Top Birdwatching Destinations in the USA
In the United States, there are many wonderful birdwatching destinations. Some are known for their diversity and abundance, while others are important stopovers for migrating birds. For example, Alaska has over 530 bird species. While you’re in the country, you may want to visit one of the following places: Point Reyes National Seashore, Big Bend National Park, Reifel Bird Sanctuary, and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
Reifel Bird Sanctuary
The Reifel Bird Sanctuary is one of the USA’s premier birdwatching destinations. The site is home to thousands of species of birds, and it attracts both photographers and avid bird watchers alike. The sanctuary offers five kilometers of trails, as well as helpful information boards about different types of birds, marshlands, and seasonal residences. The sanctuary is a popular destination for snow geese, as around 70,000 of them pass through the area between October and April.
Visitors can also buy checklists to keep track of all of the different species. Visitors should make sure to bring binoculars and keep noise to a minimum. The Reifel Bird Sanctuary also offers bird blinds where visitors can observe the birds. Birdwatchers are encouraged to wear good walking shoes, bring snacks, and a water bottle. There are no dogs or bicycles allowed in the sanctuary, and visitors must refrain from using loud noises or chasing the birds.
Other notable species include rudy duck, greater and lesser yellowlegs, and scaups. The sanctuary also offers excellent views of hawks and eagles, and osprey are sometimes spotted in the area. During the winter, Snow Geese, Sandhill Cranes, and Black-Capped Chickadees can be seen.
Reifel is located on an island off the coast of British Columbia, just 34 km from Vancouver. For timed entry, visitors must make a reservation in advance. Reservations are available online up to two days in advance and are released in increments of three days. Guests can pay via credit or debit card. A tour guide is available to assist them with their needs.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
For birdwatchers who want to see a diverse range of birds, a trip to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Florida is a must. This 11,000-acre swamp sanctuary features the largest virgin bald cypress forest in North America. In addition to a wide range of birds, the swamp also offers other natural habitats that make it a great spot for birdwatching.
The swamp is home to several species of plants and trees, including the super ghost orchid, which was only discovered in 2007. This rare plant grows in trees and only blooms during the summer, usually in June or July. It blooms for about a week and often multiple times during the year, making it a perfect spot to see a diverse range of birds and other wildlife. The area also has many other types of plants, including iris and sycamore.
A visit to the Everglades National Park is another great opportunity for bird watching. This park is less than one hour’s drive from Naples. It features over 1.5 million acres of subtropical wetland ecosystem and the River of Grass ecosystem. Over seventy species are present in the park, including several endangered species. And because it is home to a variety of species, the park is one of the best birdwatching destinations in the USA.
While visiting the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, visitors should consider taking a tour of the nearby boardwalk, which is ADA-compliant. The boardwalk is easy to navigate and does not include any steep slopes. The sanctuary has three rest stops along the way, and visitors should allow themselves about an hour and fifteen minutes to complete it. During the day, there are many birdwatching opportunities, so don’t wait any longer to visit Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is a great place to see birds. With 450 different species, the park has more than any other national park in the United States. The park is also home to the only breeding site for the Colima warbler. Birds usually inhabit water, so you can expect to see them near the water. Many species also migrate to the region. You can also participate in the annual Acadia Birding Festival in late spring.
You can spend the entire day birdwatching in the park. There are many trails and vantage points to observe the diverse types of birds. For birding in the highlands, try the Pinnacles Trail, which is a five to six-hour hike. Boulder Meadow and Laguna Meadow are also great locations for birding. For easy access, campers can stay at Basin campground.
During winter, Big Bend is a hotspot for birds. You’ll find the greatest variety of shorebirds, sparrows, and ducks. Spring migration is another highlight of Big Bend. The peak migration period is late April to early May. Other birds arrive in the spring and stay through the summer, while others migrate south to southern regions. The park is a must-see for bird watchers.
Big Bend National Park is located near the border of Mexico and Texas. The park is an outdoor playground for nature lovers. You can explore the park’s natural beauty while taking the scenic drive along the Rio Grande river. Don’t forget to stop at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit and soak in its hot springs. If you’re in the mood for stargazing and bird watching, Big Bend is the place to go.
Point Reyes National Seashore
Regardless of whether you’re looking for shorebirds, waterfowl, or both, you’ll be able to find them at Point Reyes National Seashore. The seashore is home to a variety of species, including harbor seals, Black-crowned Night-heron, and Belted Kingfisher. You might even be able to spot a peregrine falcon here! Point Reyes National Seashore is just a short drive from San Francisco.
Nearby Abbotts Lagoon is home to forty species of shorebirds, including the rare Hudsonian Godwit, Bar-Tailed Godwit, and Buff-breasted Sandpiper. This lagoon also serves as a breeding area for the Western Snowy Plover. The Point Reyes Lighthouse is also a prime location for viewing vagrant birds during their migration.
The region is a prime place for birdwatching, with over 500 species recorded in this area. In fact, it’s home to more than half of all North American species! Its proximity to the Pacific Flyway makes it a top birdwatching destination in the USA. Whether you’re a birdwatcher or not, you’ll find an abundance of wildlife and beautiful scenery at Point Reyes National Seashore.
Fall is another exciting time to visit Point Reyes National Seashore for birdwatching. Specific weather patterns and conditions trigger an incredible range of migratory land birds. The migration at this time can be dramatic, and you’ll find a whole host of new species at this unique sanctuary. During the fall migration, you may also see rare birds that are not found anywhere else in the USA. Common warblers like Townsend’s and Yellow are also frequent residents, but you can also find some surprise species from other parts of the continent.
The area is home to tule elk, which were reintroduced to the Point Reyes National Seashore in 2009. By 2009, the number of tule elk was over 400. If you’re lucky, you’ll even see a gray whale, pupping elephant seals, and whales! But the real draw to this area is the variety of birds it supports.
Mount Desert Island
Mount Desert Island, Maine, is one of the top birdwatching destinations for a variety of reasons. It is the largest island off the coast of Maine, and its natural beauty is unparalleled. Its history dates back to the Abenaki Indians, who first settled the island some 5000 to ten thousand years ago. It was only later that the French discovered Mount Desert Island, and in the mid-19th century, the Hudson River School of painters began making regular pilgrimages to the island. Their awe-inspiring paintings of the island brought the island’s beauty to the world’s attention.
The island has numerous off-shore areas for birders to enjoy, such as the Schoodic Peninsula. Off-shore birdwatchers will find common pelagic species, such as Common Murre, Black Guillemot, and Atlantic Puffin. The park contains one of the only fjords in eastern North America. Throughout the year, more than three hundred species of birds make Mount Desert Island their home.
Acadia National Park has several habitats for birds, including rocky cliffs, quiet ponds, and forests. Over three hundred species of birds have been recorded in the park, including bald eagles, white-throated sparrows, and a variety of warblers. This is a prime birdwatching destination, especially during migration season.
While you are on Mount Desert Island, don’t miss the Abbe Museum, which showcases the rich history and culture of the native people of the region. The museum is located in the former St. Edward’s Convent on Ledgelawn Avenue, an architecturally stunning building. There is also a specialized museum for Maine’s native people, which can help you identify and study the birds you encounter.