Birding Hot Spots
Big Thicket National Preserve was selected as a "Globally Important Bird Area" by the American Bird Conservancy in July 2001. This designation underscores the significance of the Big Thicket and the importance of preserving habitat for avifauna in this region of Texas
Spring bird migrations peak between late March and early May in and around the preserve. Dense tree canopies throughout much of the preserve create a challenge for bird watchers and make sightings even more rewarding. Knowing the birds by their calls is very helpful in the Big Thicket. The last reported sighting of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the Big Thicket area was May 1971; it is now officially listed as extinct.
Big Thicket National Preserve is part of "The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail - Upper Texas Coast." The Upper Texas Coast map of this trail lists the Big Thicket Loop with 19 stops. Look for the "bird in flight" road signs which mark the trail.
Birdwatcher's Trail: Panoramic views from high bluffs of expansive sandbars on the east bank of the Trinity River. This site offers good birding opportunities for shorebirds, raptors, and migrant songbirds.
Collin's Pond: Collin's Pond is an old watering hole located at the head of the Woodland's Trail in the Big Sandy Creek Unit. It is good habitat for a variety of song birds and waterfowl, such as thrushes, warblers, herons, and egrets.
Cook’s Lake: Cook’s Lake is a backwater slough just to the north of Pine Island Bayou near the confluence with the Neches River. You will need a boat - preferably a canoe or kayak. This is a visually exciting area, the swamp and floodplain forest communities provide great habitat for herons, egrets, raptors, and swallows.
Kirby Nature Trail: Several loop trails meander through slope forest, baygall, floodplain, and cypress sloughs with access to the arid Sandhill loop across Village Creek. Diverse habitat's welcome warblers, vireos, woodpeckers and resident song birds.
McQueen's Landing: This small boat launch area just below Steinhagen Reservoir has been a good viewing area for bald eagles in the winter.
Pitcher Plant Trail: This short, wheelchair accessible trail takes you through wetland savannah and upland pine habitats with great access to a floodplain community by connecting to the Turkey Creek Trail. Look forwoodpeckers and warblers.
Sundew Trail: Open and park-like wetland savannah is good habitat for pine warblers and brown headed nuthatches. The Bachman's sparrow is an occasional resident in this habitat.
Teel Road: Scenic cypress sloughs along Teel Road supports habitat for a variety of warblers, thrushes, vireos and wading birds during spring migration.