Mountain Wildlife: What You Need to Know Living in the Boulder Foothills

by Rachel Daly
Published: Last Updated on
boulder wildlife mountain living

Wildlife is a year-round component of living in Boulder’s foothills. Most of all, mountain residents worry about bears, in addition to mountain lions and bobcats. All three are a rare sight, they are very stealthy and they aren’t keen on being noticed by humans. Here are some of the many animals you might see if you live in Boulder’s foothills.


Living in Boulder Mountains

Photo by Rachel Daly, All Things Boulder

Although bears are very shy creatures, they are the most active of the Boulder wildlife troublemakers, mainly because of their penchant for dumpster diving.  Keeping your trash in a bear-proof trash can and waiting until the day of pickup to take it out to the road can help deter bears from rooting through your garbage. We quickly learned it’s not just the trash you need to be aware of with bears. They are known to come sniffing around open windows and are very drawn to any and all food smells. Bears are very strong and can break into compromised windows.  Don’t keep food or trash in your car and always keep your doors locked. Yes, bears can and will open your car door.

Mountain Lions, Bobcats and Mountain Predators

mountain living boulder wildlife

Photo Courtesy Mountain-Prairie Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

As a general rule, small pets should be kept indoors unless on a leash outside. Cats are easy prey for mountain lions and bobcats. Dogs are better kept indoors as well. If you see a mountain lion or bobcat, consider yourself lucky – they are a rare sight! Don’t be fooled if you don’t see them – they are very stealthy so just assume they are nearby.


One of my favorite parts of living in the Boulder foothills is watching the birds. Hummingbirds buzz around in the summer in the summer, the blue jays stay for the winter. Here’s a complete list from Boulder County’s Open Space database.

Year-round Boulder County residents include:

  • black-billed magpie
  • Steller’s jay
  • mountain and black-capped chickadee
  • pygmy nuthatch
  • red- and white-breasted nuthatch
  • pine siskin
  • evening grosbeak
  • brown creeper
  • canyon wren
  • great horned owl
  • northern flicker
  • common raven
  • American robin
  • American crow
  • dark-eyed junco

Summer visitors include:

  • broad-tailed hummingbird
  • western wood-peewee
  • mountain bluebird
  • yellow-rumped warbler
  • western tanager
  • spotted towhee

Winter visitors include:

  • cedar waxwing
  • bald eagle
  • rough-legged hawk
  • ferruginous hawk

Boulder’s Diverse Wildlife

mountain living boulder wildlife

Photo Courtesy Kim Williford

Living in the Boulder foothills, there are many other creatures you will encounter and most are benevolent. Squirrels and chipmunks, deer and wild turkeys, rabbits and red foxes, mice and snakes.

If you are considering living in the Boulder foothills, feel free to reach out! We would love to give you more information.

Related Articles