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 Texas Birds in the Rio Grande Valley – Birding in South Texas

The counties of Starr, Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy, also known as the Rio Grande Valley, make up the best Texas bird watching area in North America. There are more than 500 species of birds in Texas and the whole North America American Birding Association area has 914 bird species. The Rio Grande Valley has more than 50 native birds that are found nowhere else in the United States. Other birds pass through the area during seasonal migrations – all which make South Texas a hot spot for the richest and most diverse birding experience in the United States and Canada.

The area’s ecosystem is outstanding because of many factors, including the intersection of desert and tropical vegetation zones, the mix of ocean and fresh water resources, forest, bush, grassland, desert and sand dune, and its location under the confluence of the major eastern and central migration flyways.

The Rio Grande Valley has 80 great bird watching sites, with more being added each year; so birders from all over the world flock to this special area to enjoy birding and to fill their lists of Texas birds they’ve seen.

South Texas Birding Parks

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

Alamo, Texas

956-784-7500

www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/santana.html

Described as the jewel of the U.S. National Wildlife system, this 2,088-acre sanctuary along the winding Rio Grande, with its extensive hiking trail system, is the top bird watching spot in South Texas. It attracts 150,000 to 200,000 visitors a year but is never crowded. The refuge also has a productive butterfly garden perfect for butterfly watching. There are also great feeders pointed that attracts Green Jays, Inca Doves, Buff-bellied Hummingbirds, and many other Texas birds. Santa Ana is also known for many sightings of rarities. In addition to South Texas mesquite brush and resacas, Santa Ana offers the best example of riparian forest remaining along the Rio Grande.

Valley Nature Center

Weslaco, Texas

956-969-2475

www.valleynaturecenter.org

The center is one of the oldest Texas wildlife centers in the Rio Grande Valley. This 6- acre park offers the greatest diversity of flora in the Rio Grande Valley, and therefore also the greatest diversity of butterflies – perfect for butterfly watching. It’s also very good for bird watching, and for spotting some interesting odonates. The center is excellent in native plant nursery. Membership is available and keeps you in touch with the latest happenings in the Rio Grande Valley and Texas wildlife.

World Birding Center

Rio Grande Valley

956-585-1107

www.worldbirdingcenter.org

The World Birding Center is an organization with numerous Rio Grande Valley locations. From the western dry-lands of Starr County to the sandy shores of South Padre Island, the World Birding Center locations bring together a new appreciation of the Rio Grande Valley’s culture by expanding and maintaining our wildlife refuges and historic landmarks.

More Birding Spots in the Rio Grande Valley

To subscribe to Texbirds, our Texas birder information list service which is updated by numerous Texas and visiting birders, and monitored by serious birders worldwide, e-mail a message to texbirds@listserv.uh.edu with the message “Subscribe Texbirds (your_name)” in the subject of the e-mail.