East Texas Birds, Birding, and Bird Watching

East Texas birds, birding, birdwatching

We love bird watching, and East Texas is a great place for that interest!

Although the Texas Gulf Coast remains prime bird watching territory, our mild winters in East Texas provide great opportunities to watch winter migrants. The Texas Bird Records Committee has recognized 636 species as Texas Birds.

Birding fulfills many of our basic criteria for what makes for good outdoor recreation. Birds appeal to our sense of beauty, their colors and plumages dazzling to the eye. You don't have to be rich to be a birder, maybe only have a pair of binoculars on hand. And you don't have to travel far, as there are usually many species to be seen in your own backyard.

East Texas Birding Venues

There are lots of birding venues in the area, including Tyler State Park, Lake Tyler and Camp Tyler, and Lake Palestine.

More than 220 species have been recorded at Camp Tyler, and many birds that are rare in east Texas have put in brief appearances here, including Roseate Spoonbill, Cinnamon Teal, Crested Caracara, Peregrine Falcon, White-winged Dove, Golden-winged, Palm, Cerulean, Worm-eating, and Swainson's Warblers, Blackpoll, Lazuli Bunting, American Tree Sparrow, and Smith's Longspur.

In winter, the grassy areas and shrubbery are excellent for sparrows.

The Mineola Nature Preserve was dedicated in March of 2011, and built at a cost of $1 million. This beautiful location consists of 2,911 acres on Loop 564 along the Sabine River, and has facilities including wetlands, numerous hiking and equestrian trails, bee hives, extraordinary bird-watching, and more for the outdoor enthusiast.

More than a dozen man-made ponds are located on the property as well as walking trails and pavilions.

The preserve is open daily, from 7 a.m. to sunset. It is home to 193 species of birds, wildlife, buffalo and longhorn cattle. Pullen Pond at the preserve includes water habitats and outdoor classrooms that can be used as teaching opportunities: small ponds, waterfalls and dams, a running stream, wetlands, and deep water and shallow water concepts.

Other popular East Texas sites include Faulkner Park, Lake Fork, the Mineola Nature Preserve, Old Sabine Bottoms WMA, Lake Bob Sandlin, along Toledo Bend Reservoir, and Caddo Lake.

East Texas Bird Species

We see, and hear, a variety of species in East Texas:

Cardinal
Kestrel
Blue Jay
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
Carolina Wren
Brown Headed Cowbird
Carolina Chickadee
Pileated Woodpecker
Brown Thrasher
Roadrunner
House Sparrow
Summer Tanager
White Throated Sparrow
Yellow-Breasted Chat
Tufted Titmouse
Yellow Rump Warbler
Red Bellied Woodpecker
Nuthatch
Downy Woodpecker
Pine Siskin
Flicker
Pine Warbler
Goldfinch
Chuck Wills Widow
Dark Eyed Junco
Baltimore Oriole
Ruby Crowned Kinglet
House Finch
Red Tailed Hawk
Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
Robin
Cedar Waxwing
Crow
Indigo Bunting
Eastern Bluebird
Painted Bunting
Great Blue Heron
Blackbird
Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Mourning Dove
Eastern Phoebe
Mockingbird

Bird Guides and Resources

Some of our favorite birding guides and bird reference books include the following:

  • Field Guide to the Birds of North America, by National Geographic
  • All the Birds of North America, by the American Bird Conservancy
  • North American Birdfeeder Handbook
  • Peterson Field Guide of Eastern Birds
  • Golden Field Identification of the Birds of North America

There are hundreds of excellent websites devoted to birding, but some of our favorites, and highly recommended, include the Tyler Audubon Society, the Texas Ornithological Society, and the American Birding Association.

For our supplies, we often visit Rubicon International in Flint.

Rubicon also offers periodic classes on owls, bluebirds, hummingbirds, and bird photography. We've attended the classes, and highly recommend these learning experiences from noted Texas birding experts. We've enjoyed conferences there given by Clifford Shackleford, the author of the widely distributed and well known book "Hummingbirds of Texas".

Shown here are a few quick favorites of some recent sightings ... we'll get more posted from our archives shortly ... so visit again soon. And be sure to view our section on East Texas Hummingbirds and the East Texas Butterfly Photo Gallery.


 

Male Cardinal, head on view ... Tyler, Texas
Male Cardinal, head on view ... Tyler, Texas

Male Cardinal, up close and personal ... Tyler, Texas
Male Cardinal, up close and personal ... Tyler, Texas

Female Cardinal, feeding in winter... Tyler, Texas
Female Cardinal, feeding in winter... Tyler, Texas

Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler

Goldfinch in the Feeder ... Tyler Texas, January 2014
Goldfinch in the Feeder ... Tyler Texas, January 2014

The classic view of the Titmouse ... Tyler Texas, January 2014
The classic view of the Titmouse ... Tyler Texas, January 2014

Carolina Chickadee in East Texas
Carolina Chickadee in East Texas

Junco in East Texas ... always glad to see this winter migrant!
Junco in East Texas ... always glad to see this winter migrant!

Male House Finch
Male House Finch

White Throated Sparrow ... a familiar winter migrant to East Texas
White Throated Sparrow ... a familiar winter migrant to East Texas

Mourning Dove, up close, in East Texas
Mourning Dove, up close, in East Texas

A questioning sparrow, in East Texas
A questioning sparrow, in East Texas

Pileated Woodpecker in East Texas
Pileated Woodpecker in East Texas

Pileated Woodpecker in East Texas ... Watch the video on YouTube

 

Texas Roadrunner
Texas Roadrunner

Texas Bluejay
Texas Blue Jay

Bluebirds on a Birdbath
Bluebirds in East Texas

Hummingbirds grouped on crowded feeder
photo of Hummingbirds grouped on crowded feeder

Texas Hummingbird Frenzy ... Watch the video on YouTube

Red Bellied Woodpecker, with Downy Woodpecker
Red Bellied Woodpecker, with Downy Woodpecker

East Texas Photo Galleries

East Texas Birds
Hummingbirds
Butterflies
Flowers & Trees
Insects & Reptiles
Love's Lookout
Lee Daffodil Garden