Buffalo Bayou Loop

More Information:

Sam Houston Park
UTC 088

This site is open for day use only.

Enjoy downtown Houston birding at Sam Houston Park (across from the Texaco Heritage Plaza at 1100 Bagby). During migration, many landbirds become disoriented as they pass in and around the tall buildings in the downtown area. These confused migrants search out pockets of suitable habitat. This 19-acre urban park, with its mature oaks and pecans, native plant gardens, and freshwater wetlands offers refuge among the skyscrapers. The oaks around city hall are also worth checking during the spring.


Latitude: 29.75953
Longitude: -95.37086

Buffalo Bayou Park
UTC 089

This site is open for day use only.

From Sam Houston Park, go west on Allen Pkwy. Buffalo Bayou Park extends from downtown Houston west to Shepherd Dr.

Houston is renovating the downtown section of Buffalo Bayou around Allen's Landing, and this entire stretch of the bayou should be increasingly hospitable. A hike-and-bike trail borders the bayou, and the riparian woodlands along the bayou attract migrants.


Latitude: 29.76
Longitude: -95.37683

White Oak Park
UTC 090

This site is open for day use only.

From the intersection of Allen Pkwy. and Shepherd, return east toward downtown Houston on Memorial Dr. Exit to Houston Ave., and go north to White Oak Dr. Proceed north on White Oak Dr. to White Oak Park. Citizens in this community have cleaned portions of White Oak Bayou here, and in doing so restored a swamp where Yellow-crowned Night-Herons and Green Herons nest. A number of eastern woodland species reside in the park. Stude and Woodland parks (both adjacent to White Oak Park) are also worth a brief visit.

Latitude: 29.78022
Longitude: -95.3725

Hermann Park/Houston Zoo
UTC 091

This site is open for day use only.

Return on Houston Ave. to Memorial Dr. Go east on Memorial Dr. to downtown Houston (Memorial will become Rusk Ave.) and Fannin St. Proceed southwest on Fannin St. to Hermann Park and the Houston Zoological Gardens (1513 N. MacGregor in Hermann Park). The Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Burke Baker Planetarium, the Wortham IMAX Theatre, and the Cockrell Butterfly Center are all located in this complex.

Hermann Park borders Rice University and the Texas Medical Center, and is within a short walking distance of both. The Houston Zoological Gardens contain a "tropical bird house resembling Asian jungle with more than 200 exotic birds flying freely through aviary rain forest." More importantly, this zoo supports a world-famous captive-breeding program for endangered birds. In recent years, Attwater Prairie-Chickens have been reared at this location. A number of eastern woodland birds, including Red-headed Woodpecker, may be seen in Hermann Park (particularly around Miller Theatre). During winter, check the lakes in the park for Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, and Greater and Lesser Scaup among the domestic waterfowl.

Latitude: 29.72231
Longitude: -95.39153

Nature Discovery Center (Russ Pitman Park)
UTC 092

This site is open for day use only.

Located at 7112 Newcastle, between Bellaire Blvd. and Beechnut St. in Bellaire, TX, the park is easily accessible from the 610 loop West. From 610 West, exit Bellaire Blvd., go East on Bellaire, and then turn right on Newcastle St. The Nature Discovery Center is in Russ Pitman Park on your right.

This small urban Nature Center in the heart of the city is a green oasis that attracts migratory and wintering birds. Birds nesting in the park include Chimney Swift, Eastern Screech Owl, woodpeckers and Cooper’s Hawk, as well as other resident birds. The park is filled with a wide variety of native trees and wildflowers, and has small ponds and water features.

In the winter, hummingbird feeders and winter blooming wildflowers attract Rufous and Black-chinned Hummingbirds, and some years may attract uncommon hummingbirds for the Gulf Coast, like Calliope, Allen’s and Broad-tailed.

Migratory wintering birds include Northern Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Pine Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler and flocks of Cedar Waxwing. During spring and fall migration, you may encounter many species of warblers, orioles, tanagers, buntings, flycatchers and thrushes, along with other neo-tropical migrants. Some notable recurring spring/fall migrants include Canada, Cerulean, Mourning and Golden-winged Warblers, as well as Painted and Indigo Buntings. Swainson’s Warbler, considered an accidental, has occurred rarely in recent years, as well.

(713) 667-6550

Latitude: 29.69878
Longitude: -95.45122

Willow Waterhole Greenway
UTC 092A

This site is open for day use only.

Located at 5300 Dryad Dr., Houston, TX 77035. From 1-610 W, take the S. Post Oak Rd. exit, travel 1/4 mile and exit W. Bellfort. Turn right on W. Bellfort and travel 1.5 miles to Chimney Rock Rd. Turn left on Chimney Rock Rd. and travel one mile to Dryad Dr. Turn left on Dryad for 1/2 mile to entrance of the Greenway. 

Willow Waterhole offers birding opportunities throughout the year in this 291 acre park, with over 200 species of birds having been observed. The greenway includes six wet bottom detention ponds that are stocked with bass, catfish and sunfish, as well as a greenbelt walkway that offers several viewpoints to observe birds and wildlife. Canoes and kayaks are welcome.


eBird Hotspot: https://ebird.org/tx/hotspot/L390915

Latitude: 29.6487
Longitude: -95.4727

Houston Arboretum and Memorial Park
UTC 093

This site is open for day use only.

Continue west on Evergreen to Loop 610, then go north on Loop 610 to the Woodway exit. Proceed east on Woodway to the Houston Arboretum and Memorial Park.

Nature trails that originate at the Arboretum center eventually reach the banks of Buffalo Bayou. These mixed pine/oak woodlands, fenced in by urban sprawl from all directions, still support a diverse population of eastern woodland birds. Pine, Swainson's, Kentucky, and Hooded warblers breed within this park. In late winter, American Woodcocks (a rare breeder on the upper coast) have displayed here. Watch for Mississippi Kites feeding on dragonflies as they skim the treetops along Buffalo Bayou in late August and early September.

Latitude: 29.76661
Longitude: -95.45503

West 11th Street Park
UTC 093A

This site is open for day use only.

Head north on the I-610 service road and take I-10 to the east. Exit 765A off of I-10 onto TC Jester Blvd. Head north on TC Jester to West 11th St. and turn left. Take a right onto Shirkmere Rd. and the park trail head will be on your right.

This beautiful 20.2-acre wilderness is the largest remaining native Texas forest inside the 610 Loop. With over 1,800 mature trees, a rapidly growing and diverse understory, and 1.5 miles of wooded trails, the park is a haven for wildlife for those seeking a break from the urban landscape. Six species of woodpecker can be found here, as well as many nesting birds. The butterfly garden is a great spot to view wildlife.


Latitude: 29.79062
Longitude: -95.42542