East Texas Birds, Birding, and Bird Watching


East Texas birds, birding, birdwatching

We love bird watching, and East Texas is a great place for that interest! Birds appeal to our appreciation of diversity and beauty, and birdwatching provides a great opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.

Plus, you don't have to be rich to be a birder, as you only need a pair of binoculars, and possibly an identification guide and checklist.

Although the Texas Gulf Coast remains a prime bird watching territory, the mild winters in Tyler and East Texas provide great opportunities to watch winter migrants.

And year-round the diversity of the East Texas forests, lakes and wetlands provides a valuable habitat for permanent bird residents.

East Texas Birding Venues

The Texas Bird Records Committee has recognized 636 species as Texas Birds. But where are good birding sites, besides the backyard?

East Texas features many state parks, lakes, wildlife preserves, and arboretums that are great sites for birding. The diversity of habitats, wetlands, hardwood forests and environments offer food and shelter for numerous species of songbirds and waterfowl. For example, Caddo Lake State Park and Caddo Lake Wildlife Refuge near Marshall are home to more than 200 species of birds. Other popular sites include Tyler State Park, Lake Tyler and Camp Tyler, and Lake Palestine.

More than 220 species have been recorded at Camp Tyler, and many birds that are rare in east Texas have put in brief appearances there, including Roseate Spoonbill, Cinnamon Teal, Crested Caracara, Peregrine Falcon, White-winged Dove, Golden-winged, Palm, Cerulean, Worm-eating, and Swainson's Warblers, Blackpoll, Lazuli Bunting, American Tree Sparrow, and Smith's Longspur.

Tyler State ParkTyler State Park

The Mineola Nature Preserve consists of 2,911 acres on Loop 564 along the Sabine River, and has facilities including wetlands, numerous hiking and equestrian trails, bee hives, extraordinary bird-watching, and more for the outdoor enthusiast. More than a dozen man-made ponds are located on the property as well as walking trails and pavilions.

The Mineola preserve is home to 193 species of birds, wildlife, buffalo and longhorn cattle. Pullen Pond at the preserve includes water habitats and outdoor classrooms that can be used as teaching opportunities: small ponds, waterfalls and dams, a running stream, wetlands, and deep water and shallow water concepts.

The Big Thicket National Preserve near Kountze has over 112,000 acres of forests, creeks and rivers. The preserve supports a diversity of migratory songbirds such as hooded warblers and yellow-throated vireos, and resident brown-headed nuthatches, Bachman's sparrows and endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers.

Other popular East Texas sites include Faulkner Park, Lake Fork, Old Sabine Bottoms WMA, Lake Bob Sandlin, Toledo Bend Reservoir, and Caddo Lake. Also, many birders frequent Lake O' the Pines, Bellwood Lake in west Tyler, and the Texas Fresh Water Fisheries in Athens. Visit the website of the Tyler Audubon Society for more information on birding sites, field trips and species.

Also, the City of Lufkin has produced a well done Deep East Texas Birding Guide.

But you don't have to travel far to enjoy birdwatching as there are usually many species to be seen in your own backyard. All you have to do is hang a few bird feeders, setup bird houses and maybe Bluebird boxes ... you will have plenty of birds!

Common East Texas Bird Species

We see, and hear, a variety of species in our backyard gardens and when visiting various birding sites in East Texas:

Cardinal
Kestrel
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
Mockingbird
Carolina Wren
Brown Headed Cowbird
Cedar Waxwing
Black-capped Chickadee
Robin
Indigo Bunting
Brown Thrasher
Roadrunner
Painted Bunting
House Sparrow
Summer Tanager
Blackbird
White Throated Sparrow
Yellow-Breasted Chat
Mourning Dove
Tufted Titmouse
Yellow Rumped Warbler
Red Tailed Hawk
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Red-Headed Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pine Siskin
Nuthatch
Flicker
Pine Warbler
Crow
American Goldfinch
Chuck Wills Widow
Eastern Bluebird
Dark-Eyed Junco
Baltimore Oriole
Great Blue Heron
Ruby Crowned Kinglet
House Finch
Ruby Throated Hummingbird
  Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Bird Guides and Resources

Nature reference libraryPart of our nature reference library

Some of our favorite birding guides and bird reference books include the following:

  • Field Guide to the Birds of North America, by National Geographic
  • All the Birds of North America, by the American Bird Conservancy
  • North American Birdfeeder Handbook
  • Peterson Field Guide of Eastern Birds
  • Golden Field Identification of the Birds of North America

There are hundreds of excellent websites devoted to birding, but some of our favorites, and highly recommended, include the Tyler Audubon Society, the Texas Ornithological Society, and the American Birding Association.

East Texas Birds

Included below are photographs of common birds sighted in East Texas. The gallery is built from photos taken by the staff of this website, and from public domain photos courtesy of our birding friends at Flickr. And be sure to view our sections on East Texas Hummingbirds and East Texas Butterflies.

 

Male Cardinal, head on view ... Tyler, Texas
Male Cardinal, head on view ... Tyler, Texas
Source: Staff Photo

Male Cardinal, up close and personal ... Tyler, Texas
Male Cardinal, up close and personal ... Tyler, Texas
Source: Staff Photo

Female Cardinal, feeding in winter ... Tyler, Texas
Female Cardinal, feeding in winter... Tyler, Texas
Source: Staff Photo

Summer Tanager
Summer Tanager

Male House Finch
Male House Finch
Source: Staff Photo

Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler
Source: Staff Photo

American Goldfinch in the feeder ... Tyler Texas
Goldfinch in the Feeder ... Tyler Texas, January 2014
Source: Staff Photo

American Goldfinch in the feeder, with a warbler watching nearby ... East Texas
Goldfinch in the feeder, with a warbler watching nearby ... East Texas, January 2014
Source: Staff Photo

Yellow Rumped Warbler
Yellow Rumped Warbler

Eastern Phoebe ... an excellent fly catcher, and fun to watch!
Eastern Phoebe

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet ... a tiny winter migrant, not much larger than a hummingbird!
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

The classic view of the Tufted Titmouse ... Tyler Texas
The classic view of the Titmouse ... Tyler Texas, January 2014
Source: Staff Photo

Black Capped Chickadee
Black Capped Chickadee
Source: Staff Photo

White Breasted Nuthatch ... likes to wander up and down tree trunks upside down!
White Breasted Nuthatch

Dark-Eyed Junco in East Texas ... always glad to see this winter migrant
Junco in East Texas ... always glad to see this winter migrant!
Source: Staff Photo
Junco showing its pinkish beak
Junco chowing down on corn, in East Texas in winter
Source: Staff Photo
Dark-Eyed Junco ... head view ... in East Texas in winter
Junco ... head view ... in East Texas in winter
Source: Staff Photo

White Throated Sparrow with its yellow-streaked head ... a familiar winter migrant to East Texas
White Throated Sparrow ... a familiar winter migrant to East Texas
Source: Staff Photo

Cedar Waxwing ... oflten seen in flocks dining on berries on holly bushes and cedar trees
Cedar Waxwing
Source: USFWS

Fluffed-up Mourning Dove trying to stay warm on an East Texas snow day
Fluffed-up Mourning Dove trying to stay warm on an East Texas snow day
Source: Staff Photo

Mourning Dove, up close, always alert, in East Texas
Mourning Dove, up close, in East Texas
Source: Staff Photo

Pileated Woodpecker ... a beautiful, large bird, up to 16 inches in length
Pileated Woodpecker in East Texas
Source: Staff Photo

Downy Woodpecker (L) with Red-Bellied Woodpecker (R)
Red Bellied Woodpecker, with Downy Woodpecker
Source: Staff Photo

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker ... working the holes in the tree trunk
Yellow  Bellied Sapsucker

Red-Headed Woodpecker ... a classic woodpecker
Red-Headed Woodpecker
Source: Susan Young

Northern Flicker ... showing its exquisite markings and colors
Northern Flicker
Source: Susan Young

Texas Roadrunner ... a large bird with its unmistakable shape and running ability!
Texas Roadrunner
Source: Staff Photo

Texas Roadrunner: Camo at its best!
Texas Roadrunner
Source: Staff Photo

Texas Bluejay
Texas Blue Jay
Source: Staff Photo

Male Eastern Bluebird scouting out a new box
Male Bluebird scouting out a new box
Source: Staff Photo

 

Four perfect Bluebird eggs in a nest in East Texas
Four perfect Bluebird eggs in a nest in East Texas
Source: Staff Photo

Bluebirds on the birdbath on a hot summer day in East Texas
Bluebirds in East Texas
Source: Staff Photo

Ruby-throated Hummingbird ... a commonly sighted bird from March through October
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Source: Hummingbird Central Staff Photo

Male Painted Bunting with its magnificent coloration!
Male Painted Bunting
Source: Susan Young

Female Painted Bunting ... totally different colors than the male, but incredibly beautiful!
Female Painted Bunting
Source: Susan Young

Indigo Bunting ... its irridescent blue is very unique!
Indigo Bunting
Source: Colleen

Belted Kingfisher ... often seen perched on branches or utility lines over water waiting for a fish to dine on!
Belted Kingfisher
Source: Susan Young

Carolina Wren ... a small bird with a loud voice, and an inquisitive nature!
Carolina Wren

Loggerhead Shrike ... likes to perch on fences awaiting its next prey, which it pulls apart with its hooked beak
Loggerhead Shrike

Northern Mockingbird, the officlal State of Texas bird ... master singer and bug catcher
Northern Mockingbird

Brown Thrasher ... in the same Mimidae family as the Mockingbird ... loves to sing, but somewhat a loner!
Brown Thrasher

Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher ... beautiful, large bird often seen perched on power lines or fence posts waiting to swoop down on an insect
Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher

American Robin
American Robin
Source: Wagon

A questioning sparrow in East Texas
A questioning sparrow, in East Texas
Source: Staff Photo

Fluffed-up sparrow on a cold winter day in East Texas
Fluffed-up sparrow on a cold day in the East Texas winter
Source: Staff Photo

Hawk patiently waiting prey, south of Tyler Texas
Hawk south of Tyler Texas
Source: Staff Photo

Baltimore Oriole on hummingbird feeder in Tyler Texas
photo of Baltimore Oriole on hummingbird feeder in Tyler Texas
Source: Staff Photo

Brown-Headed Cowbird ... lays its eggs in the nests of other birds ... follows herds of cattle seeking insects
Brown-Headed Cowbird
Source: KSBlack

 

 

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