Want to enjoy some great bird watching this fall? Do as the birds do and migrate to some of America’s best autumn birding sites. These locations and festivals span the country and make for great vacation destinations as the temperatures cool.
Canaveral National Seashore; Titusville, Florida
Just south of Daytona, the Canaveral National Seashore is a sliver along the Atlantic Coast. The area is pay-to-enter, so it’s very secluded and quiet, making it an excellent area for birding. The majority of birds, here, are wetland or water birds. You should expect to see gulls, pelicans, and egrets, but look out for rarities of these kinds. White pelicans come from the Rockies to winter here; the wood stork, Florida’s most endangered wading bird, nests here; CNS is also one of only two breeding sites for the reddish egret. In addition to these special finds, CNS also plays hosts to migrating raptors, merlins, and peregrine falcons.
Any coastal town in Texas will sate your needs for excellent birding in the fall, but as the host of the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, Harlingen stands out. Located in the very southern delta where the Rio Grande meets the Gulf of Mexico, Harlingen hosts to a wide variety of tropical birds. The festival website boasts pictures of birds you’ve probably never seen before, like the Great Kiskadee and the Chachalaca. If you choose to attend the festival, there are guided field trips and seminars available to you. If you want to skip the hubbub and get right to the birding, avoid the festival time or visit South Padre Island or the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. If you have your passport, Monterrey, Mexico, just over the border, also has good birding.
Southeastern Arizona offers great birding year-round, but the weather in the fall is perfect for being outdoors and spotting feathered rarities. Four different biomes meet in this corner of the state, bringing together their unique species. The Sky Island region, which spans the corners of Arizona, Mexico, and New Mexico, is a top destination. Swarms of hummingbirds are a highlight of the Sky Islands. Sierra Vista, located at the foot of Huachuca Mountains is a good base-site for your birding vacation.
Midwest Birding Symposium; Lakeside, Ohio
Located at the crossroads of the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, Lake Erie acts as both a roadblock and a rest stop to hundreds of migratory bird species. The area has a huge diversity of habitats; for the bird watcher, this means that traveling from one site to another produces a completely new bird watching experience. Like the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, this Midwest Birding Symposium offers an impressive selection of field trips and speakers. The top draws of the festival are shorebirds and songbirds. In the fall, the tall trees in the area become home to thrushes, warblers, and other songbirds. The well-maintained marshes, swamps, and beaches of the lake are ideal for gulls, terns, and divers.