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Birding Along the Texas Coast -- The coastal plains of Texas are a haven for birds. The area is rich in resident species and is the winter home to many more. It offers a variety of habitats -- freshwater and saltwater marshes, tidal zones, prairies, and woodlands -- and abundant food sources. It's also smack in the middle of the great flyway for birds migrating from the northern parts of the U.S. and Canada to Central and South America. On their southward journey this is the last chance for R & R before they have to hop the Gulf of Mexico, and on the return it's the first landfall.

All of this is why the Texas Gulf Coast attracts lots of birders and sponsors several birding events. The reader can take for granted that throughout there are plenty of birding opportunities, even when none is specifically mentioned. The best times to visit are during the migration seasons and in winter. Most of the annual events are held in the Brazosport and the Corpus Christi areas. Here are a few highlights: The towns of Lake Jackson and Rockport hold festivals for viewing hummingbirds (lots of them) when they pass through here in September. Also in late September or early October local birders in Corpus hold the annual hawk count at Hazel Bazemore County Park, where tens of thousands of raptors of various species fly through here following the Nueces River. And in April Brazosport holds its annual Migration Celebration, when local birders serve as guides on birding walks. For specific information you can contact local visitor centers. The state publishes three helpful maps called "The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail," one for each section of the Texas coast. These list 300 viewing sites and give driving directions and descriptions for each. Call tel. 888/900-2577 or check out the maps at the following website: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/wildlife_trails/coastal.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.