Not only is Galveston Island a playground for young and old alike, but it is also a playground for a gorgeous variety of birds! Just this year, the Audubon Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department designated Galveston as a certified Bird City Texas community. It is one of the best bird-watching areas in Texas.
Bird City Texas is an organization focused on helping to protect the birds that call Texas their home, as well as protecting their habitat. Their research has found that bird-friendly environments help increase property values, controls the insect population, and generates tourism dollars.
The recent certification of Galveston speaks to the community-wide effort to recognize the importance of bird conservation and leads the way through education and preservation. Whether or not you are an avid bird watcher, no one can deny that the glorious display of birds all around the area makes for a pretty awesome spectacle.
Galveston sits astride the 95th meridian. What does this mean? It means that Galveston is smack dab in the center of the trans-Gulf migration route. Birds migrate through this area en route to or from Central and South America. They go north in the spring, then back down south in the autumn.
Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail
This is a vast system of trails, bird sanctuaries, and nature preserves along the entire length of the Texas Gulf Coast. In fact, Texas hosts more bird species than any other state in the U.S. The trail system offers up some of the most unique opportunities for bird-watching in the world. It includes a total of 308 birding sites, and Galveston is part of this extensive “trail”. Check this website for a complete map.
Galveston Island is also home to many common year-round species, and each seeks their favorite habitats, whether that be beaches, wetlands, woods, grasslands, ponds, or bays. Explore the watery types of areas and you will find egrets, ducks, geese, grebs, loons, cormorants, and pelicans. In the coastal prairies, you will find osprey, owls, falcons, hawks, and other birds of prey. Migratory birds include Indigo Bunting, Baltimore Oriole, and Sarlet Tanager in the Spring, and Sandhill Cranes, among others, in the fall.
And that’s just the beginning.
Birds such as Black Skimmer and American Oystercatcher can be seen. Magnificent Frigatebirds and Reddish Egrets are plenty in the summer months. In the winter, see Scissor-tailed and Vermillion Flycatchers, Crested Caracara, and White-tailed Kite, among others. Galveston Island State Park is a prime location, and has two observation towers, with miles of trails.
Other major birding spots are Corps Woods Nature Sanctuary, 8-Mile/Sportsman’s Road, Settegast (Nottingham Ranch) Road, and Lafitte’s Cove Nature Preserve.
Go HERE for a handy map of Galveston Island showing the best bird-watching locations. If you are an avid bird watcher, you’ve come to the best place in Texas. If you aren’t, Galveston will surely make you one!