Songbirds Are Coming Home
The songbirds are flying home. We know swallows come back to Capistrano every year—an old song tells us that—but Gulf Coast birders hum their own songs every spring when warblers, orioles, grosbeaks, tanagers, and many other migrating flocks come back from their winter homes in Mexico, Central America and South America. The melody makers wing it over hundreds of miles of the Gulf of Mexico until they reach land. They’re looking for trees and brush, bugs and berries. Birders and binoculars are waiting. Expensive cameras on tripods are pre-focused and hoping rapid-fire shutters capture a birding magazine cover.
Nourished again, the migrating birds fly out to points north where the summer weather is most suitable. Their instincts tell them where to go and primarily follow one of four major flyways—Pacific, Central, Mississippi, and Atlantic—where the weather suits their feathers.
Best Viewing Areas on the Gulf Coast
So where, exactly, are the best viewing areas on the Gulf Coast to watch the songbirds migrate? Audubon Club websites for various gulf coast areas have it nailed. Fort DeSoto Park at the entrance to Tampa Bay is a biggie. Also, check out birding festivals in late April and May. Corpus Christi, which owns the moniker of America’s “Birdiest City,” puts on the “Birdiest Festival” April 20-23. Galveston FeatherFest Birding & Nature Photo Festival is April 17-22. The Cajun Coast of Louisiana is ground zero for the Mississippi River Flyway, so birding there is amazing. The Grand Isle Migratory Bird Celebration is April 21-23. The Annual Great Louisiana BirdFest in Mandeville is April 13-15.
Galveston Feather Fest
Birdiest Festival in America
Grand Isle Bird Festival
Northlake Nature Center
By Bill AuCoin, Southern Boating April 2018
Photo Courtesy of Robert Mohivel, GalvestonCVB