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! 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.

Caddo Lake in East Texas


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.

View of the lake at Tyler State Park in East Texas
Tyler State Park

Other popular sites include 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 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 in Southeast Texas
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.

East Texas attractions and things to do ... museums, outdoors, parks, lakes, festivals, entertainment and more!
More Nature

Lakes

Butterflies

Go Outdoors

State Parks

Zoos

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

Baltimore Oriole
Blue Jay
Blackbird
Brown Headed Cowbird
Brown Thrasher
Cardinal
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Wren
Cedar Waxwing
Chuck Wills Widow
Crow
Dark Eyed Junco
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Phoebe
Flicker
Goldfinch
Great Blue Heron
House Finch
House Sparrow
Indigo Bunting
Kestrel
Mockingbird
Mourning Dove
Nuthatch
Painted Bunting
Pileated Woodpecker
Pine Siskin
Pine Warbler
Red Bellied Woodpecker
Red Tailed Hawk
Roadrunner
Robin
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Ruby Throat Hummingbird
Summer Tanager
Tufted Titmouse
White Throated Sparrow
Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-Breasted Chat
Yellow-Rump Warbler
   
The Cedar Waxwing (Staff Photo)
Cedar Waxwing in East Texas

Bird Guides and Resources

Books and guides:

  • All the Birds of North America, by the American Bird Conservancy
  • 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.

Photos of Common Birds Sighted in East Texas

Seen Around the Backyard, Farm or Wooded Areas in East Texas
Male Cardinal
Male Cardinal
Male Cardinal
Male Cardinal
Female Cardinal
Female Cardinal
Female Cardinal
Female Cardinal, feeding in winter... Tyler, Texas
Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Bluebird
Bluebird
Chickadee
Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Titmouse
Male House Finch
Male House Finch
American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Mockingbird - TX State Bird
Northern Mockingbird
Junco
Junco
Roadrunner
Roadrunner
Roadrunner
Roadrunner
Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove
House Sparrow
House Sparrow
White Throated Sparrow
White Throated Sparrow

Bluebirds on a Birdbath
Bluebirds in East Texas

The Wild Turkey in East Texas
The Wild Turkey in East Texas

American Robin
American Robin
Eastern Towhee
Eastern Towhee
Indigo Bunting
Indigo Bunting
Painted Bunting (Male)
Painted Bunting
Red-Breasted Nuthatch
Red-Breasted Nuthatch
White-Breasted Nuthatch
White-Breasted Nuthatch
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe
Carolina Wren
Carolina Wren
Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow
Scarlet Tanager
Scarlet Tanager
Summer Tanager
Summer Tanager
Vermilion Flycatcher
Vermilion Flycatcher
Rose Breasted Grosbeak
Rose Breasted Grosbeak
Killdeer
Killdeer
Scissortail Flycatcher
Scissortail Flycatcher
Baltimore Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher
Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Ruby Crowned Kinglet
White Eyed Vireo
White Eyed Vireo

 

Birds of the Night
Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Barred Owl
Eastern Screech Owl
Eastern Screech Owl
Chuck Will's Widowl
Chuck Will's Widowl

 

Warblers
Orange Crowned Warbler
Orange Crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow Rumped Warbler
Yellow Rumped Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Hooded Warbler

 

 

Birds that Love the Water
Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican
White Pelican
White Pelican
Wood Duck
Wood Duck
Mallard Duck
Mallard Duck
Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

 

Birds of Prey
Cooper's Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Swainson's Hawk
Swainson's Hawk
Red Shouldered Hawk
Red Shouldered Hawk
American Kestrel
American Kestrel
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

 

 

The Woodpeckers
Red Headed Woodpecker
Red Headed Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Red Bellied Woodpecker
Red Bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker
Yellow Bellied Sapsucker
Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

 

Opportunists
Loggerhead Shrike
Loggerhead Shrike
Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher
Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture

 

Seen at the Shopping Center
European Starling
European Starling
Rock Pigeon
Rock Pigeon
Great Tailed Grackle
Great Tailed Grackle
Crows in East Texas
Crows in East Texas

 

Ruby Throat Hummingbird near Tyler Texas
Ruby Throat Hummingbird near Tyler Texas


Hummingbirds grouped on crowded feeder

photo of 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.

East Texas Nature Galleries

East Texas Birds
Hummingbirds
Butterflies
Flowers & Trees
East Texas Lakes
Botanical Gardens & Arboretums
Lee Daffodil Garden

Downy Woodpecker and Red-Bellied Woodpecker on a tree in East Texas

 

Nature, Birds and Wildlife Websites of Interest

Hummingbird Central
Hummingbird Central: Species, migration, gardening, photos, videos, feeders
Butterflies At Home
Butterflies at Home: species, identification tips, sizes, maps

 

More East Texas Resources