The 10 Best Places in the U.S. for Birdwatching – Best Life

Enjoying nature can be more than just seeking out the best views or stunning foliage. In many cases, spectacular wildlife can provide the most spectacular views, especially the winged variety. Staking out to spot rare or dazzling bird species remains a timeless pastime for outdoor enthusiasts with a keen eye and steely patience. And if you’re looking for the best places to be on the lookout, there are a few places that should be on your list. Read on for the best places in the United States you should visit if you’re passionate about birdwatching.

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Just as birds flock with the change of seasons, there are areas where birdwatchers flock when trying to catch a glimpse of animals in transit. And according to experts, Nebraska offers such an opportunity.

“From February to April, this Midwestern state is one of the most incredible birding destinations in the country, with an estimated one million migrating Sandhill Cranes crossing the North Platte River Valley to rest before setting off. go north”, Jared Ranahana travel writer and passionate ornithologist, tells Better life. “In addition to cranes, central Nebraska is also home to the prairie chicken, an eccentric bird renowned for its fascinating courtship dance and resounding call.”

A flock of birds in a pond at Bosque del Apache Nature Reserve
Shutterstock / Patricia Thomas

While the Southwest is already known for its breathtaking scenery and natural beauty, at least one place in the state offers the perfect environment to spot some fantastic wildlife.

“The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico is a great place to go for birdwatching.” Fred Boulanger, travel editor of Travelness, tells Better life. “The sanctuary is located on the Rio Grande and is teeming with waterfowl such as ducks, geese, and swans. In addition, many other types of birds can be spotted there, including sandhill cranes, crissal mockingbirds, green-tailed towhee, and mallards.”

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New River Gorge, West Virginia

The National Park System has no shortage of wildlife viewing opportunities, including its latest addition in West Virginia. Here, experts say, you can do plenty of hiking or rafting while spotting passing visitors.

“New River Gorge National Park and Reserve is amazing for viewing our feathered friends,” Geoff Heetera ornithologist and expert guide with New River Birding and Nature Festival, tells Better life. “The dynamic elevation change from the edge to the river creates different habitats that attract many birds. Over 30 species of warblers are common during spring migration, and many of them nest in and around the gorge.”

An aerial view of Kaloko Honokohau National Historical Park in Hawaii

Travelers come from all over the world to admire Hawaii’s breathtaking natural beauty, which stretches from the depths of the sea to the peaks of high mountains. And of course, the amazing wildlife that inhabits the islands provides a viewing experience you can’t get anywhere else in the world, let alone the United States.

“Hawaiian’s largest island is home to rich avian biodiversity, with no shortage of native and introduced species to discover,” Ranahan says. “Coastal destinations like Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park teem with Polynesian shorebirds, while Volcanoes National Park is a haven for native species like ‘Akiapōlā’au, ‘lo, and ‘I’iwi. “

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A snowy owl sitting on a dune behind seagrass

Thanks to geography, some areas can enjoy a surprisingly abundant variety of birds. And according to experts, that includes tiny Plum Island off the small town of Newbury, Massachusetts.

“The beautiful coastline and a diversity of marsh habitats, open beaches, scrub and pine forests make this a fantastic habitat for a wide variety of bird species,” Charles van ReesPhD, conservation scientist and naturalist at the University of Georgia and a former ornithologist, says Better life. “That includes rare species like the endangered piping plover and a whole host of ‘vagrants’ (species that roam from afar) because the landscape stands out on the northeast coast of the United States’ Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. United, where the mother of American environmentalism, Rachel Carsonworked for years, is a must visit here.”

And if everything you watch helps whet your appetite, you’re in luck. “You’ll find excellent lobsters, fried clams and fish sandwiches in the area when you need a break from your birding adventure,” he adds.

new york city, central park, lake, bridge
GagliardiPhotography / Shutterstock

People often travel to New York to catch a Broadway show or explore the sites of some of the best museums in the world. What few travelers realize is that they can also spot impressive wildlife right in the heart of the city.

“For a lot of people, the middle of the Big Apple is the last place they would look for birds, but Central Park is actually a fantastic place to watch birds,” van Rees says. “During fall (late August to early October) and spring (April to May) migrations, many birds are herded to the green oasis in the middle of this sprawling metropolis, and huge congregations of birds at brilliant colors migrating from countries like Guatemala and El Salvador appear almost magically overnight.The park also has a rich and diverse community of experienced birdwatchers who are always ready to show people where the coolest new arrival is. cool every day.

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yosemite national park tunnel entrance
Gary C. Tognoni / Shutterstock

As one of the most recognized and visited national parks in the entire system, Yosemite’s reputation for natural beauty tends to precede it. Experts say that superlative extends to the local bird population.

“Yosemite National Park in California is another top birding destination,” says Baker. “The site is home to more than 250 different species of birds, including white-headed woodpeckers and black swifts. Plus, Yosemite Valley offers one of the most stunning settings imaginable for game viewing.”

A flock of terns on Sanibel Island in Florida

Florida’s Gulf Coast is teeming with fascinating wildlife both below and above the waves. And on Sanibel Island, migrating herds appear in impressive numbers, making it easy to spot them in their natural habitat.

“This beautiful island reserve is a winter wonderland for many migratory sandpipers and hosts a year-round flock of cool herons and other waders,” says van Rees. “Sanibel is also the site of the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a fantastic spot for shorebird watching. There are also plenty of beautiful, well-preserved beaches to enjoy when you’re done birdwatching!”

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north carolina, outerbanks, lighthouse
MarkVanDykePhotography / Shutterstock

Visitors to North Carolina’s Outer Banks may know it as a beloved summer getaway with seemingly endless stretches of coastline. But the same area that attracts thousands of seasonal human visitors is equally attractive to feathered wildlife.

“This massive chain of barrier islands is a haven for migrating and resident shorebirds, with black skimmers, piping plovers and American oystercatchers found in abundance at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge,” Ranahan said. .

A Yellow Warbler perched on a branch in Magee Marsh, Ohio

While coastlines may be high on birdwatchers’ lists, it’s not just the oceans that tend to get big. The Great Lakes are also home to a thriving bird population, including one in Ohio that has become the epicenter of enthusiasts at Magee Marsh.

“This near-forest and wetland complex in the southwest corner of Lake Erie is known as the ‘Warbler Capital of the World’ for the incredible variety of beautiful New World warblers (Parulidae) that migrate in the spring,” explains van Rees. “With miles of boardwalks and fantastic canopies of trees, Magee Marsh can bring you face to face with an array of colorful and sometimes rare little winged gems. It’s also the location of “America’s Biggest Birding Week,” a massive birding festival in early May each year.

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