See A Cool Bird?

Reporting Bird Sightings for Science and Fun

What we know today about Colorado's bird life is from the accumulation and analysis of information obtained over the years from many field ornithologists, birders, and backyard birdwatchers. Certainly, no other order in the animal kingdom has more citizen science participation in adding to our knowledge than birds. You can contribute to this long tradition of community-driven science by reporting the birds you see -- the common ones and the rare ones. 

What data are important:

  • Regular sightings - these form the base for studying long-term patterns
  • Seasonal data of significant sightings - early and late dates, unusual location or numbers, even notable lack of an expected species
  • Rarities - species that don't usually show up in Colorado
Brown-capped Rosy-Finch. Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Peter Burke.

Looking for Help Identifying a Bird?

CFO provides many recourses to improve your ID skills and identify a puzzling bird.

How To Report

Long before the advent of Internet communications, most states had a telephone Rare Bird Alert for reporting rare birds but times have changed and there are many different options now. 

1) eBird

eBird, a global citizen science project, operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a database you can submit your observations to and use to explore birding hotspots, migratory patterns, and more. The use of eBird use has increased exponentially over the past decade and there are many resources for the curious birder. 

Many people, including many Colorado birders, use eBird to keep their outing checklists and use the eBird app to quickly report their sightings while in the field. The use of eBird makes a strong contribution to scientific study and bird conservation, and also allows users to keep track of their lists and make queries to see what species they have recorded in the state or a particular county. 

2) COBirds Google Group & CFO Facebook

CFO strongly recommends that interesting bird sightings be reported to the COBirds listserv hosted on Google Groups. Once you email COBirds, the information becomes immediately available to subscribers. Learn how to join this group to get emails with alerts.  

The CFO Facebook group is another location where interesting bird observations can be reported. The Facebook group is also used to share photos and get help on ID and other Colorado bird questions. The group is a private group to prevent spam but you can join by completing a simple screening survey. Please read the group guidelines before posting to the group.  


3) Colorado Bird Records Committee 

Colorado, like most states and Canadian provinces, has a Bird Records Committee to provide peer review of reports of rare birds. The Colorado Bird Records Committee (CBRC) also maintains the official state and county checklists. Please help keep Colorado's record up to date when you see a rare or unusual species by submitting a report to the CBRC, and not just COBirds or eBird. To help, the CBRC prepares a list of species for which they would like to have documentation of any sightings. If you see these species, please submit documentation to the CBRC.