Birding across the South

Birding across the South

Posted by Jennifer Frazier on January 4, 2016

The South provides the perfect setting for bird watchers. Grab your binoculars and check out some of these places where Mother Nature has provided a true scavenger hunt for some of the prettiest fowl.

Note: Always check hours and openings, as many parks and outdoor spaces close due to seasonality and weather.

1. The South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center

South Padre Island Bird Watching Boardwalk

South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center has more than 3300 feet of bayfront boardwalks. / Photo courtesy of South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center

Where: South Padre Island, Texas

What: In the Lone Star State, this is where you want to go birding. Known as the Rio Grande Valley's premier destination for birdwatching, find five bird blinds, more than 3,300 feet of bayfront boardwalks, birding tours and a gift shop. Plus, there is an auditorium showing a short Richard Moore documentary movie about the wildlife of South Padre Island; a five-story tower with spectacular views of Laguna Madr; the beaches & dunes of South Padre Island; the Gulf of Mexico; and the South Padre Island Skyline.

How much: Admission is $6 for adults; $5 for students age 13-18 and seniors age 55 and older; and $3 for children age 4 to 12. Children under age 4 get in for free.

Information: 6801 Padre Boulevard, South Padre Island, TX 78597.

Information: Call 956-761-6801 or visit

2. Alabama Birding Trails

James D. Martin Wildlife Park

This beautiful photo was captured in James D. Martin Wildlife Park in Gadsden, Alabama. / Photo courtesy of Joe Watts

Where: Alabama (see website for specific locations, as well as maps)

What: Get to Alabama and you can find a great place to bird watch almost anywhere in the state. With 270 sites covering Alabama from the swamps of South Alabama to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, public watching sites are easy to find. In fact, more than 430 different bird species have been spotted in the state.

How much: Pending location


3. America's Wetland Birding Trail

Where: Throughout Louisiana

What: Through field of cotton, gator-filled swamps and deep pine forests, bird watchers will find a haven in Louisiana. The America's Wetland Birding Trail, made up of 115 bird watching sites crossing through 22 Louisiana parishes along the Louisiana Great Gulf Coast, outlines the best bird watching in the state.

How much: Pending location


4. Everglades & Dry Tortugas National Park

flamingoes photographed in Everglades National Park

Flamingoes wading through shallow water at Everglades & Dry Tortugas National Park. / Photo courtesy of Everglades & Dry Tortugas National Park


Where: Homestead, Florida (about an hour south of Miami)

What: More than 1 million people visit this park, which is the second largest national park in the contiguous United States, per year. Clearly, it’s a nature lover’s gem. Birding in the Florida Everglades is some of the best in the country, seeing that you might see as many as 300 bird species. Birding season peaks from December to March, offering views of shorebirds, sandpipers, ospreys, egrets, pelicans and bald eagles.

How much: $20 for a private vehicle; $15 for a motorcycle; and $8 per pedestrian. Passes are extended depending on which one you choose and senior rates are available.

Information: (305) 242-7700 or

5. Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge

Bird watching in Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge

Egrets and herons feed in the shallows of Sandy Creek in Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge. / Photo courtesy of Joe Blackburn.


Where: Tishomingo, Oklahoma

What: This is no new bird-watching spot. The Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1946 for migratory waterfowl in the Central Flyway. This 16,464-acre refuge offers of hiking, nature trails, hunting and fishing from dawn to dusk. Plus, the Cumberland Pool makes up a quarter of the refuge and is a great place for wildlife watching. Due to the recent harsh rains, the refuge has been closed on and off. Please call before visiting to ensure it is open, as the weather has required closure when it normally is open.

How much: Free Admission

Information: (580) 371-2402 or


A tricolored heron photographed at Everglades & Dry Tortugas National Park. / Photo courtesy of Everglades & Dry Tortugas National Park


Vacationing is one thing, but living among beautiful birds is another. If you're looking for land to live in your own bird sanctuary, take a look at rural land for sale throughout the South in Florida, Georgia and Texas on the Raydient Places + Properties website. Raydient is Rethink:Rural's parent company.

Photo at top of article courtesy of Everglades & Dry Tortugas National Park.

Jennifer Frazier

After 10 years as a travel writer for Southern Living Magazine, Jen Frazier traded in the corporate world to stay home with her two children, three dogs and three hermit crabs.

Now she juggles carpool and laundry with writing for the Great American Country website, AAA Texas Journey Magazine and Texas Monthly Magazine, as well as blogging for While she lives in the big metropolis of Dallas, she longs for weekends in the country. To learn more about this award-winning writer (recipient of the Barbara Jordan Award and the Luce Award), visit her website at

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