Bird and Butterfly Bonanza
Bird and Butterfly Bonanza The area south and east of Steamboat Springs is one of the lushest regions of Colorado, boasting relatively few people but high natural diversity, including huge numbers of deer, elk, and pronghorn along the backroads. Rabbit Ears Pass, just east of Steamboat, rises from serviceberry shrubland with Spotted and Green-tailed Towhees, up to spruce-fir forests excellent for Threetoed Woodpeckers and Saw-whet Owls. The road that traverses these gradients is famous among butterfly enthusiasts for hosting more than a dozen species of fritillary. The low elevations in this area retain hints of the south, in the form of the occasional Gambel oak and Band-tailed Pigeon, while the high-elevation understory is highlighted by thimbleberries and monkeyflowers, echoing the flora of regions far to the north. These links with the north help make this the most reliable part of the state for finding nomadic winter flocks of Bohemian Waxwings. This area can richly reward a visitor at any time of year.