The Zion area has a rich array of birding opportunities. With wide variety of hawks including peregrine falcons, eagles and kites; ducks, geese and other water birds, one of the widest selections of hummingbirds; owls and other birds of prey; swifts, songbirds, woodpeckers, kingfishers and roadrunners, birds flourish within Southern Utah’s many ecosystems.
For most, water is the key. They take advantage of local wetlands, raging rivers and slow-moving streams. At least 291 bird species call Zion home. Many can be seen from the porch at Zion Lodge. Wild turkeys pick bugs from the lawn; band-tailed pigeons nest on the rooflines; Peregrine Falcons cruise overhead and hummingbirds take a quick sip of nectar.
Protecting Peregrine Falcon Nests
Birds operate pretty independently of humans, but sometimes the two have competing needs. Both falcons and climbers love Zion’s commanding cliffs. The park allows climbers to share critical cliffs through much of the year but closes them to climbers in March when peregrines begin to arrive to nest. This is to protect the nesting success of this bird, which is in recovery from endangered species status.
Climbing routes on cliffs used by nesting peregrine falcons include Angels Landing, Cable Mountain, The Great White Throne (beyond single- and double-pitched climbs), Isaac (in Court of the Patriarchs), The Sentinel, Mountain of the Sun, North Twin Brother, Tunnel Wall, The East Temple, Mount Spry, The Streaked Wall, Mount Kinesava, and the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek.
Just because climbing cliffs may be closed in spring, doesn’t mean you can’t hike or watch the birds. Bring your long lens and binoculars to Mount Kinesava, Streaked Wall, Sentinel, Mountain of the Sun, Great White Throne, Cable Mountain, Isaac, North Twin Brother, Middle Fork of Taylor Creek, the northeast buttress of Angel’s Landing and Tunnel West. Those cliffs are closed to climbers, during breeding season, but open to birders.