Scattered across North America like individual strings of pearls are birding trails. Some are completed; others are in development; still others are simply in the idea-phase. These trails, covering expanses of roadway across many miles, offer birders, naturalists, and general eco-tourists grand opportunities to explore diverse habitats near home and in distant places. Birding and nature trails are essentially driving-routes linking prime birding locations. The growth of birding trails combines Americans’ love of the automobile with the increasing interest in birds, creating access and opportunities. Birding trails, in the words of Bill Shepard (from an article that appeared in the October 2001 issue of Birding) create “gateways to conservation and adventure”.
The whole birding-trail phenomenon is part of what’s been called “birding economics” for many years. This is another demonstration of community involvement and commitment to preserving natural resources based on responsible tourism and bird appreciation.
Formal trails are relatively new, having begun in Texas in 1996, when the first of three segments of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, the brainchild of Ted Eubanks and Madge Lindsay, were opened. The rest, as they say, is history, with similar trails popping up across North America. The trails, often marked roadways with site-specific stops, fuse regional education, conservation, and ecotourism. Most of these birding trails also have detailed accompanying maps, providing guidance to the sites and to the birds (and usually other wildlife) to be found along the trails.
The construction, promotion, and development of birding trails have used various funding sources, sometimes in very creative combination. Often it’s state, provincial, and federal agencies, for example, government transportation dollars (TEA-21 funding has been important), state or federal wildlife dollars, and state tourism dollars. Sometimes it’s a combination of community foundations, local businesses, non-profit backing, and individual contributions that coalesce to make trails happen.
- Alabama – AL
- Alaska – AK
- Arizona – AZ
- Arkansas – AR
- California – CA
- Colorado – CO
- Connecticut – CT
- Delaware – DE
- Florida – FL
- Georgia – GA
- Hawaii – HI
- Idaho – ID
- Illinois – IL
- Indiana – IN
- Iowa – IA
- Kansas – KS
- Kentucky – KY
- Louisiana – LA
- Maine – ME
- Maryland – MD
- Massachusetts – MA
- Michigan – MI
- Minnesota – MN
- Mississippi – MS
- Missouri – MO
- Montana – MT
- Nebraska – NE
- Nevada – NV
- New Hampshire – NH
- New Jersey – NJ
- New Mexico – NM
- New York – NY
- North Carolina – NC
- North Dakota – ND
- Ohio – OH
- Oklahoma – OK
- Oregon – OR
- Pennsylvania – PA
- Rhode Island – RI
- South Carolina – SC
- South Dakota – SD
- Tennessee – TN
- Texas – TX
- Utah – UT
- Vermont – VT
- Virginia – VA
- Washington – WA
- West Virginia – WV
- Wisconsin – WI
- Wyoming – WY
Alabama Coastal Birding Trail
This trail, a series of six loops through two counties, cover a variety of habitats, from the beach and sea-oat habitat of Gulf State Park near Perdido Bay to the maritime pine forest of the Dauphin Island, a hotspot during spring migration, and Fort Morgan, a birding paradise in spring for Neotropical songbirds and in fall for migrating hawks.
Contact: Alabama Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, PO Drawer 457, Gulf Shores AL 36547; (877) 226-9089.
North Alabama Birding Trail
Contact: North Alabama Tourism Association at (866)238-4748 or (866) 23VISIT or www.northalabama.org
Kenai Peninsula Wildlife Viewing Trail
The trail consist of 65 sites spread along the road system of the peninsula and has a heavy orientation to birds. In addition to birds the Kenai Peninsula offers a great chance to see marine mammals, salmon, and terrestrial mammals. However, with over 250 species of birds available on the peninsula it is a wonderful place to bird.
Southeast Arizona Birding Trail
This trail covers 50 of the best birding sites in six southeastern Arizona counties. Summer is the most fruitful season, with highlights including Elegant Trogons, Painted Redstarts, and sometimes up to ten species of hummingbirds. The birding can be excellent at any time of year.
Contact: Southeast Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO), Box 5521, Bisbee, AZ 85603-5521; (520) 432-1388
Central Coast Birding Trail
This coastal region provides superb birding in all seasons. There are sites outlined through routes in four counties: Monterrey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. Specialties, from coast to mountains, include Black Oystercatcher, Heerman’s Gull, Elegant Tern, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Magpie, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and California Thrasher.
Contact: Audubon California, (916) 481-5332.
Eastern Sierra Birding Trail
This trail, designed by a partnership including Eastern Sierra Audubon, extends 170 miles along the east side of the Sierra Nevada range, from south of the Owens Lake Nationally Significant Important Bird Area to Bridgeport, California, north of Mono Lake. Maps to more than 40 sites describe birds by location and season and identify land ownership and access.
Contact: Mono Lake Committee, (760) 647-6595
Klamath Basin Birding Trail see listing under Oregon
Colorado Birding Trail
The Colorado Division of Wildlife and partners have launched the Colorado Birding Trail. The Colorado Birding Trail is a major ecotourism initiative to promote wildlife recreation, conservation of natural resources by private landowners and a diversified income for rural economies. The Birding Trail links outdoor recreation sites, both public and private, into a network of loops where visitors can observe birds and other wildlife, often in addition to archaeological and paleontological treasures.
When completed the Colorado Birding Trail will consist of 3 regions: Eastern Plains, Mountains, and Western Colorado. Currently, 14 trails linking 219 sites allow users to explore Southeastern Colorado. Nominations are being accepted and assessed for Southwestern Colorado and these trails and sites will launch next.
Great Pikes Peak Birding Trail
A project of the Aiken Audubon Society and supported by the Department of Wildlife of Colorado, the Great Pikes Peak Birding Trail will ultimately stretch for hundreds of miles, in El Paso and four other Colorado counties, unifying new and established birding sites throughout the Pikes Peak region. This trail is an impressive prelude to the Great Colorado Birding Trail, currently in planning stages.
Contact: Gary Lefko, Great Pikes Peak Birding Trail, P.O. Box 76987, Colorado Springs CO 80907-6987; (719) 683-7955
The Connecticut Coastal Birding Trail
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Wildlife Division has launched a project to develop a highway-based trail through the coastal region of Connecticut. The Connecticut Coastal Birding Trail will guide visitors to more than 50 different sites including wildlife refuges, parks, historic sites, rivers, lakes and bike trails where they can see hundreds of species of birds that visit or nest in the state. Although the trail will lead people to some of Connecticut’s prime bird habitats, it also will offer travelers a taste of the local culture. This project is in development.
Delaware Birding Trail
Internationally known as the Shorebird Capital of the world, the bay shoreline along Kent and Sussex counties, in both spring and fall, is teeming with hundreds of thousands of migratory shorebirds. But the abundance of birds calling Delaware home or just taking a needed rest stop does not end with shorebirds. Fall and winter bring hawk migration along with thousands of waterfowl and the snow goose spectacle, and spring and summer begin with colorful migrant songbirds and end with the breeding season.
The Delaware Birding Trail consists of 27 of the best birding sites around the state which will allow a visitor of any age or skill level to see and experience the incredible diversity of species and habitat that Delaware offers.
The Great Florida Birding Trails (4 of 4)
All four sections of the 2,000-mile Great Florida Birding Trail: east, west, panhandle, and south, are now complete, with 445 total sites. The eastern section of the Florida trail is a network of 135 sites spread throughout 18 counties. The western section contains 117 sites in 21 counties, the panhandle section has 78 sites in 16 counties, and the new south section has 116 sites in 12 counties. Birding sites in each section’s guide are grouped into 13 to 23 clusters; sites within a cluster are typically within an hour’s drive of one another. Such specialties as Swallow-tailed Kite, Limpkin, and Red-cockaded Woodpecker are found along the routes. Great Florida Birding Trail guides are available from FWC and on the GFBT website.
Contact: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, (850) 488-8755, Mark Kiser, Birding Trail Coordinator, FWC, 620 S. Meridian St. 5B4, Tallahassee FL 32399-1600; (850) 488-9478.
Colonial Coast Birding Trail
The Colonial Coast trail weaves birding into the state’s historical roots, encouraging visitors to stop at Civil War forts and plantations, as well as at freshwater wetlands, woodlands, and tidal rivers. More than 300 species of birds (75 percent of the total species of birds seen in Georgia) have been spotted at the 18 sites along the birding trail-but don’t expect to see all of these birds on a single visit. Area specialties include Wood Stork, Clapper Rail, Yellow-throated Warbler, and Painted Bunting. This birding trail winds through beautiful natural areas, from freshwater marshes to sites at the ocean and offers opportunities to see many wading birds, shorebirds, passerines, and others.
Contact: Georgia Department of Natural Resources, (478) 994-1438
Southern Rivers Birding Trail
Idaho Birding Trail
The Idaho Birding Trail consists of 175 sites for birding in Idaho. Each site is highlighted with a map, driving directions, a description of birds likely to be seen, other recreational activities allowed, and best times of the year to bird there. Much of the trail leaves freeways and highways behind, wandering deep into Idaho’s rural communities and along backcountry byways. Like hidden treasures, many of the sites were known previously only by local birders.
The Chicago Region Birding Trail Guide
The Chicago region is one of the country’s premier inland birding locations. Our climate and topography allow for a wide range of habitat types, from extensive grasslands to forests to marshes and lakes. The region’s proximity to the southern end of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River and large amounts of protected land in public ownership allow easy access for birders. As stewards of our natural environment, the City of Chicago is pleased to share this guide with residents and visitors. We hope that you enjoy good birding on the region’s public lands.
Contact: Chicago Department of Environment, 30 N. LaSalle, Ste. 2500, Chicago, IL 60602; (312) 744-9283;
Great River Birding Trail see listing under Minnesota
Great River Birding Trail see listing under Minnesota
Kansas Birding and Prairie Flora Trails
This trail’s planning is in progress. It is a partnership between the Kansas Department of Transportation and Audubon of Kansas. Once finished, four trails in Kansas will encourage birders to enjoy birds from Greater Prairie-Chicken to Upland Sandpiper to Bobolink.
Contact: Audubon of Kansas, 210 Southwind Place, Manhattan KS 66503; (785) 537-4385
John James Audubon Birding Trail
The John James Audubon Birding Trail consists of four individual driving tours that will take you through sloughs, cypress swamps, woodlands, marshes, and grasslands. The first, 35-mile segment of trail starts at John James Audubon State Park in western Kentucky; the other three trails are longer and provide the opportunity to find Wild Turkey, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Prothonotary Warbler.
Contact: Debby Spencer, West Kentucky Corporation, P.O. Box 51153, Bowling Green KY 42102; (270) 781-6858 or Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources, No. 1 Game Farm Road, Frankfort KY 40601; (800) 858-1549
Southern Ohio Birding and Heritage Trail
(Kentucky portions also in formation) see listing under Ohio
America’s Wetland Birding Trail
Welcome to the America’s Wetland Birding Trail along the Louisiana Great Gulf Coast. With landscapes ranging from coastal wetlands to rolling hills and prairies, Louisiana is a natural paradise. The trail’s 115 sites will introduce you to a variety of Louisiana’s coastal habitats including fresh and saltwater marshes, cheniers, upland pines, cypress-tupelo swamps, bottomland hardwood forests and open meadows, among many others.
Grand Isle Birding Trail
The Grand Isle Birding Trail is the first Louisiana bird trail. However, Louisiana is starting to plan for a coastal birding trail. The Louisiana Ornithological Society site is a very good central site for further information www.losbird.org. Click here for information about birding festivals and field trips www.birdlouisiana.com. There is also a Grand Isle Festival web page, which will include the Grand Isle Bird Trail map. grandisle.btnep.org
Maine Birding Trail
The Maine Birding Trail describes the best birding sites statewide. To date, six regions have been documented, including Acadia National Park and some of the best coastal and wilderness habitats in the state. Special attention is paid to highly prized species such as Atlantic Puffin and Spruce Grouse. Trail guides are available to download for free at www.mainebirdingtrail.com. The web site also makes it easy for birders to seek out a variety of accommodations, and take advantage of Maine adventures such as windjammer sailing tours, sea kayaking, whale-watching, puffin trips, and moose safaris.
Contact: Bob Duchesne, 478 Beechwood Ave., Old Town, ME 04468; 207-827-3782; e-mail at: [email protected].
Massachusetts Birding Trails
Web site identifies the GPS coordinates for all of the locations identified in the two major birding guides to Massachusetts. This makes it possible to download the coordinates to a personal GPS or to view the locations in Google Earth. An individual without a GPS can get detailed driving directions to any of these sites from Google Earth or maps to these locations on their cell phone using Google Mobile.
Pine to Prairie Birding Trail
Minnesota’s first birding trail consists of 45 sites spanning more than 200 miles from pine to prairie in the northwestern part of the state-through pine forests, deciduous woodlands, tall grass prairie, aspen parklands, calcareous fens, bogs, and marshes. Greater Prairie Chicken and Three-toed Woodpecker are just a few of over 275 species that can be seen along the way.
Contact: Fergus Falls Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (800) 726-8959, Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce (800) 542-3992
The Great River Birding Trail
The Great River Birding Trail highlights the best birdwatching sites along the Mississippi River. The spine of the trail follows the federally designated scenic drive called the Great River Road, which runs from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. In general, the sites include established wildlife refuges, parks, overlooks, and other attractions no more than 25 to 30 miles from the Great River Road. Over a dozen maps have been produced to illustrate the sites along both sides of the 1,366-mile Upper Mississippi River in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. Sites are now being selected in the five Lower Mississippi River valley states to connect the trail to the Gulf of Mexico.
Contact: Bonnie Koop, Birding Trail Coordinator, Upper Mississippi River Campaign for free maps and related information: (608) 784-2992; [email protected]
Minnesota River Valley Birding Trail
This river-valley trail, a project of Audubon Minnesota, encompasses the Minnesota River watershed from its headwaters near the South Dakota border to its confluence with the Mississippi at the Twin Cities. Prairie species dominate this area, where eastern woodlands meet grasslands. You can look for birds as varied as Northern Harrier, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Wilson’s Phalarope, Franklin’s Gull, Great-crested Flycatcher, Sedge Wren, Le Conte’s Sparrow, and Bobolink.
Contact: Audubon Minnesota, (651)739-9332.
Great River Birding Trail see listing under Minnesota
Great Missouri Birding Trail
The Great Missouri Birding Trail is designed to introduce new and seasoned birders across the state, nation, and the world to the diverse habitats that over 320 species of birds visit annually in Missouri to create a diverse and colorful array of species. The Great Missouri Birding Trail is a partnership between the Missouri Bird Conservation Foundation, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Wallis Companies. In addition to these sponsors, private citizens, avid birders, landholders, and conservation groups were all indispensable to the Trail’s development.
Great Montana Birding and Wildlife Trail
Going birding in Montana? Looking for wildlife viewing adventures off the beaten path-beyond Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks? Perhaps you’d like to combine flyfishing with birdwatching; or follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark to see the same wildlife species they recorded more than 200 years ago.
The Montana Birding and Nature Trail creates itineraries for a day, two days, a week or more. When complete, the Trail will consist of driving routes that link prime birding and nature viewing locations throughout Montana’s six tourism regions.
At every site, we encourage you to linger outside with binoculars ready. Take hikes. Float rivers. Delve into local history and culture. Hire local nature guides. Stay in B&Bs, guest ranches and lodges. Drive less to see more. Please come back to check our site as we continue to add more routes.
Trail routes completed and featured to date: Bitterroot and Missoula Valley
In progress 2007: Northeastern Plains Birding and Nature Trail
Contact for maps/brochures/website: Montana Natural History Center: Jessie Sherburne at (406)327-0405 or email: [email protected]
Nebraska Birding Trails
The Nebraska Birding Trails consist of nine intersecting highway routes passing through all of the ten eco-regions present in the state. Five routes follow major river systems: the Missouri, the Platte, the Republican, the Elkhorn and the Niobrara valleys, all providing important migratory pathways for shorebirds and waterfowl and nesting habitats for both eastern and western woodland birds. Each spring the Platte Valley supports the largest concentration of Sandhill Cranes to be found anywhere in the world. Two routes cross the vast Nebraska Sandhills, where prairie birds such as Sharp-tailed Grouse, Greater Prairie-chickens, Long-billed Curlews and Burrowing Owls can be easily found. Two western routes extend from the shortgrass and sandsage prairies of southwest Nebraska to the badlands and buttes of the Pine Ridge in the northwestern Panhandle, where golden eagles, ferruginous hawks and prairie falcons patrol the sky. These are just a few of the 400-plus bird species that make Nebraska one of the top birding spots in North America.
Contact: Tom Tabor, Ecotourism Development Consultant. Nebraska Department of Travel & Tourism, 301 Centennial Mall South, P.O. Box 98907, Lincoln, NE 68509; (402) 471-7755; [email protected].
The Connecticut River Birding Trail see listing under Vermont
New Jersey Birding and WildlifeTrails
The New Jersey Birding and Wildlife Trails website presents the Delaware Bayshore Trails; 9 driving routes visiting 82 wildlife viewing sites in the State’s three southernmost counties. Drive along Bayshore, famous for it horseshoe crab spawning and migration of Red Knot; visit Cape Island for a spring or fall migration extravaganza; or try the Barrier Island Trail, which links wildlife viewing sites all along the famous Jersey Shore. In the northeastern section of the state, our Meadowlands and More Trail guide contains 3 driving trails visiting 23 wildlife viewing sites throughout the Hackensack River Watershed. Visit the Meadowlands’ rich estuary, where you can watch peregrine falcons hunt while viewing the New York City Skyline; launch a canoe or kayak into the marshes to view wildlife up close or visit one of the hottest fall raptor-watching sites in the state. We’ve got it all and it is waiting for you to come and experience.
To order a Meadowlands and More, Birding and Wildlife Trails Guide call 1-888-NJM-BIRDS or contact Lillian Armstrong, Director of Birding and Wildlife Trails, New Jersey Audubon Society at 609-861-0700 and make sure to visit our website at http://www.njwildlifetrails.org.
Audubon Niagara Birding Trail
The Niagara birding trail extends over 100 miles from Woodlawn Beach State Park on Lake Erie past Four Mile Creek State Park on Lake Ontario. The trail follows the Niagara River corridor, and includes a stop to observe birds at the great waterfall itself. The route includes one of the prime wintertime gull locales in North America.
Contact: Buffalo Audubon, (585) 457-3228, or the Buffalo Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (716) 852-0511.
The Lake Champlain Birding Trail see listing under Vermont
The North Carolina Birding Trail
The North Carolina Birding Trail is a driving trail, linking great bird watching sites across the state with communities, businesses and other local historical and educational attractions. The Trail is being completed in three distinct components: the coastal plain, the piedmont, and the mountains. Guide books for each region are also being produced as each section is implemented. As of Spring 2007, the coastal plain region has been completed, with 102 sites identified across this region of the Trail. The coastal plain trail guide will be available by Summer 2007. Visit our website for ordering information and for on-line site descriptions, available for download. The piedmont region will be completed by Summer 2008, and the mountain region by Summer 2009.
Birding Drives Dakota
As a state with 62 National Wildlife Refuges (more than any other state!) North Dakota has a lot to offer-it’s one of those very special places left in the world. Our group, Birding Drives Dakota, is a unique coalition of communities working in concert with four of those refuges, and a host of other federal, state and local agencies, to promote birding and conservation. We have developed a network of birding trails or, as we are calling them here, birding drives, that encourage anyone interested in watching wildlife to go out and appreciate the richness of the Prairie Potholes. With North Dakota boasting more than 300 species of birds, specialty birds for our area include (but are not limited to!) the Baird’s Sparrow, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Sprague’s Pipit, and Sharp-tailed Grouse.
Bismarck-Mandan Birding Drive
Following the course of Lewis & Clark’s journey up the Missouri River, this new birding drive leads you through river floodplain woods, expansive prairies, and bird-rich wetlands to find an abundance of birds in the northern Great Plains. Ducks and geese, eagles and hawks, shorebirds and songbirds all abound in numbers and diversity as 3 birding routes lead you through remarkable landscapes described in Expedition journals 200 years ago. See why Lewis & Clark, Audubon, Sprague, visited this wildlife haven. Focus birds include Piping Plovers, Least Terns, Bald Eagles, Swainson’s Hawks, Sandhill Cranes, Wood Ducks, Wild Turkeys, Ring-necked Pheasants, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Gray Partridges, American White Pelicans, Hudsonian Godwits, Stilt Sandpipers, Marbled Godwits, Wilson’s Phalaropes, American Avocets, up to 15 species of ducks, Lazuli Buntings, and Red Crossbills. Burleigh County is a migration hotspot for seeing endangered Whooping Cranes. During winter, see Rough-legged Hawks, Golden Eagles, Snowy Owls, Snow Buntings, Northern Shrikes, Gray Partridges, Pine Siskins, and more.
Contact: Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1600 Burnt Boat Drive, Bismarck, ND 58456; for a free birding drive booklet, email [email protected] or telephone (800) 767-3555.
Central Dakota Birding Drive
At the center of the North American continent, the ebbs and flows of migrating, nesting, and wintering birds can be seen in an attractive rural environment far from the hustle of urban life. Three unique birding routes—the Antelope Lakes Route, Lone Tree Route, and Wintering River Route—lead you to remote wetlands, expansive grasslands, and the southern limit of the aspen parklands to witness an abundance and variety of birds. Photography opportunities abound, and you can enjoy hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, camping, and auto touring during your birding escapades in this outdoor wonderland. Focus birds include Upland Sandpipers, Piping Plovers, American Avocets, Wilson’s Phalaropes, Black Terns, Western and Clark’s Grebes, American White Pelicans, Swainson’s Hawks, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Eastern and Western Kingbirds, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Bobolinks, and the rare, but sought-after Yellow Rails, Baird’s Sparrows, LeConte’s Sparrows, and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows. During migration you can see flocks of Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese, Tundra Swans, an abundance of ducks including Canvasbacks, Harris’ Sparrows, an exciting variety of warblers and Arctic-nesting shorebirds, Rough-legged Hawks, and much more.
Contact: The Quad County Economic Development Corporation, P.O. Box 175, Drake, ND 58736; for a free birding drive booklet with maps and birding information, email [email protected] or telephone (701) 465-3825.
Medina-Chase Lake Birding Trail
Birding in central North Dakota can be a rich and rewarding experience for both the novice bird enthusiast and the seasoned life lister. The Medina-Chase Lake Birding Trail was designed to provide birders and bird enthusiasts with a representative range of habitats and birding experiences in the Prairie Pothole Region. This area consists of rolling hills of mixed-grass prairie and agricultural land, which is dotted with thousands of prairie pothole wetlands. Over 300 bird species have been seen in this area, and about 150 of those species have bred in the region. Because this region is centrally located within the continent, the area hosts bird species from eastern, western, southern, and northern North America. Spring and fall migration and the summer breeding season are excellent times to bird along the Medina-Chase Lake Birding Trail. The area is renowned for its waterfowl and shorebird migration and diverse summer breeding bird populations. Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge is home to the largest nesting colony of American White Pelicans on the continent. The region provides important breeding habitats for several seldom-seen North American birds, including Sharp-tailed Grouse, Spragues Pipits, Le Conte’s Sparrows, Nelsons Sharp-tailed Sparrows, Baird’s Sparrows, Chestnut-collared Longspurs, and many more species.
Contact: Chase Lake Foundation, P.O. Box 311, Medina, ND 58467
Steele Birding Drive
This new birding drive meanders through the Prairie-Pothole Region of Kidder County, North Dakota, considered the best birding destination in the northern Great Plains. Three detailed maps provide a route through rural landscape leading to 3 of the best national wildlife refuges in the Great Plains – Long Lake, Chase Lake, and Slade refuges. Chase Lake is one of the most remote refuges in the continental United States, and supports North America’s largest nesting population of American White Pelicans, numbering as many as 18,000 pairs.
See: Ferruginous and Swainson’s Hawks, Sprague’s Pipits, Franklin’s Gulls, Black Terns, Yellow Rails, Gray Partridges, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Bobolinks, Chestnut-collared Longspurs, Marbled Godwits, Upland Sandpipers, Wilson’s Phalaropes, Canvasbacks and 10 other species of ducks; more than a dozen native sparrows including Baird’s Sparrows, LeConte’s and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows. During migrations, see Harris’ Sparrows, Sandhill Cranes, Tundra Swans, huge flocks of Snow Geese, Ross’ and White-fronted Geese and many other birds. During winter, see such exciting birds as Snowy Owls, Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Shrikes, White-winged Crossbills, and Snow Buntings.
Contact: For a free booklet with 3 route maps, email [email protected] or telephone 701-475-2133.
Appalachian Discovery: Birding and Heritage Trail
Created by The Nature Conservancy, the local community and regional businesses, this trail is meant to showcase the natural and historical treasure of Southern Ohio. It is a 200-mile loop that stops at a wide variety of birding hotspots and significant historical sites like the Serpent Mound. This trail is best in the spring for migrating warblers as well as the summer for southern specialties in Ohio. But good birding can be had all year long. Interior to the trail is a 20 square barn quilt trail for those interested in Appalachian folk arts. Both these trails can be viewed at the web site, including birds you might expect to see, their life history’s, their songs, close up 360 degree pictures and maps of the sites.
Contact: Pete Whan at 937-544-2188 or [email protected]
Hocking Valley Birding Trail
Discover bird watching in the Hocking Hills. Nature Preserves, Ohio State Parks, Metro Parks, Ohio Wildlife areas and National Forests all make up the rugged and wild terrain of the Hocking Valley Region. Bird watchers and area agencies have come together to help bird enthusiasts discover the best of the best places in the Appalachian Hill country to find birds. The Hocking Valley Birding Trail organization is a group of professional biologists, naturalists and interested birders promoting wise birding practices and conservation for current and future generations to enjoy in the Hocking Valley Region of Southeastern Ohio. The HVBT, in partnership with government, private agencies, businesses and conservation organizations, builds its standards on a keen interest in the preservation of bird species and the education of all ages about the positive benefits of birds to earth’s diverse environment.
The Great Plains Trail of Oklahoma
Thirteen scenic driving loops highlight native wildlife, prairies, culture and terrain. Loops take the visitor through areas that provide the greatest likelihood to see wildlife (boasting 220 bird species), while offering routes that traverse the most scenic and remote roads in the state. For the birdwatcher, each loop has a recommended birding route detailing where to start at dawn and where to end at sunset with bathroom and eating breaks included. Each loop can be printed off the website or to receive the Trail road map go to www.travelok.com or call 1-800-652-6552.
Contact: Melynda Hickman, Wildlife Diversity Biologist, OK Dept. of Wildlife Conservation, 405-424-0099 or [email protected].
Coast Birding Trail
Around every curve, the stunningly beautiful Oregon coast landscape will compete for your attention as you search for the more than 450 birds that have been recorded in its habitats. On the outermost part of the trail where land meets the sea, explore sandy beaches, coastal dunes, tidal estuaries, and rocky tidepools. From the mainland, view birds nesting on coastal islands. Join a boat tour to go farther west for pelagic birds on the open Pacific. So grab your binoculars, a favorite field guide, and the Oregon Coast Birding Trail guide, and make us your next birding destination.
Klamath Basin Birding Trail
Welcome to one of the top birding hotspots in the Nation, where thousands of migratory birds arrive each spring and fall, swirling above majestic mountaintops in a captivating spectacle. Over 350 bird species inhabit the Klamath Basin—a mosaic of mountains, desert, grasslands, marshes, and lakes. The wide variety of habitat provides viewing opportunities of birds plus elk, deer, and antelope.
Situated on the Oregon/California state line, the Klamath Basin Birding Trail (KBBT) is approximately 300 miles long and highlights 47 birding sites within three major regions: the Cascade Mountains, Great Basin, and Northern California. Included are old growth, juniper and coniferous forests, sagebrush, grasslands, extensive wetlands, and the Pacific Northwest’s largest natural lake.
This area contains critical migratory stopover, nesting, and refueling sites for about 80% of the Pacific Flyway waterfowl funneling through the Basin. The largest concentration of wintering Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states make the Klamath Basin their home.
The KBBT features unique geological formations, culture, and history of the area. The birding trail loops through six National Wildlife Refuges, four National Forests, three State Wildlife Areas, and Klamath Falls City Parks. Outstanding features include world-famous Crater Lake National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, and the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway All American Road. Bring your binoculars, birding guides, and enjoy the sights!
Contact: Cindy Deas, Coordinator, Klamath Basin Birding Trail [email protected] or Great Basin Visitor Association, 1-800-445-6728 or 541-884-0666, 507 Main St., Klamath Falls, Oregon 97601 or KBBT Sponsoring Non-Profit, Klamath Wingwatchers, Inc., PO Box 251, Klamath Falls, Oregon 97601
Oregon Cascades Birding Trail
The first of several birding trails throughout the state, designed to showcase the region’s birds and spectacular scenery for local residents and visitors from around the globe. This website provides comprehensive resources on the trail, including the complete trail guide, with detailed maps and information on how the trail can be accessed and the birds you are likely to see while visiting it.
Contact: Audubon Society of Portland, (503) 292-6855, or Stephen
Shunk at (541) 549-8826.
Susquehanna River Birding and Wildlife Trail Guide
The Susquehanna River Birding and Wildlife Trail is a collection of locations where visitors can go to see birds and other wildlife in Pennsylvania. Locations include a mixture of habitat such as old growth forest, wetlands, riparian areas, lakes, grasslands and urban areas. A detailed guide provides descriptions to 218 locations in 39 counties, the majority of which fall within the Susquehanna watershed. The locations are as diverse as their amenities—with some locations offering a remote wilderness experience, while others fall within city boundaries.
Pennsylvania’s geographic location provides year round bird watching opportunities—from spectacular fall raptor migrations, including some of the highest golden eagle counts east of the Mississippi River to over 180 summer breeding birds, to winter waterfowl and spring songbird migration.
Other wildlife also abounds, including opportunities to view wild elk, black bear, white tailed deer and a variety of other wildlife species.
The guide sells for $9.00 and is available from Audubon Pennsylvania by sending a check to Bird Guide, Audubon Pennsylvania, 100 Wildwood Way, Harrisburg, PA 17110.
A searchable database containing all of the locations can be found on www.pabirdingtrails.org
Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail
Upper Texas Coast
Central Texas Coast
Lower Texas Coast
Often called the father of the birding trail movement, the Texas coastal trail was the first-and at approximately 2,110 miles-still the longest birding trail. It links 310 sites and 41 counties along Texas’s Gulf Coast, providing a colorful road map to well over half of the 600 species found in the state (3 maps available).
Heart of Texas Wildlife Trail
The Heart of Texas Wildlife Trail, linking 238 sites, is scheduled for completion by summer 2003 (3 maps available).
Panhandle Wildlife Trail
The Panhandle Plains Wildlife Trails (High Plains Wildlife Trail), linking 97 sites, is scheduled for completion by spring/summer 2003 (2 maps available).
Prairies and Pineywoods Wildlife Trail
Nominations are being assessed now for the recently-funded Prairies and Pineywoods Wildlife Trail with completion scheduled for 2004.
Contact (for all Texas trails): Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. Wildlife Diversity Program, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin TX 78744; (888) 892-4737
Great Salt Lakes Birding Trails
The multiple birding sites linked by these northern Utah trails are as varied as the terrain, extending from the Great Salt Lake to the alpine area of the Wasatch Mountains. The lake itself, a vital part of the Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network, can be packed with American Avocets, American White Pelicans, and Wilson’s Phalaropes; the mountains can be summer home to White-throated Swift, Clark’s Nutcracker, and Western Tanager.
Contact: Wasatch Audubon, (801)621-7595
Eastern Utah Birding Trails
Southwest Utah Birding Trails
UT Birding Trail App for iPhone and iPad: click here
This project is dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and their habitats. The current map highlights 46 special places in the Upper Connecticut River Valley, exemplifying a wide variety of habitats and wildlife. The trail currently extends from Woodsville, NH to Rockingham, VT and includes sites east and west in the Connecticut River’s watershed. The plan is to map the entire watershed from the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, where this trail would link up to the developing Connecticut Coastal Birding Trail. Organizers are also working to include more natural history information (butterflies, dragonflies, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, wildflowers, trees, etc.) in each of the site’s data banks. More phases of the map should be available mid-April 2004.
Contact: Bill Shepard, 104 Railroad Row, White River Junction VT 05001; (802) 291-9100 ext. 107
The Lake Champlain Birding Trail
This trail is a highway-based trail (approximately 300 miles) that unifies and connects 87 birding sites along the Lake Champlain shoreline and uplands in Vermont and New York into a cohesive and marketable unit. A high quality, full color map and guide identifies birding sites throughout the Lake Champlain Basin and provides information about the sites and tips for better birding. Uniform way-finding signs are installed to identify each site as part of the birding trail. Interpretive signs will also be placed at sites to help reveal to visitors various natural and cultural history themes and messages. Other enhancements being constructed at some sites include boardwalks, viewing blinds, and platforms.
Contact: Mary Jeanne Packer, P.O. Box 196, Poultney VT 05764; (802) 287-4284
Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
The Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail (VBWT) was the first statewide wildlife viewing trail ever developed. It contains over 635 viewing sites organized into 65 driving loops and offers an incredible diversity of habitats to explore, from the marshes and water trails of Virginia’s Coastal Plain, to the open rolling hills of the Piedmont, to the high elevation forests of the Appalachian Mountains. Each driving loop is designed to take 2-3 days to complete. Visit the VBWT website at www.dgif.virginia.gov/vbwt/ to find loop maps, site descriptions, driving directions, and tourism contacts in each local community for lodging, food and other services. For interactive maps of the VBWT and to search for birds and wildlife of particular interest, please visit Find Wildlife VA at http://vafwis.dgif.virginia.gov/findwildlifeva/#/findWildlife.
For More Information about the VBWT, please contact: Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, P.O. Box 90778, Henrico, VA 23228; 804-367-1000; [email protected].
The first birding trail in Wisconsin is the Oak Leaf Birding Trail, which includes more than 35 stops in the Milwaukee County Parks system, covering territory from the Lake Michigan shore, to the botanical gardens, to local nature preserves. Bird species range from Bonaparte’s Gull, to American Woodcock, to Dickcissel. The trail is a particularly fine introduction to birding for urban residents. A much larger proposal, the Great Wisconsin Birding Trail is in the works, however, one which would include four loops: the current Oak Leaf, and Great River, Horicon, and Ozaukee Interurban.
Contact: Susan Foote-Martin, State of Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resource, (608) 266-0545 or Wehr Nature Center, (414) 425-8550.
Great River Birding Trail see listing under Minnesota
Great Washington Birding Trail (the Cascade Loop, Coulee Corridor Scenic Byway, Southwest Loop, Olympic Loop)
Washington State has completed six birding trails (Cascade Loop, Coulee Corridor, Olympic Loop, Palouse to Pines Loop, Southwest Loop, Sun & Sage Loop) and the Puget Loop is now under construction
Contact: Christi Norman, Birding Trail Program Director, Audubon Washington, 1063 Capital Way South Suite 208, Olympia, WA 98501-1200; 360-786-8020 x 202
WA Birding Trail App for iPhone and iPad: click here
The Saskatchewan Bird Trail (in process)
This project is still in the planning stages. The steering committee for the trail has proposed four tour loops (Fall Migration Tour, Park Tour, Regina/Last Mountain, Saskatoon/Lloydminster), which have high potential for development. The aim is to link key biotic sites (with such species as American White Pelican, Piping Plover, and Burrowing Owl) to local communities and urban anchors.
Contact: Nolan Matthies, Saskatchewan Wetland Conservation Corporation, 2022 Cornwall Street (Suite 101), Regina, Saskatchewan Canada S4P 2K5; (306) 787-0726.