BEAUMONT, Texas — Birding season is swooping in and Beaumont, Texas invites enthusiasts both seasoned and new to take part in the fowl furor. Advantageously located on two migratory bird flyways, the Central and Mississippi, and near the Neches River and Pine Island Bayou, the area attracts hundreds of species. Here are some popular spots to spot in Beaumont:
Big Thicket National Preserve
The Big Thicket National Preserve is a major destination for bird-watching and, as one of the first preserves in the National Park System, has protected the inhabitants for decades while conserving the natural beauty of the thicket. The wildlife within has grown over the years and, because of its location on a major migratory flyway, there are nearly 300 different species of birds. In 2001, the preserve was recognized as a “Globally Important Bird Area” by the American Bird Conservancy. With such a rich biological ecosystem, Big Thicket National Preserve is 108,000 acres of land with an expanding number of birds and bird watchers.
Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands
With 900 acres of wetlands and natural landscape, Cattail Marsh is another popular (and populous) spot to birdwatch in Southeast Texas. The area has a variety of species of ducks, snow geese and snowy egrets, along with hard-to-find species like prairie warblers, red-bellied woodpeckers, eastern screech-owls and king rails. Birders from around the country visit this birding spot, and there is an ongoing checklist of birds that have been found within the Marsh. In 2016, a new boardwalk and viewing platforms were opened in the Marsh, which gives access to the land and views of the birds in ways that previously had been impossible.
Water and waterfowls come together at the “Last Wild River” in east Texas and in Beaumont, along with many other winged creatures. A water source for wildlife in the area, the river attracts birds from around the state and country, especially during birding season. Running north to south for 416 miles, the river is large but borders Beaumont for easy access and great vantage points. The river is home to 300 species of birds include herons, the anhinga, owls, hawks and wood ducks.
The “Big Sit” in Beaumont
With these top birding spots in the area, it’s no surprise that Beaumont participates in the annual “big sit” birding event, a challenge to spot (and hear) as many birds as possible in 24 hours. On April 25, birders and travelers are invited to tally up their detections and, if in Beaumont, they are sure to beat any previous years’ score.