adult who just caught a fish:
NPS photos of adult and juvenile Bald Eagles:
The juvenile Bald Eagle above will not get white head feathers until it is about 4 years old.
Adult Bald Eagles have a wingspan of 6 to 7.5 feet (182cm-229cm).
More photos of Bald Eagles on our college trips are here.
Canada Geese , 25 inches long, who mate for life, are often seen in flocks.
Canada Geese calls can be heard here.
Golden Eagles hunt farther away from water and nest along cliffs.
Great Blue Heron (sometime referred to as a crane) “the largest heron in North America. Often seen standing silently along inland rivers or lakeshores, or flying high overhead, with slow wingbeats, its head hunched back onto its shoulders.” Lenght 38.2 – 53.9 inches (97-137 cm), Wingspan: 65.8 – 79.1 inches (167-201 cm)
Great Gray Owls are “the tallest owl in North America with the largest wingspan. Males hunt during daylight making them visible in the lodgepole forest.”
Common Loons sometimes nest on back-county lakes we have stayed overnight at. (Loons are unable to walk on land.)
Loon tremolo calls can be heard here
These pictures are from a video we shot of Magpies darting in and out trying to get bits of a fish, or even get the Bald Eagle eating the fish to fly off and leave the fish behind:
Magpie sounds can be heard here.
Northern Flickers, (woodpecker), about 11-12 inches long, sometimes nest in hollow Aspen trees.
Osprey (fish hawk) hunt along the water, often in the vicinity of Bald Eagles. Osprey are 23 inches long and have a wingspan of 50-71 inches (127-180 cm).
When you get used to the huge size of nests of Osprey, often built on top of a dead tree (and Bald Eagles) you will spot them better.
Besides swans, other huge white birds are pelicans , same as we see along the Pacific coast, if they have a huge yellow beak and throat pouch.
Water Ouzels (also known as American Dippers) live and play in the water. We have regularly seen them in Cascade Canyon, especially where the trail gets fairly close to the water farther up the trail, higher up in the canyon. Naturalist John Muir said the ouzel was his favorite bird, and wrote: ” . . . “the little ouzel is flitting from rock to rock along the rapid swirling Canon Creek, diving for breakfast in icy pool . . . not web-footed, yet he dives fearlessly into foaming rapids, seeming to take the greater delight the more boisterous the stream . . .” Muir wrote an entire chapter about ouzels, (chapter XIII) in The Mountains of California, which you can read at:http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10012
Ouzels build their nests in the spray of water.
Ouzel sounds can be heard here.
There can be closures from May to August at Baxter’s Pinnacle and Descent Gully near the mouth of Cascade Canyon to protect an active Peregrine Falcon nest.
Raven (bigger than a Crow you might see at home, Ravens are 24 inches long and have a wingspan of 53 inches, Crows are 17.5 inches long and have a wingspan of 39 inches).
Ravens want to get into your gear, and some have figured out how to get into day packs or . . . a bag tied onto a motorcycle:
Getting to experience Sandhill Cranes singing is a favorite part of our trips, especially when we are lucky enough to see pairs dancing.
Yellowstone park notes they are the “tallest birds in Yellowstone, they stand about 4 feet (1.2 m) high. They have a wingspan of approximately 6.5 feet (2 m) and are often mistaken for standing humans or other animals at a distance.”
Steller’s Jays have a mid-to-deep blue coloring with charcoal black shoulders and a crest at the back of their head.
Read about the structural color (as opposed to pigmented color) of Jay feathers.
Kenai Fjords National Park notes: “The wings of jays are short and rounded, allowing them more maneuverability through dense trees, and a long, rounded tail acts like a rudder to improve maneuverability as well. Their flight pattern is often a few flaps followed by a glide as they lose altitude. Jays must beat their wings repeatedly to climb back up again. . . Steller’s jays might be considered the alarm system for surrounding communities. Their call is a cheeky, repetitive “shack, shack, shack” and is often recognized as a warning call by other birds and mammals in the area. As with many of the Corvidae family, jays are excellent mimics. Scientists have studied jays repeating the call of the red-tailed hawk to scare away predators.”
Steller’s Jays want to get at your food:
Steller’s Jay calls can be heard here.
Trumpeter Swan: can be found (according to the park) at: “Oxbow Bend, Swan Lake and Flat Creek in the National Elk Refuge.” We have also seen them at Christian Pond.
The difference between a tundra swan and a trumpeter swan (wingspan of 6 feet, 2 inches to 8 feet, 2 inches(185 to 250 cm)) is that the tundra swan has a yellow spot near the eye and the trumpeter swan has a thin pink stripe at the base of their upper mandible.
For bird (and animal) watching you will r e a l l y want your own binoculars.
The club owns a few pairs of waterproof binoculars, but not enough for each person in a large group.
Grand Teton National Park offers these Bird Watching Etiquette tips:
• Nesting birds are easily disturbed. If an adult on a nest flies off at your approach or circles you and screams an alarm, you are too close. Unattended nestlings quickly succumb to predation or exposure to the elements.
• Do not feed birds or any wildlife.
• Do not play bird songs or use bird calls. Such sounds disturb territorial males and nesting pairs.
• Stay on trails to preserve delicate habitat.
• Obey all wildlife closures.
• Good birding areas often attract other wildlife. Maintain a distance of at least 100 yards from wolves and bears and 25 yards from other animals. Do not position yourself between a female and her offspring.
Download photos of over a hundred birds of Grand Teton National Park
Yellowstone park (on the border of Grand Teton) offers bird songs:
Download this instead of buying it at a visitor center, (well worth looking at for info about animals and much more): https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/resources-and-issues.htm
Rocky Mountain mammal size comparisons has photos and comparisons of beavers, squirrels, pika, marmot, elk, moose, bison, fox, coyote, wolf, golden-mantled ground squirrel, chipmunk, Red Squirrel (also known as) Chickaree, Unita Ground squirrels, bobcat, lynx, mountain lion (cougar), pine marten, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, grizzly and black bears.
Grand Tetons sightseeing
Hiking Advice has hot weather hiking advice, hiking logistics and the answer to the question: When is the best time of day to cross a mountain stream?
Please, no trail running
Grand Teton National park: “Trail running is strongly discouraged; you may startle a bear.”
Glacier National Park: “Trail running is discouraged as there have been an increasing number of injuries and fatalities due to runners surprising bears at close range.”
Don’t bike or jog/run by yourself, it is safer to bike in groups since there are very large, potentially dangerous and unpredictable animals potentially everywhere.
Data suggest that rates of sudden encounters with bears are much higher among cyclists than hikers.
Grand Tetons biking includes statistics about cyclist encounters with grizzly bears.
Your safety in grizzly bear territory tells you what to do if you see a bear in the distance or a bear charges you and has info about Bear Pepper Sprays and what might happen before a bison charges.
During a thunderstorm, don’t take a shower or use a sink, including washing dishes. Don’t talk on a land line phone. Don’t use your I pod. Don’t get zapped! Please read Thunderstorm and lightning safety
Road trip advice and etiquette
People often get too close to animals when they are trying to take a selfie.
Grand Tetons trip equipment.
Details about our next club trip to Grand Teton National Park start at Grand Tetons.
Grand Tetons trip pages index has brief descriptions of most of the pages about this trip.