Center of the Trans-Gulf Migration Route
Birds visit en-route from and to Central and South America, north in the spring, south in the fall. 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.
In addition to our migrating guests, the island is home to many common year-round species, each seeking its favorite habitats – beaches, wetlands, grasslands, woods, ponds, and bays – all defined by elevation (measured in inches!), tides, and salinity. To see the greatest diversity of birds, we invite you to explore all these zones.
Our shore birds include the plovers, sandpipers, herons, and egrets. Water birds such as ducks, geese, grebes, loons, cormorants, and pelicans can be seen in the Gulf, Bay, tidal marshes, freshwater ponds, and East End Lagoon. Owls, hawks, osprey, falcons, and other predators can be found hunting the coastal prairies. Look for Magnificent Frigatebirds above the bay.
We’ve mapped out the best spots on and near the island. Many of our locations are on the Great Texas Birding Trail, but we have a few secrets they don’t know about.
Spring brings many exotic migrants like Indigo Bunting, Sarlet Tanager, and Baltimore Oriole. Fall brings the Sandhill Cranes and others. Many spend the winter with us.