The American Dipper is an amazing bird. Although it is a song bird, it often behaves more like a duck as it dives underwater, floats down small rapids and sings a most lovely and odd bubbling song.

One reason the American Dipper is so important today is that it is one of the best indicators of a healthy mountain water system. Dippers have actually been known to abandon streams that become too polluted.

Late in the summer of 2015 the Gold King mine spill rocked Southwest Colorado.  After this event a small group of bird lovers felt it was important to take note, in an organized fashion, of the comings and goings of this curious and helpful resident of our local waterways to see if they might have anything to tell us about the health of our riverSince the spill, an incredible team of volunteers has been monitoring the breading status, behavior, health and nest building activities of the American Dipper.

Would you like to join us?


During the months of March – July we monitor nests and/or fledgling activity in active dipper territories along portions of the Animas River.


  • We need you, your binoculars, (a GPS if you have one) and your love of watching birds.
  • Each observation session will last from 1-3 hours and will occur weekly during the earlier stages, and more frequently as the young approach fledging.