Bird Watching at Glacier National Park

National Parks are treasures of the environment. They not only protect the best of our natural heritage but also form the basis of our economic and social wellbeing. National Parks attract millions of visitors every year and help to protect wildlife by acting as a refuge for threatened species. Glacier National Park is one of the most majestic of the National Parks where individuals can go to hike, camp, bird watch or just enjoy nature. Bird Watching in Glacier National Park is a fun activity.

National Parks form the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation providing safe havens in which animals and plants can survive. Along with this, they offer a significant boost to the country’s economy with nature-based tourism. Bird Watching in Glacier National Park is a fun activity.

One can’t deny the fact that National Parks are alive with history and culture. From the ancient rock-art site to the buildings left over from early settlements, National Parks serve as a history book dating back to thousands of years. These parks provide an opportunity for people to establish connections with the land, and to share their cultural knowledge with the wider community.

Nature has a profound effect on our physical and mental health. In the frantic world we live in, National Parks are an escape, where people can enjoy nature, get fit, relax, and revitalize. It has certain psychological benefits, too, like reducing stress, anger, aggression, and providing an opportunity for social bonding.  

If you need a stunning getaway, then Glacier National Park is the right place for you. Alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and pristine lakes define this National Park. It offers you a chance to explore a lot of history and engage in exciting activities.

Overview of Glacier National Park

Situated in the state of Montana, the area of Glacier National Park was first inhabited by Native Americans. It was established as a National Park in 1910.

Glacier National Park, the beloved park of Northwest Montana, located in the county of Flathead and Glacier, takes its name from various glaciers and glacial forces that shaped its rugged topography over million years.

Some of the most exciting things to do include driving at least a section of Going to the Sun Road. It was constructed during the Great Depression, and this 50-mile route could easily double as a roller coaster ride. Lake McDonald, the largest lake in the park, is also worth visiting. Iceberg Lake Trail, Grinnell Glacier are other places of interest.

Glacier National Park is also endowed with unique flora and fauna. Animal species such as the grizzly bear and moose along with endangered species such as wolverine can be found in the park. Around 424 species of birds are spotted in the state, which makes Glacier National Park a perfect site for bird watching.


Bird Watching in Glacier National Park

If you are a person who has always been fascinated by birds and love visiting National Parks for the purpose of bird watching, then Glacier National Park is an apt destination for you. Around 313 species of birds have been spotted in the county of Flathead and 299 in Glacier, making this park a fantastic bird watching site.

Along with hundreds of resident birds, thousands of birds make Glacier National Park a pit-stop every year along their north-south migratory route. From Merlin and Red Crossbill to Northern Pintail and Chickadee, various species of our winged friends call this place home!

Glacier National Park Map

The National Park map can be downloaded from the website or can be acquired from the visitors’ centers of the park. It is vital to have the map pre-downloaded in case there is no network in the area.

The map is also available on various websites and can be downloaded easily. The consequences of navigating in the absence of a map could lead to going off-trail in dangerous areas or pausing at dead ends. Information contained within the map is: the park’s visitor center, campgrounds, trail roads, etc., making the journey smooth and easy.

Glacier National Park Weather

Weather in Glacier National Park can be variable and extreme. July and August are the considered the best summer months with warm weather. Most trails are fully accessible at this time. These months are the busiest, and the park gets crowded.

Many roads, trails, and activities close in the winter season. As the snow accumulates in the glacier, snowshoeing and skiing become favorite activities of this season.

Spring brings mild weather and is the perfect time for whitewater rafting and hiking the Going to the Sun Road. Fall begins in September. Weather is moderate with warm days and cold nights.

Glacier National Park Hotels

Many lodges and accommodations are available in Glacier National Park. They reflect the character of their early 20th-century heritage. Set within the incredible scenery of the park, these lodging options range from grand hotels to rustic cabins. They are a quaint departure from everyday life and define the American West.

The Many Glacier Hotel is the largest hotel in Glacier National Park. Boat cruise, horseback riding, and numerous other activities are available here. The hotel is a mix of modern amenities and old-world style. Situated in the Northeastern area of Glacier National Park, this hotel will give your trip an old-world charm.

Cedar Creek Lodge is another option that can be considered for accommodation. It is a boutique hotel surrounded by grand cedar trees and Ponderosa pines at the western end of the park. They provide complimentary breakfast, have an indoor pool, and a fitness center too.

Lake McDonald Lodge, situated on the shores of the largest lake in the Park, is a classic Swiss chalet-style lodge. They have a general store, a gift store, a pizzeria, and a dining room as well. Not only does it provides a picturesque view but also promises clean and comfortable rooms.

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, Rising Sun Motor Inn, Village Inn at Apgar are other great options to choose from.

Glacier National Park Camping

You can sleep under the stars and enjoy the crackling of a campfire in Glacier National Park with 13 campgrounds. While there are many top-notch lodges available inside the park, there’s no better way to get yourself immersed in the park’s wild, rugged beauty than to camp in crystal clear skies along with humming of nature.

It is essential to know that most campground work on the first-come, first-served basis making it necessary to have prior reservations.

Fish Creek campground, Kintla Lake campground, Bowman Lake campground, Sprague Creek campground, Avalanche campground, Rising Sun campground are some options you can explore for an overnight stay amidst the beauty of nature.

Glacier National Park Hiking

With over 700 kms of trail winding through Glacier National Park, it can be hard to choose what areas you want to explore. With amazing wildlife sightings, towering peaks, and the possibility to get close up to a glacier, your options are endless.

Hiking is not only fun but has various health benefits too. It not only reduces the risk of heart disease but also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Also, hiking is a true holistic workout as clambering over uneven surfaces and navigating your way around rocks, fallen trees, and across streams engages your core and works your upper body.

Hidden Lake is one of the most popular trails in the park where you can expect to see goats. Avalanche Lake is another fantastic option and is an excellent introduction to the majestic Glacier National Park. Quartz Lake Loop trail offers solitude and is filled with birdsong. It provides panoramic views and promises a serene experience. Cracker Lake, Firebrand Pass, Grinnell Glacier, and Gunsight Pass trail are some other options worth exploring.

Fun Things To Do While Hiking

Not that hiking is not fun in and of itself, but for children it would be fun to have something like a scavenger hunt to pass the time. Please click on the link below for an awesome bird watching scavenger hunt. Bird Watching in Glacier National Park is loads of fun.


10 Birds to see Year-Round in Glacier National Park

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintail

Norther Pintails are elegant, long-necked ducks with a slender profile. Their tale is long and pointed and is more prominent in breeding males than females. They nest in seasonal wetlands, grasslands, wet meadows, and short grass prairies. Northern Pintails mostly feed on seeds in winters and more of animal matter in summers, including insects, tadpoles, and small fish.

Ring-Necked Pheasant

The Ring-Necked Pheasant is a large, chicken-like bird with a long and pointed tail. A ring necked-pheasant has a plump body, small head, and long neck. Males are gaudy birds with red faces and green necks. Their tail is coppery with thin, black bars. Females are brown and have thin black bars on their tails. They eat grains, seeds, and insects. They are mainly found along rural roadsides, in overgrown or recently harvested fields, and bushy areas.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

The Sharp-Skinned Hawk was once considered as the enemy of all small birds. It is a small, slender, and feisty. It has long middle toes and large eyes, useful for catching high mobile prey.  They have a relatively smaller head compared to their body and may even look stunted. It gets its name from its pencil thin legs.



Merlins are small falcons with a sturdy build that is broader and stockier. They have a broad chest, sharply pointed wings, and a medium-length tail. Merlins are generally dark and streaky, though their coloration varies geographically and by gender. Adult males are slaty grey, while females and immature are browner. Merlins are energetic predators that patrol shorelines and open areas looking for their prey.

Black-Billed Magpie

Black Billed Magpie Picture
Black Billed Magpie Picture

Black-Billed Magpie has diamond-shaped tails and more massive bills. These birds are black and white, with blue, green iridescent flashes in the wing and tail. They are social, inquisitive birds that eat fruits, grains, small animals, and insects. They are widespread in towns, fields, and stream corridors of the west.

Chestnut-Backed Chickadee

The Chestnut-Backed Chickadee is the smallest and shortest-tailed chickadee. It is bold black and white on the head like other chickadees, but the back is a rich chestnut instead of gray. They are active and acrobat and flock with kinglets and nuthatches. They can be found in dense coniferous and mixed coniferous forests of the Pacific Coast. You can also spot them in shrubs, trees, and parks of cities, towns and suburbs.

Brown Creeper

Brown Creepers are tiny woodland birds with an affinity for the most significant trees they can find.  They have long, spine-tipped tails, slim bodies, and decurved bills. Brown Creepers are brown from above while their underparts are white. Brown Creepers feed on small insects and spiders. They sing a high, warbling song and also give a high wavering call note.

Townsend’s Solitaire

The Townsend’s Solitaire, also found in Glacier National Park, is a medium-sized songbird with a long tail, short bill, and a small rounded head. Their upright posture and long-tail give them long and slender appearance. Townsend’s Solitaire is gray with prominent white eye-rings. They have buffy wing patches and white outer tail feathers. In winters, these birds move to lower elevations and feed on juniper berries.

Evening Grosbeaks

Evening Grosbeak Picture
Evening Grosbeak Picture

The Evening Grosbeak is a large, heavyset finch with a very thick, powerful, and conical bill. Thick neck and short tail are some other characteristics of these birds. Adult males are yellow and black, with a prominent white patch in the wings. Females and immature are gray with white and black wings. Adult males have a pale ivory bill, while females have a greenish-yellow bill. Grosbeaks are social birds and usually found in flocks, particularly in winter. They feed on insect larvae during summer, buds in spring, and seeds, berries, and small fruits in winters.

Red Crossbill

The Red Crossbill is a medium-sized songbird with a short, notched tail and an unusual twisted bill that crosses when closed. Adult males are brick red with darker wings and tail. Females are yellowish and brown or olive-brown above. They eat conifer seeds and fly in unison from tree to tree.

National Parks come with extreme temperatures-extremely hot or extremely cold. Be prepared for both situations. Always plan ahead of time as there are many people like you going camping or hiking in Glacier National Park. It is essential to make prior reservations for lodges, cabins, and camps. Never take sign boards lightly and always use a map for directions.

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