Top Birding Destinations
Top 15 Birding Destinations in the United States & Canada
⇒ 1 Southeastern Arizona
There are more than twenty four noteworthy birding locations within the southeastern corner of Arizona. While it is near impossible to name all of the locations, the top four birding hotspots in southeastern Arizona include Cave Creek Canyon, Saguaro National Park, Patagonia-Sonoita, and Madera Canyon. Many green-headed, red-bellied, Elegant Trogonís have been spotted within Cave Creek Canyon. Birders are quite pleased with the bird species they discover while exploring the southeastern corner of Arizona such as Painted Redstarts, Mexican Jays, Gray Hawks, and over a dozen hummingbird species. The most opportune time of year to visit these birding locations are between April and September. You can contact the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory by phone at (520) 432-1388 and the Tucson Audubon Society by phone at (520) 622-5622.
⇒ 2 New Jersey - Cape May
The tip of southern New Jersey is remarkable for birding for countless reasons; warblers, fall and spring migration, hawk watching, horseshoe crab eggs being fed on by shorebirds, spring songbirds, winter waterfowl, as well as the crowd at Cape May Bird Observatory. Plus, Cape May has the largest pool of programs, Cape May Spring Weekend, the Birding World Series, the Hawkwatch, Cape May Fall Weekend and numerous additional opportunities to tag along on walks to listen and learn with friendly/helpful observatory staff. At Cape May birders can observe warblers, swallows, waterfowl, hawks, sparrows, wrens, as well as buntings. The finest time of the year to tour Cape May is between September and October during raptor migration and during May through June to view shorebirds. You can contact Cape May, New Jersey Cape May Bird Observatory Northwood Center by phone at (609) 884-2159, Cape May Point State Park by phone at (609) 884-2159, and the Center for Research and Education at (609) 861-0700.
⇒ 3 Florida - J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located off of the Florida Gulf Coast on Sanibel Island and is famous for the astounding wading birds. Over three hundred species of bird are attracted to the refugeís mangrove forests, mudflats, and freshwater habitats. Roseate Spoonbills, Mangrove Cuckoo, White Ibises, Wood Storks, and Reddish Egrets are all found within the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Over eight hundred thousand people visit the National Wildlife Refuge annually. The refugeís main attraction is Wildlife Drive, a one-way road lasting over five-miles. It is perfect for birders who can not walk long distances and love to view birds from the comfort of their own car. J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located twenty miles southwest of Fort Myers along the Gulf Coast of Florida. The most opportune time to visit the National Wildlife Refuge is during December until April. Feel free to contact J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge by phone at (239) 472-1100, the Naples Bird Club by phone at (941) 649-9754, and the Audubon Society of Southwest Florida by phone at (941) 339-8046.
⇒ 4 Florida - Everglades National Park
A fifty mile wide, six inch deep, river of grass known as the Everglades National Park is known as a birderís mecca. The Everglades are home to breathtaking vistas, remarkable birds, and an abundant birdwatching history. An Everglade National Park was born in 1947 for the main purpose of bird protection. Four hundred thousand birds have been documented within the Everglade National Park including Limpkin, Short-tailed Hawk, Greater Flamingo, Mangrove Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Anis, White-crowned Pigeons, and Snail Kites. Not to mention the Everglades backyard extends for over thirty miles into the Florida Keys. The best time to stopover at the southernmost tip of Florida is between December and April. The Audubon Society of the Everglades can be contacted at (561) 588-6908, while the Everglades National Park can be reached at (305) 242-7700.
⇒ 5 Florida - Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Located just South of Fort Myers is the National Audubon Societyís Corkscrew Sanctuary. This Sanctuary preserves the greatest amount of remaining virgin bald cypress. The sanctuary also features a boardwalk that ventures out for over two miles, an opportune location for birdwatching. Limpkins, Wood Storks, and Swallow-tailed Kites are all viewable from the boardwalk, while Swallow-tailed Kite, Songbirds, Red-shouldered Hawk, and waders are found throughout the Sanctuary. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is located in southwest Florida running sixteen miles to the east of Fort Myers Beach. Nest season is during March and april. Although, birding is great all year round at Corkscrew. You can contact Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary by phone at (239) 348-9151.
⇒ 6 Ontario - Point Pelee National Park
Jutting into Lake Erie, this six mile, narrow triangle, known as Point Pelee National Park makes for quite the unusual setting for animal and plant life. Point Pelee National Park is one of Canadaís most toured parks and has been labeled a globally influential bird area. The parks features include sandy beaches, freshwater marshes, cedar savannas, and deciduous forests. Many migrating birds cross paths at the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways at Point Pelee. Here, they often seek shelter after vast journeys over the Great Lake. It is said that on a highly active spring day at Point Pelee, one birder can record approximately two hundred different bird species. One day at this national park can include 620 Nashville Warblers, 1,400 Baltimore Orioles, 3,000 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and 5,000 Golden-Crowned Kinglets. Numerous birders agree that this is a must-see park. Who would not want to wake up at their campground to the sounds of songbirds? Plus, the crowd outnumbers non-birders one hundred to one, serious birders are right in their element at Point Pelee National Park. Come visit the park in May to view many shorebirds as well as songbirds and visit the park in Fall to witness the great hawk migration. Almost thirty six species of warblers are viewed annually. Contact Point Pelee National Park by phone at (519) 322-2365 or assisting Point Pelee supports at (519) 326-6173.
⇒ 7 California - Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore is located on a Peninsula that cuts into the Pacific Ocean just north of San Francisco. This seventy thousand acre national seashore attraction is home to a variety of birdlife. There are over four hundred and sixty recorded species of bird at Point Reyes, which is virtually half of the unified total of North America. Point Reyes is known as a haven for birds due to its many natural shelters including coastal scrub, saltwater estuaries, coniferous forests, riparian corridors, and freshwater wetlands. It does not matter if you visit Point Reyes during the fall or spring, for each have their own set of migrants. Plus, year round there are about one hundred and twenty nesting species. It is possible to view Horned Puffins, Connecticut Warblers, as well as Black-throated Blue Warblers. At Point Reyes National Seashore you are never quite sure what you are going to get but the birds never cease to amaze. Another great benefit of this national seashore is the southern end Palomarin Field Station. Over ten thousand people attend the Palomarin Field Station environmental education program each year. It is the oldest bird observatory in the nation and is apart of the PRBO Conservation Science brand. You can contact the PRBO Conservation Science center by phone at (415) 868-1221 or the Point Reyes National Seashore by phone at (415) 464-5100.
⇒ 8 New Mexico - Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is a desert oasis located in central New Mexico. This refuge is known for their annual winter bird migration of Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes. However, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refugeís thirty thousand miles of breathtaking wilderness is a wonderful birding location all year long featuring Lesser Snow Goose, Sandhill Crane, Rossís Goose, and Gambelís Quail. The refuge is surrounded by the Magdalenas and Chupadera Mountains in the Chihuahuan with the Rio Grande floodplain nearby. The refuge is most popular for their Festival of Cranes in November. Many people from across the globe travel to take part in the four day festival. The most opportune time to visit the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is between December and March. You can contact Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (505) 835-1828.
⇒ 9 Ohio - Crane Creek Park, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Magee Marsh Wildlife Area
Together the Crane Creek State Park, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, and connecting Magee Marsh Wildlife Area envelop a great portion of Ohioís birding areas. There are many birding hot spots that run along the coast of Lake Erie. Here you can witness the waterfowl migration, Bald Eagles, warbles, sparrows, Green Heron, Tundra Swan, Trumpeter Swan and shorebirds. Plus, the marshes are buzzing with wildlife including mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and wildflowers. Come visit these beautiful bird sanctuaries during the months of April and may as well as January through July. Contact the Crane Creek State Park by phone at (419) 836-7758, the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge at (419) 898-0014, and Magee Marsh Wildlife Area at (419) 898-0960.
⇒ 10 California - Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay is located along the California Coast and stretches out over a thirty mile radius. People favor Monterey Bay during the winter months because of the mild climate and one of a kind habit that makes it an ideal location for wintering birds to frequent. On the north side of the bay, birders have recorded over one hundred different bird species in one day. There are additional state parks throughout the bay that provide choice birding areas. The Natural Bridges State Park features a variety of seabirds, The Moss Landing State Park features many different shorebirds, The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park is great for spotting woodland species, and the Elkhorn Slough, the West Coastís largest wetland attracts numerous species of water birds including murres, scoters, cormorants, grebes, and many many more. A big draw are the Pelagic trips that feature auklets, albatross, shearwaters, murrelets, storm-petrels as well as countless deep-water species that visit the Elkhorn Slough shore. People tend to visit Monterey Bay throughout October until April when the most diverse species tend to visit. You can contact the Monterey Peninsula Audubon Societyís board secretary, Carol Anderson by phone at (831) 663-0667, the Moss Landing Chamber of Commerce at (831) 633-4501, and the Elkhorn Slough Foundation and Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve at (831) 728-2822.
⇒ 11 Texas - Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge spreads out over two thousand acres is located in the lower Rio Grande Valley. The refuge is home to a variety of birdlife including rarities due to its ecological crossroad of a subtropical climate mixed with Chihuahuan desert, Gulf Coast, and Great Plains. The Mississippi and Central flyways tend to funnel birds that are on their way from and to South and Central America. There are many trails along the seven mile Wildlife drive for birders to enjoy. Green Jays, Plain Chachalacas, Hook-billed Kite, Rufous Hummingbirds, whistling ducks, songbirds, Mexican vagrants and Gray Hawks are often seen in the Wildlife Refuge. Two rare species of birds that have been spotted within the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge are the Clay-colored Robin and the Tropical Parula. Plus, the raptor migration is truly a sight to see. The best time to visit the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is between fall and spring favoring April and May. You can contact the Santa Ana NWR by phone at (956) 784-7500, World Birding Center at (956) 584-9156, and the Friends of the Wildlife Corridor at (956) 783-6117.
⇒ 12 Texas - Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is located within southwest Texas. It is the most remote birding area in recognition today. In order to arrive at this location one must drive numerous hours outside out San Antonio and El Paso, Texas. Birders claim the long drive is worth the time spent. Not only is the birding spectacular but the scenic drive of Chihuahuan Desert, and Chisos Mountains is a sight to behold. Big Bend National Park is home to a variety of bird species which includes Pyrrhuloxias, Vermilion Flycatchers, Lucifer Hummingbirds, Buntings, Common Black-Hawks, Colima Warblers, Montezuma Quail, and four hundred and fifty additional species. The Boot Canyon nine mile hike is the experience hiker favorite where many Colima Warblers have been found. Big Bend National Park is best to visit in August, October, April, and May. You can get in touch with the Big Bend National History Association by phone at (915) 477-2236 and the Big Bend National Park at (915) 477-2251.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, located in central Pennsylvania is home to southbound eagles and hawks as migrating raptors in autumn. In the 1930s, the annual hawk slaughter finally came to an end after conservationist came together and purchased the land. Thus, founding the sanctuary and marking it as a historic site. This event was truly a conservation victory. Over twenty thousand birds fly over the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary each year including falcons, passerines, kestrels, and many more southbound migrating species. Premium birding can be viewed in September throughout October. Contact the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary by phone at (610) 756-6961.
The Acadia National Park is composed of Schoodic Peninsula, Mount Desert Island, Isle au Haut, and numerous small islands complete with tidal pools, lakes, streams, jagged shorelines, and woodlands. Over three hundred and twenty species of birds come to visit the park annually. There are also many carriage, biking, and hiking trails for birders to frequent. Birders can often spot Peregrine Falcons, Warblers, Osprey, and Bald Eagles at the Acadia National Park. One also has the option of whale-watching off of Bar Harbor. Many birders have seen Black Guillemots, Sooty Shearwaters, and Storm-Petrels. Back on the shore one can witness White-throated Sparrow, Common Eider, Black Guillemot, Atlantic Puffin, Common Loon and over twenty one species of nesting Warbler. Visit Acadia National Park in the summer and spring to view songbirds as well as the winter to view seabirds and waterfowl. You can contact the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce by phone at (207) 288-5103 and the Acadia National Park at (207) 288-3338.
⇒ 15 New York - Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Located near the JFK International Airport, the Jamaica Wildlife Refuge, yields around three hundred and thirty bird species as well as seventy two nesting species. The refuge has recently been named an important global birding area designation due to its premium location and accommodating staff. This green oasis stretches over twenty miles in the center of Metropolitan New York. It is home to an array of bird species as well as turtles, butterflies, mammals, and many other critters. It is a New Yorkers nature retreat. More than six hundred Snow Geese visit the refuge every winter. Other birds recorded in this refuge include Brant, Tricolored Heron, Clapper Rail, Eurasian Wigeon, Warblers, Shorebirds, and Owls. This birding location is accessible to all, especially birders on a tight budget. The refuge is perfect to visit all year long but migration occurs in April and May, while fall brings beautiful shorebirds. The Jamaica Bay Wildlife refuge can be reached by phone at (718) 318-4340, the Linnaean Society of New York at (212) 252-2668, and the New York City Audubon Society/Gateway National Recreation Area at (212) 691-7483.