make this a must-visit destination for anyone wanting to experience the classic American West. But the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, as it is known by locals and researchers, is much more than what is found within the National Park’s borders, despite its enormous size. The ecosystem includes huge, pristine prairies, alpine crags and meadows, near-arid desert, and the most diverse and lovely scenery one could hope for.
For birders, a visit to the Yellowstone region means Longspurs parachuting over Mountain Plover chicks, Western Tanagers at the same feeders as Red Crossbills, Black Rosy Finches foraging at the feet of Mountain Goats, Brown-headed Cowbirds on the back of the original bovine of the continent – the Bison. Yellowstone means time spent observing wolves and bears foraging, hunting, in their natural habitats, otters and Barrow’s Goldeneye frolicking in the Lamar River, and some of the most spectacular geothermal sites on Earth. Any visit to Yellowstone is memorable and unique, but there is so much more to be seen and enjoyed than most visitors could conceive.
Black Rosy Finch; Sprague’s Pipit; Thick-billed & Chestnut-collared Longspurs;, Mountain Plover; Dusky Grouse; Three-toed Woodpecker; Williamson’s Sapsucker; Sagebrush Sparrow;, Baird’s Sparrow.
Gray Wolf; Grizzly & American Black Bears; Bighorn; Mountain Goat; American Bison
shortgrass and mixed-grass Prairie, Riparian Deciduous Forest, Sagebrush Steppe, Lake and Marsh wetlands, Montane Coniferous Forest, Alpine grassland
daytime temperatures typically range 65 -80F, with cool evenings in the 50s – 60s. Though the odd afternoon thunderstorm is likely, weather is typically very enjoyable with little precipitation.
Max Group Size
6 with 1 Rockjumper Leader and local leaders where necessary
Tour Pace & Walking
tour pace is relaxed, with a few short hikes that are best for species like Black Rosy-Finch and Grouse. Overall, easy and pleasant walking conditions on road and trails.
3-4 star accommodations throughout the tour.
Ease of Birding
generally easy, though sometimes species like Northern Pygmy Owl or Gray Partridge can be a little tricky to pin down.
Number of Species Expected
wildlife and photography, of course, are amazing. Soaking in Chico Hot Springs, viewing Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park, driving the beartooth highway over the second-highest drivable pass in the country, art galleries and shops in Livingston, visit the Yellowstone Film Ranch.
incredible photo ops of dozens of bird species and some 14 species of mammal, minimum