Discover the best 5 spots for birding in Texas! We walk you through the best bird watching in Texas, from the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail to Austin, TX.
Whether you’re on the prowl for a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl or just scanning local avian baths, birding in Texas is a great way to have fun and commune with nature.
Birds are everywhere. No matter where you are in the world (with some obvious, sub-zero exceptions, of course), there are different kinds of birds to identify and observe. And in Texas, where everything is touted as being bigger anyway, the array of different bird species is beyond vast.
Texas is a birder’s paradise, with more birds than you could ever hope to count, ranging from the common (ducks and geese) to the rarer (Whooping Cranes and Black Skimmers) species.
If watching graceful fliers soar across the skies is one of your favorite pastimes, then be sure to pencil in a Texas birding vacation.
Birding in TX: Top Five Spots
Texas is a big state—without doing your homework, you won’t be able to navigate the region very easily in search of the best birding sights. Sure, you may come across some excellent Texas birding spots here and there by chance, but you won’t know where the hotspots are.
That’s what we’re here for.
Grab your binoculars, your sightseeing equipment, some good boots, a dab or two of sunscreen, and come along! We’re going on a brief tour of the top five best places for bird watching in Texas.
1. Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail – This is a designated wildlife center that extends the entire length of the state’s Gulf Coast. It encompasses 43 different trails and holds a massive collection of bird species varieties. We’ll talk a little bit more about the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail in the following section.
2. World Birding Centers – There are nine different locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley, each with their own unique birding attractions. Some of the best bird watching in the region is done around these centers.
3. Big Bend National Park – With over 800,000 acres of land and 430 species of birds, this Rio Grande Valley hotspot is a destination for amateur and professional birders from across the country.
4. Galveston Island Birding – This great sightseeing spot attracts birds and birders from the whole Southwest. Visit the website for an Official Galveston Island Birding Brochure.
5. Aransas National Wildlife Refuge – Spring birding in Texas is never more beautiful and fulfilling than at this refuge, which plays a vital role in the survival of the endangered Whooping Crane.
Whether you’re looking to go birding in Austin, TX, along the Gulf Coast, or up near Oklahoma’s panhandle, you can be sure that you’ll have a great time spying on the Lonestar State’s natural wonders.
Focus on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail
Perhaps the best place for viewing Texas birds is the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail—and for a state with so many fantastic sightseeing spots, that’s saying a lot.
Whatever kind of Texan bird you like to keep an eye on, you’ll find it here. The system of 43 trails features 308 different birding sites, each with their own unique opportunities for viewing. Some of them have boardwalks, others have observation decks, and still others have hidden scouting areas to watch those birds who don’t like for people to get too close to them.
The trails combine for more than 2,100 miles of Texas bird viewing, so you’ll never get enough of this great sightseeing area.
While the trails have been used for several decades, it wasn’t an official birding location until the mid 1990’s, when the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, in conjunction with the American Birding Association, created what is now the Great Trail.
Some of the birds you might see as you walk down one of its many paths include:
- Laughing Gulls
- Horned Grebes
Birders need more bird watching supplies than just binoculars! Discover the best bird watching kits, identification supplies, birding vests & other accessories.
To have the best birding experience possible, you need more than just a pair of binoculars—you need a collection of bird watching supplies.
Binoculars may be the most important element in your grab-bag of birding equipment, but there are plenty of accessories that lend a helping hand to your ornithological outings. Some products are made to enhance the binocs themselves, others are designed to offer you more comfort in the wilds, and still others are meant to keep you safe and sound during your adventures.
Bird watching binoculars get you close to the action, but it is the accessories that make it worth your while to do so.
Binocular Kit for Birding in Texas
So, you have your great birding binocs in hand—what else should you have with you?
Let’s take a look at a variety of different bird watching supplies that may be in your best interest to have close by. It goes without saying that you won’t need all of these things all of the time, but you’ll certainly need some of them most of the time.
- Lens Caps – The last thing you need is to lose your lens caps in the middle of the woods. Pick up a pair of tethered caps and you can look at birds all day long without worrying about them getting accidentally left behind.
- Doubler – You’ll be looking at all kinds of birds in all kinds of places, so it’s a great idea to have a doubler handy. These nifty accessories attach to your eyepieces and double your device’s magnification.
- Cleaning Kit – Because you never know what sort of elements you’ll find yourself in and when your specs may need a good cleaning.
Other Bird Watching Accessories
- Flashlight – This is a must-have for all outdoor birding situations: finding your way home in the dark, seeing the forest floor when the sun is hiding behind the trees, and searching for broken egg shells among the pine needles.
- GPS – A great way to know where you are at all times, the global positioning system will also tell you where you’ve been and where you’re going.
- Compass – The old-school GPS unit—a compass is a must-have for any outdoor enthusiast.
There are, of course, many more pieces of bird watching equipment and bird identification accessories available, but these are some of the most basic and necessary. You may also find yourself down the line looking for a birding vest, binocular harness, or tripod mount. Don’t worry, this is just a sign that you’ve got the birding bug and can’t get enough. Welcome to the club!
Bird Watching Products: Reviews
It can be difficult to pick out the right bird watching supplies, especially if you’re new to the sport. To give you a leg up on the other newbies, here’s a look at a few of the best birding products you may want to get your hands on.
Zhumell Field Binoculars Harness ($12.98)
This very inexpensive product is a great way to reduce the strain on your neck while carrying your binocs along the birding trails. It’s suitable for all binoculars that feature a strap connection.
Vortex Tethered Lens Caps ($9.95)
For less than ten dollars, you can make sure your lenses always stay protected in the wilds. With tethered caps, you can spend less time worrying about losing them, and more time enjoying the soaring sights.
Celestron TrekGuide Digital Compass ($34.95)
Super easy to use—not to mention highly affordable—this Celestron-made digital compass is fantastic for any birding holidays. It features a standard directional compass, the altitude in both feet and meters, barometric pressure, and even weather forecasts.
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