State Parks Birding

Boys birding silhouetted against the skyBelow are some highlights of the great birding you'll find in your state parks. 

Big Bend Country

Davis Mountains State Park

Birders flock to this Trans-Pecos park to look for the rare Montezuma Quail, which is a year-round resident. Other resident species include the Acorn Woodpecker, Western Scrub-Jay, Bushtit, Curve-billed Thrasher, Canyon Towhee and Rufous-crowned Sparrow. The threatened Common Black-Hawk nests along Limpia Creek near the park from March to September.

Big Bend Ranch State Park

Diverse ecosystems of desert, river corridor, canyon and spring areas attract 400 bird species here. Migratory songbirds such as cuckoos, tanagers, orioles and hummingbirds pass through the park’s wooded and moist canyons. Resident wrens and sparrows share the region with water birds such as herons. Occasionally rare shore birds visit. A variety of owls and two species of nighthawk provide 24-hour birding. The park features two world-class wildlife and bird viewing blinds.

Panhandle Plains

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

wildlife watching thumb


At this popular Panhandle park, expect to be serenaded by Rock and Canyon Wrens along the cliffs. In the woodlands along the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers are easy to find. The summer chorus from the cottonwoods along the river includes the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Blue Grosbeak and Bullock's Oriole, along with a host of resident species.

San Angelo State Park

Over 300 species of birds either live in or migrate through this park, which is located at the juncture of four ecological zones. Use the birding/wildlife blind or walk under the pecan trees along the North Concho River.

Hill Country

Kickapoo Cavern State Park

Black-capped vireos are a highlight at this park, which is northeast of Del Rio. This species arrives in late March for nesting and departs in mid-September. Look for its cousin, the Gray Vireo,  during the nesting season. Cave Swallows are abundant at Stuart Bat Cave, while several "borderland specialties" - including the Zone-tailed Hawk, Elf Owl, Vermilion Flycatcher, Varied Bunting and Hooded Oriole - appear regularly.

Prairies and Lakes

Fort Parker State Park

Surrounded by woodlands, this park offers habitats for water birds and forest birds. Red-headed Woodpeckers are easy to find year-round. Among the rafts of wood ducks on the lake, look for Anhinga, a large, dark water bird with a long, loosely-jointed tail. A variety of herons and egrets use the trees surrounding the lake, especially Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night Herons.


Caddo Lake State Park

A spring and summer chorus of Prothonotary and Yellow-throated Warblers along the tree-lined canals characterizes this birding spot. Mature floodplain woodlands and cypress-lined waterways with thickets provide food and shelter for typical Northeast Texas birds. A silent canoe ride through the maze of canals will reveal many Wood Ducks, along with a variety of other waterfowl, herons and egrets.

Gulf Coast

Goose Island State Park

More than 20 species of warblers can be found in a single day at this park. Flycatchers, vireos, tanagers, buntings and orioles live in the oak woodlands.

Sea Rim State Park

This is a great place to see a wide variety of bird species. Enjoy wildlife-viewing and bird-watching on the Gambusia Nature Trail Boardwalk, which extends into the marsh.

South Texas Plains

World Birding Center

birding thumbnailThree state parks and six municipal sites make up the World Birding Center. This is a series of sites in South Texas dedicated to bird conservation, land restoration and visitor experience. A number of tropical species found nowhere else in the United States reach the northern limits of their range in the Rio Grande Valley. Sought-after birds include Chachalacas, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls, Red-billed and White-tipped Pigeons, Buff-bellied Hummingbirds, Northern Bearded Tyrannulets, Great Kiskadee, Rose-throated Becards, Green Jays, Clay-colored Thrush, Blue Buntings and Altamira Orioles.

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park

(part of the World Birding Center)

One of the top birding destinations in the country, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in deep South Texas deserves its status as headquarters of the World Birding Center. Birders across the nation know Bentsen as a treasure trove of "Valley specialties," tropical birds found nowhere else in the United States. The 760-acre Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, together with over 1,700 acres of adjoining U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge tracts, promises a year-round nature adventure in the richest birding area north of the Mexican border.

Estero Llano Grande State Park

(part of the World Birding Center)

At the geographic center of the World Birding Center network, Estero Llano Grande in Weslaco attracts a spectacular array of South Texas wildlife with its varied landscape of shallow lake, woodlands and thorn forest. Even beginning birders and nature lovers will enjoy exploring this 230-plus-acre refuge.

Resaca de la Palma

(part of the World Birding Center)

Brownsville's Resaca de la Palma boasts the largest tract of native habitat in the World Birding Center network. Etched by ancient curves of the Rio Grande, its 1,200 semi-tropical acres provide a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of an international urban center only a few miles away. 

Birding Blinds

From observation platforms to enclosed shelters and traditional birding blinds, these parks offer optimal perches to experience some of the best birding in Texas.