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More than 600 species of birds have been identified in Texas and many can be found near the Houston area, where diverse ecosystems located along major migratory paths provide ideal sites for birdlife observation. Whether you’re new to birding or a seasoned birder, read on to learn about the best places to go birding in Houston’s surrounding communities.
Located along one of the largest bird migratory paths in North America, Bay Area Houston is a top destination birding and wildlife enthusiasts. Its diverse habitat of both fresh and salt marsh, bay shoreline, and riparian and upland woodlands, is home to nearly 300 species of birds.
Visit the city of Seabrook, which is located on the Clear Lake Loop of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail and has four designated sites for birdlife observation – Hester Garden Park, McHale Park, Pine Gully Park, and Robinson Park – along Todville Road. Learn more about these locations here.
At Armand Bayou Nature Center, three ecosystems with more than 2,500 acres of bayou, forest and prairie are refuge for more than 360 species of animals and birds. One of the largest urban wildlife and wilderness preserves, Armand Bayou Nature Center is home to bison, raptors, and reptiles, and features a boardwalk through a woodland-pond area, a bird blind, walking trails, a late 1800’s farm site, pontoon boat tours, and guided canoe tours.
Baytown has two official locations on the Great Texas Coast Birding Trail: the Baytown Nature Center and the Eddie V. Gray Wetlands and Recreation Center.
Baytown Nature Center, a 450-acre site on two peninsulas surrounded by three bays, is home to more than 300 species of birds, which depend on this area for migration, feeding or nesting year-round. Watch Sandpipers and Roseate Spoonbills feed in the shallow pools or take photos of the large egrets and herons wading through the muddy waters. This former residential subdivision is now dotted with wildlife photography blinds located in birding hotspots, and also includes fishing piers, scenic overlooks, a children’s playground area, a butterfly garden and a bird sanctuary.
Don’t miss the monthly count held on the third Thursday of each month, from September through May. The Baytown Nature Center is also part of the Houston Christmas Bird Count.
Beaumont, Texas is on two migratory bird flyways: the Central and Mississippi. Nearly 30 species of ducks and flocks of snow geese migrate to Beaumont while roseate spoonbills, great and white snowy egrets, white-faced ibis, and mottled ducks are year-round fixtures.
A local favorite for bird watching is Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands, which features a boardwalk with covered viewing platforms and 900 acres of scenic wetlands. Cattail Marsh is a wildlife refuge for a variety of aquatic mammals and more than 250 species of birds annually, including: pelicans, egrets, roseate spoonbills, ducks, ibis, doves and red-winged blackbirds. More than eight miles of gravel levee roads allow for a variety of recreational activities, including jogging, biking and horseback riding.
Whether you’re planning your trip during spring migration (March-June) or fall migration (July-October), you're all but guaranteed to find what you're looking for in Beaumont, where more than 350 bird species are spotted annually.
Of the 338 species of birds listed as Nearctic-Neotropical migrants in North America, 333 of them have been recorded in Texas, and you’re sure to spot a few in Conroe, which sits at where the Central and Mississippi Flyways converge. From fall to spring, the waters of the 22,000-acre Lake Conroe are home to these migrant birds as well as Bald Eagle and Osprey, and Red-breasted Nuthatch and Winter Wrens taking up residence along the shores. Read about Lake Conroe's activities and birding here.
For the bird enthusiast, Huntsville State Park is a 2,083.2-acre wooded recreational area within the Sam Houston National Forest, is a great destination to spot waterfowl, wading birds, songbirds, woodpeckers and many more species.
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