East Texas Birds, Birding, and Bird Watching
We love bird watching, and East Texas is a great place for that interest! Birds appeal to our appreciation of diversity and beauty, and birdwatching provides a great opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.
Plus, you don't have to be rich to be a birder, as you only need a pair of binoculars, and possibly an identification guide and checklist.
Although the Texas Gulf Coast remains prime bird watching territory, our mild winters in East Texas provide great opportunities to watch winter migrants.
And year-round the diversity of the East Texas forests, lakes, beaches and wetlands provides a valuable habitat for permanent bird residents.
East Texas Birding Venues
The Texas Bird Records Committee has recognized 636 species as Texas Birds. But where are good birding sites, besides the backyard?
East Texas features many state parks, lakes, wildlife preserves, and arboretums that are great sites for birding. The various habitats, wetlands, hardwood forests and environments offer food and shelter for numerous species of songbirds and waterfowl.
For example, Caddo Lake State Park and Caddo Lake Wildlife Refuge near Marshall are home to more than 200 species of birds.
Caddo Lake is a 25,400 acres lake and wetland on the border between Texas and Louisiana, in northern Harrison County and southern Marion County in Texas and western Caddo Parish in Louisiana.
This lake was the only natural lake in Texas until it was artificially dammed in the early 1900s when oil was found and for flood control in 1914.
Tyler State Park
More than 220 species have been recorded at Camp Tyler, and many birds that are rare in east Texas have put in brief appearances there, 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.
The Mineola Nature Preserve 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.
Big Thicket National Preserve
The Mineola preserve 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.
The Big Thicket National Preserve near Kountze has over 112,000 acres of forests, creeks and rivers. The preserve supports a diversity of migratory songbirds such as hooded warblers and yellow-throated vireos, and resident brown-headed nuthatches, Bachman's sparrows and endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers.
Other popular East Texas sites include Lake Fork, Old Sabine Bottoms WMA, Lake Bob Sandlin, and Toledo Bend Reservoir. A wide array of East Texas State Parks provide a variety of birding environments, from dense forests to prairies to lakes and bayous.
Also, many birders frequent Lake O' the Pines, Bellwood Lake in west Tyler, the Jasper Fish Hatchery, and the Texas Fresh Water Fisheries in Athens.
Visit the website of the Tyler Audubon Society for more information on birding sites, field trips and species.
The City of Lufkin has produced a well done Deep East Texas Birding Guide which includes detailed maps and directions to over 40 birding locales in East Texas.
But you don't have to travel far to enjoy birdwatching as there are usually many species to be seen in your own backyard. All you have to do is hang a few bird feeders, setup bird houses and maybe Bluebird boxes ... you will have plenty of birds!
Common East Texas Bird Species
| Eastern Phoebe
Great Blue Heron
| Pine Warbler
Red Bellied Woodpecker
Red Tailed Hawk
Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Ruby Throat Hummingbird
White Throated Sparrow
|The Cedar Waxwing (Staff Photo)
Bird Guides and Resources
Books and guides:
- Field Guide to the Birds of North America, by National Geographic
- North American Birdfeeder Handbook
- Peterson Field Guide of Eastern Birds
- Golden Field Identification of the Birds of North America
- Birds of East Texas - a quick and easy to use, light-weight, durable, all-weather field guide to the varied birdlife of the eastern part of the State of Texas.
- Tyler Audubon Society
- Texas Ornithological Society
- East Texas Naturalists
- Beaumont CVB: Birding in South Texas
- City of Lufkin: Deep East Texas Birding Guide (PDF)
- Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine: Birding in Texas (PDF)
- American Birding Association
Photos of Common Birds Sighted in East Texas
Seen Around the Backyard, Farm or Wooded Areas in East Texas
|Male House Finch
|Mockingbird - TX State Bird
||White Throated Sparrow
Bluebirds on a Birdbath
The Wild Turkey in East Texas
||Painted Bunting (Male)
||Rose Breasted Grosbeak
|Ruby Crowned Kinglet
||White Eyed Vireo
Birds of the Night
|Great Horned Owl
|Eastern Screech Owl
||Chuck Will's Widowl
|Orange Crowned Warbler
||Yellow Rumped Warbler
Birds that Love the Water
|Little Blue Heron
||Great Blue Heron
Birds of Prey
|Red Shouldered Hawk
|Red Headed Woodpecker
|Red Bellied Woodpecker
||Yellow Bellied Sapsucker
Seen at the Shopping Center
|Great Tailed Grackle
||Crows in East Texas
Ruby Throat Hummingbird near Tyler Texas
Hummingbirds grouped on crowded feeder
East Texas Hummingbird Frenzy during fall migration... Watch the video on YouTube
About the Birds of East Texas Photo Gallery
The photos in this gallery include original photographs by the East Texas website staff as well as those taken by the great nature photographer Alan Schmierer. Also included are public domain photos, many from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Nature, Birds and Wildlife Websites of Interest
||Butterflies At Home