I've only been a "birder" for starting my fifth year, but there are so many birds that live in or come through the Rocky Mountains. I get a real kick out of trying to classify or identify each bird and enjoy photography so I also try to get a good photo. (I miss more than I get, but I'm improving.) Birds in flight are really tough so I started out with perched birds and have expanded from there. Slowly slowly I am getting better at it.
I actually live in the Metropolitan Denver Area. Some of the birding hotspots here include Cherry Creek State Park, the South Platte River, Chatfield Reservoir, Barr Lake, and more. We have 42 state parks, 4 national parks, and 15 national forests.
Hint: to start out go where there is water. The water birds are a great place to start because they are large and relatively easy to find and photograph.
I'm so excited - just saw a life bird - driving down Parker Rd. by Mississippi - it was a BEAUTIFUL Snow Bunting - a small white bird with some black trim.