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Bird Watching

American Goldfinch / Ellis Burkhardt © More than 400 species of birds have been documented in Brazoria County, with many of these found on the Texas Mid-coast refuges. Designated an Internationally Significant Shorebird Site by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge is a must-see for any birder interested in shorebirds, waterbirds and nearctic-neotropical migrants.

Dowitchers, dunlins, lesser yellowlegs, semipalmated and western sandpipers can best be seen in the spring between mid-March and mid-May and in the fall between July and September. Twenty-four species of ducks and four species of geese winter on the refuge and can be seen October through March. Sandhill cranes are found in large numbers among the managed wetlands including Rail Pond, Mocassin Pond and the Wolfweed Wetlands during winter months as well. During spring and fall, with the greatest concentrations occurring during the months of April and May, birders may view dozens of species of migrating songbirds within just a couple of hours as the birds move through the area. Fall migrations are not as concentrated but offer excellent birding opportunities as well.

Wading Birds
Most wading bird species can be seen year-round, with larger concentrations and more diversity fall through spring. Herons, ibis, sandpipers, stilts, and other wading and shorebirds are common. Several uncommon marsh and water birds such as roseate spoonbills, reddish egrets, white-faced ibis, wood storks and American bitterns are found on the refuge during the year.

In fall, the raptor population skyrockets at San Bernard, with merlins, white-tailed hawks, Northern harriers, red-tail and broad-wing hawks. American kestrels and peregrine falcons can occupy trees, snags, and fence posts. The refuge supports Mississippi kites, crested caracaras, Harris’s hawks, and bald eagles throughout the year. 
Page Photo Credits — American Goldfinch / Ellis Burkhardt ©
Last Updated: Oct 17, 2013
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