The USA is home to many unique destinations that will make any birder’s heart sing. The United States is home to many great locations for birdwatching, with some known for the sheer number and diversity of birds. Many locations are important stopovers for migrating birds, and you can find some amazing avian sights in locations like Alaska, which is home to 530 different species.
Whether you want to see a Bald Eagle in flight or just see coastal birds, this country has something for every kind of birder. Read on for some of our favorite spots to spot birds. You’ll be glad you did. After all, the world is our backyard. So what are the Best Birdwatching Destinations in the USA?
The Seward Peninsula, one of the most scenic and accessible regions in the state, provides critical nesting habitat for more than 200 species of birds. Tourists have access to this area only during the spring and fall migration, when many of the local species are most active. In summer, however, it is common to see Long-tailed Jaeger and Arctic Terns. Birders are also able to enjoy quality birdwatching from the town’s beaches and wetlands.
If you are interested in viewing many species, it is important to book a tour with a guide. A tour guide will be able to arrange van transportation, as well as other logistics, to get you to the best birding spots. They can also introduce you to local birding experts, which will help you to find the best species in the area. Nome is considered one of the best birdwatching destinations in the USA, so it makes sense to take a trip to this northern town.
Mount Desert Island (Maine)
Known for its lighthouses, Mount Desert Island Maine is one of the best places to experience the world’s greatest birdwatching. Hundreds of species of birds call this island home, and you can view them all from a variety of habitats. The best times of year to visit are spring and summer, when songbirds are in abundance. If you are interested in viewing waterfowl, winter is also a great time to visit.
Local birds include Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, and Broad-winged Hawk. You can also spot Hermit Warbler and Calliope Hummingbird, which are rare in many areas of the country. You can also check out the Maine Coastal Ecology Center, which features exhibits and ongoing research about estuarine habitats. Visitors can also explore the island’s seven miles of trails, including the Salt Marsh Loop and the Forest Interpretive Trail. If you want to see some of the local birds, you can even take a look at the shorebirds from the vantage point of a spotting scope.
Grand Isle (Louisiana)
For those who love watching birds, Grand Isle is an excellent destination. The state park and bird watching preserves are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and the days before major holidays. For those who like to explore the local culture and nature, the state park and birding preserve offer a wide array of activities. For instance, you can visit the Louisiana State Museum and get a copy of its Birds of Louisiana.
If you are not a birdwatching fanatic, you may wish to spend some time on the beach. Shorebirds and terns can be easily seen in the dunes of Grand Isle. Brown pelicans and other raptors can also be seen in this place. The marshlands on Grand Isle offer an excellent habitat for wading birds such as great blue heron, little blue heron, and snowy egrets.
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
If you love birds, you can’t go wrong with the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, located in central New Mexico. This oasis is known as the winter home of Sandhill Cranes, and it offers incredible bird watching year-round. It is surrounded by the majestic Chupadera Mountains and Magdalenas Mountains and is a close neighbor to the Rio Grande River. Visitors can enjoy a festival of cranes every November, and the refuge is accessible for people of all abilities.
In the spring, you can find a variety of shorebirds feeding in the area’s wetlands. Hummingbirds, including the Rufous and Black-Chinned hummingbirds, are also prevalent. You can also see the Greater Roadrunner during this time of year. The refuge’s primary ways to explore the wetlands are through a 12-mile auto tour and multiple hiking trails. Before hiking, visitors can check out the Visitor Center to learn more about the different types of wildlife that inhabit the area.
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (Maryland)
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service manages the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. It features a scenic drive that runs through the refuge with plenty of places to pull over and explore. The Refuge is home to many species of birds, including egrets, osprey, woodpeckers, bald eagles, and wild turkeys. Other birds to see in Blackwater include warblers, vireos, and orioles.
The park features a variety of habitats for birdwatching, including wetlands, marshes, and forests. Birdwatchers can see more than 250 species of birds here. Other species include 35 species of reptiles, 165 species of threatened plants, and numerous mammals. One of the best spots to see a large number of Common Mergansers is in the open Blackwater River, which has fresh water from nearby forests.
Cave Creek Canyon (Arizona)
The Chiricahua Mountains are a biodiverse region of the U.S. that features more than five defined life zones. The mountains are home to 370 species of birds, 170 species of butterflies, hundreds of plant species, and 20 different types of mammals. According to the Southwestern Research Station, there are more than 325 documented species of birds in Cave Creek Canyon. Many of these birds can be seen only here, and in the summertime, there are 12 different species of hummingbirds to be seen.
If you are a true birder, you will be delighted by the variety of birds that nest in the shady riparian habitat along the South Fork. You will have the opportunity to see the elegant trogon, a crimson-chested bird with green-backed wings and iridescent copper tail. Other bird species you may see at this area include the critically endangered Rufous Hufflepen, the critically endangered Northern Paruline, and the threatened Yellow-bellied Warbler.
Monterey Bay (California)
The Monterey Bay is a popular destination for whale watching, sea otter spotting, and a world-class aquarium. Birders can also take guided boat tours and spot California condors and other species close to shore. If you’re visiting the bay for the first time, consider booking a tour with Monterey Seabirds. They run guided trips from mid-August to late October, and can help you find the best spots for the avian fauna.
The harbor is the perfect place for birdwatching. You can spot marine species, pelagic species, inshore species, and returning vagrants. A walk along Wharf #2 will give you an up-close look at the birds, which can be difficult to see from land. The area also has the Wild Bird Haven on Munras Street, which is an excellent place for photography.
Everglades National Park (Florida)
Known for its wildlife, the Everglades is one of the best places to spot birds. Guests can hike and birdwatch on the Anhinga Trail, which is just 0.8 miles long. Its shallow, salty water is the perfect habitat for many different species of aquatic birds, including the Anhinga. Other species that you may encounter include delinquent vultures and numerous alligators.
The Everglades are the best places to observe birds in the United States. The Everglades are home to over 350 different species of birds. The water areas in the park are home to countless species of birds, including the endangered Florida Panther and the West Indian Manatee. The park is also the most accessible of all birdwatching destinations in the USA, and visitors can enjoy boat tours that take them into the heart of the Everglades.
Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge (California)
This lake is a key stopover point for migrating waterfowl and includes four national wildlife refuges and thousands of acres of private farmland. The lake is a breeding ground for a variety of species, including ducks, pelicans, rails, and ibis. The refuge offers field hunts over harvested grains and an opportunity to view wildlife all year long.
While the region is renowned for its diverse landscape, its habitats are home to more than 250 species of birds. In the summer, you can see the Rufous-headed Duck, Ridgway’s Rail, and large-billed Savannah Sparrow. Winter visitors include the Snow Goose, Sandhill Crane, and Wood Stork. There are also 20 species of jaegers.
Denali National Park and Preserve (Alaska)
A trip to Denali National Park and Preserve is an amazing experience for anyone looking for incredible birding opportunities and a spectacular landscape. This park covers more than six million acres, making it one of the largest national parks in the country. A seven-day permit is required, and it costs about $15 per person. Under 15 years of age are free. You can explore this amazing park with the help of a guide.
The avifauna in Denali is diverse, and includes both migratory and resident species. The avifauna in Denali varies greatly depending on the season, increasing in the spring and declining in the autumn. During the summer months, you can see migratory birds, as well as pine grosbeaks and mixed flocks of ptarmigan. In the winter, though, the numbers are minimal. Winter months are ideal for watching hardy winter birds, such as owls and swallows.