Barr Lake is a large lake within a Colorado State Park, by the same name, in Adams County, Colorado near Brighton.
It has a reputation of being a top birding spot in the area with trails and good viewing spots around the lake.
Notable about Barr Lake, among other things, is the large numbers of birds that have been sighted here, with a large group of Bald Eagle. As well, it's the chosen location for the headquarters of The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, where they conduct certain operations.
Another is its status as a stop-over spot for migrating birds.
End result is this is a significant opportunity for some great birding.
With Barr Lake being the significant location for migratory birds that it is, there are a significant number of rare sightings. Here are a few designated as such on the Colorado State Parks checklist for Barr Lake State Park.
Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Black-headed Grosbeak, Lesser Goldfinch, Snow Goose, Clark's Grebe, Common Loon, Great Egret, Peregrine Falcon, Black-bellied Plover, Black-necked Stilt, Short-billed Dowitcher, Bonaparte's Gull, Short-eared Owl, Common Nighthawk, Calliope Hummingbird, Red-naped Sapsucker, Gray Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.
Birds you can see here include:
American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Brewer's Blackbird, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Canada Goose, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Redhead, Ring-necked Pheasant, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, American Coot, Killdeer, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Black-billed Magpie, Horned Lark, Black-capped Chickadee
In addition to the large number of bird species possible at Barr Lake, there is also a chance you might see examples of a coyote, deer, fox, rabbits, and other small mammals.
History and Use
Since at least the mid 1800s, Barr Lake and the surrounding area have figured prominently into the settlement of, and the traffic in, this area. It has been a Bison wallow, seen Spanish cattle and cowboys, people stopping by on their way to other areas, expansion of the railroad, and more. The water access and availability of grasses for livestock was an attraction to people in their movement.
Areas of Interest
A number of trails, some with viewing points, are to be found here. One, 8.8 miles long, follows the perimeter of the lake.
In addition, this is the location of the Headquarters of the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies.
The prime point of interest here is going to be the birding potential, but there are many other things to see and do, in the off-time. Consult the Colorado State Parks - Barr Lake State Park site for specifics.
Access and Facilities
East 152nd Avenue off Interstate 76 northeast of Denver.
Consult an up-to-date map, auto club, or GPS for detailed directions.
Park office and Mailing Address:
13401 Picadilly Road Brighton, Colorado 80603
Email: [email protected]
- Colorado State Parks - Barr Lake State Park - Online - https://cpw.state.co.us
- Friends of Barr Lake - Online - https://friendsofbarrlake.org
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2023) Barr Lake. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 1 December 2023 from https://www.birdforum.net/opus/Barr_Lake