A Birder's ParadiseBig Bend's location, near the 100th meridian in the middle of the continent and along a migration route, is ideal for bird diversity throughout the year. Northern species migrate here for the warm winter climate, while birds from the tropics range this far north to breed in the spring. One of Big Bend's highlights, the Colima warbler, is found exclusively in the United States in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park from April to September.
The park has a variety of excellent birding locations because of its multiplicity of habitats including open desert, riparian river corridor and desert springs, moist forested canyons and woodlands of pinyon-oak-juniper, and the transition zones in between these areas.
Patience, a good field guide, and knowledge of where to look are the keys to locating the birds of Big Bend. A checklist of birds is available for purchase at any visitor center and is a great aid in determining which species are likely to be present, and the habitats where they are found.
A visit to any of these key habitats will provide good opportunities to observe a variety of birds.
Observations/DocumentationPark visitors are often our eyes and ears for rare or unique bird sightings. If you see something worth recording (a bird listed as rare, sporadic, or otherwise not listed on the park's checklist), please stop in at a visitor center and fill out an observation report. Be sure to record all pertinent information such as a overall description of the bird, activity or behavioral comments, habitat, time of day, and possibly the most important: the exact location of where the bird was seen.
Did You Know?
Near Cerro Castellan in Big Bend National Park are several lava necks that cooled and hardened in vents from which lava probably flowed. The largest and most spectacular of these has often been mistaken for a petrified tree. More...