Galveston Island is one of the top locations in the country for birding. It has a rich variety of habitats - beaches, wetlands, grasslands, woods, ponds, and bays - in a small area that are home to many common year-round species, as well as numerous others that visit briefly or for part of the year.
Birds visit en-route from and to Central and South America, north in the spring, south in the fall. Most pass on through after stopping for food and rest, but some spend their summers on the Island and breed locally. Galveston in fact sits astride the 95th meridian, the dead center of the trans-Gulf migration route, and is just at the point in the circum-Gulf route where many birds veer northward.
The Island is also an important wintering ground for numerous species that spend most of the year farther north.
More than 300 bird species may be seen throughout the year somewhere on the Island.
During FeatherFest, over 200 species are typical, such as common year-round birds, spring migrants and late wintering birds.
Galveston Island Birding Tours
The Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council has organized a team of naturalist volunteers to escort media groups, teachers and other similar groups on tours of Island birding hot spots. This is a community service project for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and helps spread the word that birding in the area is among the best in the USA.
Galveston Island Great Birding Guide
The Nature Tourism Council, in partnership with the Park Board, developed a guide to the area’s top birding locations. Different birding habitats such as beaches and bays, bay marshes and wetlands, coastal prairies and upland wood motts are described in detail. A map and seasonal checklist of birds sighted are also included. Click here to download a PDF of the Great Birding guide, or pick one up from tourism brochure racks throughout southeast Texas.
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