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State of Louisiana

Brown Pelican
Eastern Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis ©T D Rodda Website

Birding Louisiana

Birders visiting Louisiana are often astounded by the contrasts in birding opportunities afforded by the hilly pine woods in the northern half of the state and the open coastal prairies, forested wetlands, and marshlands in the southern half of the state. Over 450 species of birds have been recorded in Louisiana. Birders with average birding skills can expect to locate 50-70 species over most weekends and their numbers will surely exceed 100 species along the coast during spring and fall migrations. The public can access all manner of habitats on game management areas operated by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, parks and recreation areas operated by the Louisiana Office of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism, and national forests and national wildlife refuges and recreation areas operated by the US Department of Agriculture and US Fish and Wildlife Service as well as non-governmental agencies including The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana and the Audubon Society. Furthermore, municipalities and parish (county) governments operate parks and recreation areas that are often excellent sites to bird especially during migration periods.

The Louisiana Ornithological Society (LOS) sponsors quarterly meetings with those in fall and spring always scheduled for the last full weekends in October and April in Cameron, Louisiana - check out the webpage losbird.org for specific dates. [There is a winter meeting in January that moves around the state]. Located in Cameron Parish in the extreme southwestern corner of the state, Cameron is the ideal location for such events. Migrants including passerines and shorebirds either stage in the area's wetlands and wooded oak chenier ridges preparing to fly south across the Gulf of Mexico for the winter or stop in the area to rest and feed upon return from points south during their northward migrations during the spring. Visitors can find loons, grebes, pelicans, cormorants, wading birds, vultures, waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, gulls, terns, doves, nightjars, woodpeckers, flycatchers, vireos, crows, swallows, wrens, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, sparrows, grosbeaks and buntings, blackbirds and orioles, and finches in the Cameron area during these migration periods. And, regardless of the time of year, visitors to wetlands associated with reservoirs, the Red River, the Atchafalaya River, the Mississippi River and the coastal fringe south of I-10 are often astounded by the large numbers of magnificent wading birds that frequent these locations.

Local birding clubs, some affiliated with the Audubon Society, others not, are found in most metropolitan areas and offer members and visitors monthly weekend birding trips. State and US Government facilities often offer nature programs on weekends.

Top Sites

Caddo Lake

Information

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Caddo Lake is a 25,400 acres (10,300 ha) lake and wetland located on the Texas border, in western Caddo Parish. The lake is named after the Southeastern culture of Native Americans called Caddoans or Caddo, who lived in the area until their expulsion in the 19th century. It is an internationally protected wetland under the RAMSAR treaty and features the largest Cypress forest in the world.

Lake Martin - Cypress Island Preserve

Webpage

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Lake Martin is a natural wooded wetland. Lake Martin - Cypress Island is open to anyone…

Peveto Woods Sanctuary

Webpage

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The Baton Rouge Audubon Society Peveto Woods Sanctuary currently encompasses approximately 40 acres and is located along the Louisiana coast in Cameron Parish. This site was the first chenier sanctuary for migratory birds established in Louisiana…

Sherburne Wildlife Complex NWR

Webpage

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The Sherburne Wildlife Complex in the center of the Atchafalaya Basin half way between Baton Rouge and Lafayette is surely one of the best places for birding off the coast in Louisiana with full public access although people MUST have a Wild Louisiana Stamp or a valid hunting or fishing license to access the state's properties in this system. [Dr. Remsen recently published a wonderful article on this area in Birder's World]. The US Fish & Wildlife Service has just published a seasonal checklist for one unit of the SWC - the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge. The checklist is good for the entire 45,000 acre tract that includes state and federal ownership.

South Farm Wildlife Area

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Iberville Parish - South Farm Wildlife Area (within the Sherburne Wildlife Area)

Sureway Woods

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This wooded site reffered to as Sureway Woods is adjacent to Sureway Supermarket off of Hwy. LA 1 between Port and Nacarri Lanes…

Contributor

Jay Huner

Fellow, Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism, University of Louisiana, Lafayette.

Lafayette, Louisiana

jhuner@louisiana.edu

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 479

As at June 2018

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

A Birder's Guide to Louisiana

By Richard Gibbons, Roger Breedlove & Charles Lyon | ABA | 2013 | Paperback | 275 pages, b/w photos, b/w maps |

ISBN: 9781878788436

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Louisiana Birds

(A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species) | By James R Kavanagh & Raymond Leung | Waterford Press | 2000 | Unbound | 12 pages, colour illustrations |

ISBN: 1583551492

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Louisiana Breeding Bird Atlas

By David A Wiedenfeld & M Mark Swan | Louisiana Sea Grant College | 2000 | Paperback | 80 pages, colour illustratioins, maps |

ISBN: #145755

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Wings of Paradise

(Birds of the Louisiana Wetlands) | By Charlie Hohorst, Charlie Hohorst & Marcelle Bienvenu | Louisiana State University Press | 2009 |

ISBN: 9780807134504

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

State Bird

Eastern Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis

Organisations

Audubon Louisiana

Website

At Audubon, we believe that where birds thrive people prosper. Nowhere is this more evident than in Louisiana. Louisiana’s coastal habitats, bottomland hardwoods, and rich agricultural lands make the state one of the richest in the nation in terms of natural resources. The magnificent Mississippi River Delta ecosystem in Louisiana supports 100 million migratory, nesting and wintering birds. Birds are the bellwethers of ecosystem health; if birds are healthy, our lands are healthy.

Audubon Society in Louisiana

Website

Audubon's local chapters can bring you bird walks, advocacy campaigns, nature outings, educational programs and other events. And with more than 500 chapters around the country, there's likely to be one nearby!…

Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program

Website

We are a partnership of government, business, scientists, conservation organizations, agricultural interests, and individuals for the preservation, protection, and restoration of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary in southeast Louisiana.

Baton Rouge Audubon Society

Website

The Baton Rouge Audubon Society is dedicated to protecting the unique biological treasures of Louisiana, with special concern for birds, wildlife and their habitats. Our chapter contributes to our community by offering opportunities to learn about and appreciate our natural environment…

Crescent Bird Club

Website

The Crescent Bird Club has more than 200 members. The Club holds free field trips for members throughout the year, except in summer, to such places as the Jean Lafitte National Park and Dauphin Island, AL. The Club also holds annual dinners at which excellent lectures and slide shows are presented. Contact Joelle Finley joellefinley@bellsouth.net Main Contact Phone: 504-488-3996

Louisiana Bird Records Committee

Website

How do you decide which bird records are worth reporting? How should they be documented, and when, where, and to whom should they be sent?

Louisiana Bird Resource Office

Website

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 impacted Louisiana's coast in many ways. To do our part in determining how Louisiana's birds were impacted, we are continuing coastal surveys funded by the American Birding Association and private donors. These coast-wide surveys are performed by highly-skilled observers recording effort, numbers of each species, and oiling levels for individuals if present. With these data and the previous four years of bird atlas data, we intend to assess the impacts of this environmental disaster on our bird populations.

Louisiana Ornithological Society

Website

The Louisiana Ornithological Society (LOS) was organized in 1947 to gather and disseminate accurate information concerning the bird life of the western hemisphere and of Louisiana; to promote interest in and appreciation of the value of birds, both aesthetic and economic, which will ensure wiser conservation of our bird life; to promote opportunity for acquaintance and fellowship among those interested in nature; and to issue, at such times as possible or practicable, publications as a means of furthering these ends.

Nature Conservancy in Lousiana

Website

Not the ususal NC site this, but none the worse for that, still a first class presentation and full of very useful info on preserves etc.

Northshore Bird Club

Website

We are a small group of passionate birders, living in Slidell, Louisiana (across Lake Pontchartrain and a little to the east of New Orleans) and throughout the Northshore. It all began in early 1994 when Peggy Siegert was approached by several other enthusiasts, following one of her canoe-trip group- learning experiences, and they all shared one of those we ought to form a club conversations. Since then, it has grown in size to about 60 members, including singles and couples, retired and working (or at least claiming to be) people, seniors and teenagers and interested people of every kind -- everyone from recognized experts to beginners just realizing the wonders of their own backyards. All the while, the Club has continued its close-knit family atmosphere, something you notice, right away, if you attend one of our meetings.

Orleans Audubon Society

Website

The Orleans Audubon Society is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of wildlife and wild places of the southeastern U.S. and to fostering an understanding and appreciation of nature…

Shreveport Society for Nature Study

Website

The Bird Study Group is a northwest Louisiana organization of bird-watchers based in Shreveport. The Bird Study Group offers field trips, bird discussions, a bird sighting database, and other programs for people with an interest in birds…

Sierra Club - Delta Chapter

Website

The Delta Chapter is the Sierra Club organization for the State of Louisiana. We advance the cause of protecting Louisiana's environment in a variety of ways, including lobbying the state legislature in Baton Rouge, sponsoring a Mercury Public Education Campaign; and working to keep the Atchafalaya Basin, America's greatest river swamp, wet and wild…

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

Acadiana Park Nature Station

Website

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Located in a wooded section of Acadiana Park, a 110 acre facility in the northeastern corner of Lafayette, Louisiana (south-central Louisiana); the Nature Station and its accompanying 3+mile trail system is owned and operated by the Division of Arts & Culture, in the Department of Community Development, Lafayette Consolidated Government.

Bird City - Jungle Gardens

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Jungle Gardens hosts regular Bird Tours to help bird lovers pursue their passion at our beautiful gardens. Reservations may be made seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. While famous as a refuge for snowy white egrets, there are a great many additional species that grace Bird City and other areas of our grounds. Springtime will bring many songbirds to the protected area - as well as the returning egrets, Louisiana herons and little blue herons. A little later arrive the night herons, least bitterns and anhingas.

Creole Nature Trail

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Alligators, over 400 bird species, marshlands teeming with life, 26 miles of natural Gulf of Mexico beaches. If you want to take a look at the area at your own pace, there are several self-guided nature drive options including the Pintail Wildlife Drive, Price Lake Nature Drive and Lacassine Wildlife Drive. You will also be able to stretch your legs at the Wetland Walkway and the Pintail Boardwalk.

Great Louisiana Coastal Birding Trails

Website

Welcome to America's Wetland Birding Trail! With landscapes ranging from coastal wetlands to rolling hills and prairies, Louisiana is a nature lover's paradise. Whether you are an avid birder or a casual nature enthusiast, visitors can explore Louisiana's wild spaces through the numerous State Parks, State Historic Sites, State Preservation Areas, National Wildlife Refuges, Wildlife Management Areas, and other natural spots throughout the state.

NC Bluebonnet Swamp

Webpage

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Over a mile of gravel paths and boardwalks link varied habitats such as the cypress-tupelo swamp, beech-magnolia and hardwood forests. Wildlife is plentiful at Bluebonnet Swamp, including hundreds of bird species utilizing the site throughout the year. Birders can view seasonal species during peak migrations, as well as year-round residents. While snakes and turtles are commonly seen from the trails, raccoons, rabbits, opossums, armadillos, squirrels, foxes, coyotes, deer and otter are also known to inhabit the site.

NC Northlake

Website

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Located on 400 acres of ancient pines and hardwood forest, bounded on the west by Bayou Castine, crossed by a marsh and active beaver pond - teeming with native animal and plant life - the Northlake Nature Center is St. Tammany's Secret Garden. The subtle splendor of Louisiana's wetlands is complemented by graceful structures, aged and new. A recent archaeological survey revealed the Center site as home to ancient peoples more than 500 years ago…

NPr Barataria Preserve

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The Barataria Preserve is one of six sites comprising Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. The Barataria Preserve interprets the culture of people, past and present, who settled the delta and the unique ecosystem which sustained them. It preserves a representative example of the delta's environment, containing natural levee forests, bayous, swamps, and marshes. Though wild, and teeming with wildlife, this is not a pristine wilderness. Evidence of prehistoric human settlement, colonial farming, plantation agriculture, logging, commercial trapping, fishing, hunting, and oil and gas exploration overlay much of this former wilderness.

NPr Cypress Island Preserve

Webpage

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The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana's goal is to restore natural bottomland hardwood forest, in order to support a large rookery of birds. The Conservancy also wants to minimize disturbance to the rookery while accommodating human visitation…

NWR Atchafalaya

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The refuge is encompassed within 1,500,000 acres (6,100 km2) of hardwood swamps, lakes and bayous. The natural floodplain of the Atchafalaya River flows for 140 miles (230 km) south from its junction with the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. The basin's dense bottomland hardwoods, Bald Cypress-Tupelo swamps, overflow lakes, and meandering bayous provide a tremendous diversity of habitat for more than 200 species of resident and migratory birds and numerous other wildlife and the area has been recognized as an Internationally Important Bird Area.

NWR Cameron Prairie

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Although established in 1988 and in existence only 6 years as a national wildlife refuge, Cameron Prairie NWR is a rapidly growing attraction for local residents and visitors alike. In fact, the Gulf Coast Bird Club has already adopted Cameron Prairie NWR as one of its favorite birding sites and committed itself to compiling the refuge bird list…

NWR Lacassine

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Although established in 1937 to provide wintering habitat for waterfowl, Lacassine NWR supports many communities of land and water wildlife. Located at the edge of Grand Lake and 15 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, the refuge covers 32,625 acres, nearly half of which is Lacassine Pool. This huge fresh-water impoundment was built for waterfowl after the refuge was established and was later subdivided for better control of water levels…

NWR Red River

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The main purpose of Red River National Wildlife Refuge is to provide habitat for migrating, wintering and nesting waterfowl. The Red River Valley is located along two main waterfowl migration corridors – the Mississippi Flyway and the Central Flyway. Lake Caroline at the Headquarters Unit provides a refuge for waterfowl in the fall and winter months. By late spring only a few species stay to nest, mainly wood ducks.

NWR Sabine

PDF Brochure

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Sabine NWR is considered one of southwest Louisiana's most popular attractions. Most of the 200,000 people who visit the refuge each year walk the 1.5-mile Wetland Walkway, where they can get close-up views of the birds and other marsh animals. The walkway has an observation tower, offering panoramic views of miles of the level marsh terrain…

SWR Marsh Island

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Vegetation is primarily of the marshy types, and the island is almost treeless. On the island is the Marsh Island Wildlife Refuge, a wild bird sanctuary for species such as the snow goose. Other animals which inhabit the island include alligators, ducks and other waterfowl.S

WMA Sherburne Complex

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The Sherburne Complex is a joint land management venture of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that began in 1983. The area consists of 44,000 acres (180 km2), and is managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

WR Rockefeller

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The Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge is a large area of marshland in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, United States. It was donated to the state with certain provisions as to its management as a wildlife sanctuary. It is a biodiverse habitat and is visited annually by many migratory birds.

WS Paul J. Rainey

Webpage

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The 26,000-acre Paul J Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary in southwest Louisiana makes the National Audubon Society a stakeholder, with real interests and concerns over the health and sustainability of this landscape...

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Bird Treks

Tour Operator

Bird Treks has been providing small group and custom birding tours for over 20 years. Visit their website to see the incredible tours available, including Southern Louisiana!

Seabirds & Whales of Louisiana

Tour Operator

The Louisiana Ornithological Society (LOS) no longer offers pelagic trips. This is a good site but only as reference to offshore birding.

Trip Reports

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CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2012 [11 November] - Dan Lane & Eric Hynes

Report

…Then there was the Nelson’s Sparrow in that little marsh patch at East Jetty, the views of Swamp Sparrow that were firsts for some among us, the graceful Sandhill Cranes, the boldly-patterned Red-headed Woodpecker, the squeaky-toy Brown-headed Nuthatches, the incredible blackbird flocks that rolled over the rice fields and enfolded that power station, and the opportunity to converse with our rice combine operator….

2013 [10 October] - Dan Lane & Lena Senko

Report

Roseate Spoonbills were head-turners as they cruised over us, aglow in bright pink garb, and two unexpected, captive-raised Whooping Cranes had us cheering. Shorebirds did not disappoint either -- we picked out Franklin’s Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Gull-billed Terns, several plover species, and many others along the beaches in Cameron Parish…

2013 [11 November] - Dan Lane & Jesse Fagan

Report

…The bird of the trip was indeed the Yellow Rail, nearly a unanimous group vote, but other favorites included the large flock of southbound Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, our cooperative Barred Owl in the Kisatchie, as well as nice looks at Red-cockaded Woodpecker, a federally endangered bird that we located in an oak tree! A couple of people liked the vagrant Brown Boobies, a new bird for Dan in Louisiana….

2014 [10 October] - Dan Lane & Tom Johnson

Report

...Having satisfied our rail cravings in the rice country, Sunday was spent to the north in pursuit of pineywoods specialties. Though we were able to quickly find flocks of Pine Warblers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, and other songbirds, both Bachman's Sparrow and Red-cockaded Woodpecker remained elusive through the morning hours. A lovely Thai lunch (who'd have thought we'd find THIS in western Louisiana?) prepared us for an afternoon of searching through the woods, which finally paid off with scope views of Bachman's Sparrow and a wonderfully accommodating group of five Red-cockaded Woodpeckers....

2014 [11 November] - Dan Lane & Tom Johnson

Report

...Day two meant a trip to the Gulf Coast of southwestern Louisiana. We headed straight for Cameron East Jetty at the mouth of the Calcasieu River, and found coastal birds like Clapper Rails, Nelson's and Seaside sparrows, and many gulls and terns on the beach. It was quite cold and windy this morning after the passage of a cold front, so we didn't stay out on the beach for too long before retreating to more protected oak forest on the beach ridges east of Cameron. We took a duck-filled lap through Cameron Prairie NWR (remember the American Bitterns and all those Fulvous Whistling-Ducks?) before returning to the rice country for another rail-watching experience near Thornwell (including more Yellow Rails!)...

2015 [11 November] - Dan Lane & Chris Benesh

Report

...Our final day was spent in the pine woods near Fort Polk, where we sought out some shy pine woods specialties. The Brown-headed Nuthatches came easy, but the Bachman’s Sparrow and Red-cockaded Woodpecker demanded more time. Once again, the rain held off long enough for us to accomplish our goals before letting loose....

2016 [05 May] - Bruce Wedderburn - SE US

Report

This was a two-month trip to southeast USA for Yvonne and myself, from late March through to late May, with a focus on the Spring migration, in particular the highly varied and colourful warblers. The trip commenced in Dallas in early Spring and involved touring through Texas along the Mexican border, following the Gulf of Mexico around to Florida as far south as Key West, then heading north up the east coast of the USA, then inland to the Appalachian Ranges in North Carolina, before heading west for our return trip to Dallas. Qantas has direct flights from Sydney to Dallas which avoids flying on any internal flights within the USA.

2016 [10 October] - Dan Lane & Dave Stejskal

Report

...Besides the fabulous Yellow Rail and the rice harvesting experience, we had quite a good trip, finding quite a few of the local specialties along our route. Best among these would be some of those piney woods birds that we saw in the Kisatchie NF, such as the multiple Brown-headed Nuthatches, a compliant (finally!) Bachman's Sparrow, and a rare adult male Red-cockaded Woodpecker (I could see the red in one of my photos). Others that stood out were a fantastic Barred Owl perched overhead, a lovely adult White-tailed Kite along the coast, cute Piping Plovers running along the sandy beach, fabulously close Nelson's and Seaside sparrows, a pioneering Great Kiskadee, a very confiding Clapper Rail, a hidden (but exhilarating nonetheless!) pair of close Black Rails, elegant Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, a curious Sedge Wren, and so many more!...

2017 [10 October] - Dan Lane & Cory Gregory

Report

Tasty Cajun food, a spectacular rail show, and good company made for another successful Louisiana tour. For being a quick, three-day tour, it really packs a punch! Not only did we see about 150 species, it was a high-quality bunch of birds in a variety of habitats. A cold front made for some chilly mornings and breezy afternoons and although we dodged some heavy rain showers one day, we were never adversely affected!

2017 [11 November] - Cory Gregory & Dan Lane

Report

A highlight of our tour was seeing Yellow Rails at the banding station during the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival. We also had some great views of these elusive critters in the field.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Woodridge B&B

Accommodation

Nestled between 100 year old live oak trees, the Woodridge began its history as a private school. Recently converted to a lovely bed & breakfast with amenities found in the best hotels and friendliness and comfort only found in a comfy Southern family home. Innkeepers Debbi and Tim Fotsch are sure to fill your visit with memories that will stay with you for a lifetime…

Festivals

Grand Isle Migratory Bird Celebration

Webpage

This Annual Celebration Event, initiated in 1998, was created in part to support the purchase and management of the Grand Isle Sanctuary to protect some of the last remaining undeveloped chenier habitats (live oak ridges)…

Great Louisiana BirdFest

Webpage

The Great Louisiana BirdFest is an annual event of the Northlake Nature Center. It is held each year in the spring when many species are migrating north through Louisiana from Mexico and South America. Our location in southern Louisiana makes this an excellent time of year for birding. The weather is typically warm but not yet hot and the trees are usually leafing out, but still thin enough for improved visibility.

Observatories

Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

Observatory Website

Satellite View

he mission of the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory is to protect the birds and their habitats around the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. We have become recognized as an innovative organization, which has designed and conducted a significant number of large conservation projects, including migration studies, habitat enhancement, land acquisition, regional habitat mapping, and others.

Other Links

Backyard Chirper

Website

Backyard Chirper is an online retailer offering one of the largest selections of bird feeder and bird house products on the web. Whether you’re looking for a hopper feeder, a hummingbird feeder or a birdbath, we have the bird feeder products and accessories you need…

Birding Trail of Louisiana

Website

This page is under construction - we will be adding information periodically. Please come back to visit often. If you have information to submitted, please send to Kay Radlauer….

Birds of Southeastern Louisiana

Website

An annotated list.

Covington Wild Bird Center

Website

The Wild Bird Center is a specialty retail shop that offers a complete line of products to help you enjoy wild birds, have a thriving lawn and garden, and foster a healthy backyard habitat…

Louisiana Coast Birding

Webpage

Located on the majestic Mississippi Flyway, the Louisiana Coast is home to some of the most awe-inspiring birds in the country. Over 400 different species of birds visit Louisiana each year making it one of the nation’s top destinations for bird enthusiasts. With birding trails across the Louisiana coastline, there are plenty of opportunities to view the abundant wildlife throughout the Louisiana coastal region. Experience why the productive natural environment of the Great Gulf Coast offers ready access to some of the best birding in the country…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Brian K Miller

Gallery

Wildlife photographs including birds from the excellent master of the art from Louisianna