Your Guide to Birding in Galveston, Texas
Galveston Island is one of the best places in the country for birding. The area has abundant bird species and various habitats, making the variety matchless. Here is your guide for birding in Galveston.
Why Birding in Galveston Is the Best
Galveston is home to various habitats, including beaches, grasslands, wetlands, woods, bays and ponds. This offers an array of different types of birds, both native and migratory. The area is also in the middle of the 95th meridian and the trans-Gulf migration route, meaning it is a significant region for birds to stop before veering north. There are over 300 species throughout the year and during the annual FeatherFest, over 200 species of birds are commonly seen.
What Is Birding?
Birding is the number one sport in America. Birding is the active search for birds and observing them for recreational purposes or citizen science. While bird watching is looking at birds, birding is looking for birds. If you are birding at Galveston Island, you are visiting specific locations hoping to see a particular species at an exact time of the year.
How to Go Birding in the Area
The Galveston region offers many ways to view birds. Traverse the various hiking trails, walk along the beach, go for a self-guided tour by car or join the multitude of guided tours by vehicle or boat. Here are some of the areas you can go birding.
1. West Galveston
When heading west, you will encounter various ponds, marshes and bushes that offer unique bird varieties. Recommended stops in the area include:
- Moody Gardens
- 8 Mile Road & Sportsman Road
- 7½ Mild Road
- Lafitte’s Cove
2. Urban Galveston
Urban areas are often forgotten and can offer a wide range of spots for birders to explore. Urban locations to visit include:
- The Visitor Center
- Kempner Park
- Piers 19-21
- Offatts Bayou, Lee and Joe Jamali Bay Park
3. Far West Galveston
The far western regions offer a multitude of coastal and water birds. Sites to visit include:
- Galveston Island State Park
- Jamaica Beach
- Dos Vacas Muertas Bird Sanctuary
- San Luis Pass
4. East Galveston
The eastern part is just as much a birder’s paradise as the rest of the island. Recommended sites include:
- Corp Woods Nature Sanctuary
- Apffel Park Road and East Beach
- Fort San Jacinto Historic Point
- Boddeker Road
A Quick Guide to Galveston Birding
Birding is a fun activity, no matter your knowledge or skill level of identifying birds. Here is a quick guide to ensure you are ready for your birding adventure:
Pack your binoculars, notebook and pen, field guidebook or app, hat and sunscreen. A camera is a bonus, even if it is a smartphone one.
2. Observation Notes
There are details you see in the field that you may forget when heading back to the campground. Observe, sketch and take notes before the bird flies away or your view gets obscured.
3. Bird Anatomy
With the various species in the area, it is a great idea to familiarize yourself with the general anatomy of birds. They come in different shapes, sizes, colors and plumage. Ensuring you know the anatomy terms helps you identify the birds with your field guide.
Even birds that look similar have different calls — knowing them may help you identify the bird. There are plenty of apps, online video resources and recordings you can use to familiarize yourself with the bird sounds before you even leave the house. Mobile apps can remind you of the calls while you are birding.
5. Size and Shapes
Viewing a bird in the distance or with binoculars may make it difficult to judge their size. Try to use common birds as a benchmark to help you get an idea of their size. For example, knowing the bird you are observing is smaller than a crow and larger than a robin can help you identify the bird correctly. Take note of the shape of beaks, tails and wings — these are often telling in identifying the variety or species.
Birds are fascinating creatures. Their feathers can vary with the seasons, from male or female, from nestlings to adults. Knowing these variations allows you to identify and distinguish the birds correctly.
7. Bird Behaviors
Behaviors are also a great way to determine the bird type. Observe whether the bird is solitary or in a group and how it flies, eats, rests, walks or perches. All of these characteristics can assist with identification.
Plan Your Birding Trip and Book Your Stay at Galveston Island KOA
Start your birding adventure by booking at Galveston Island KOA Holiday. Our campground is the perfect place to stay when you are looking for Galveston Island wildlife. We are situated near the beach, offer pristine amenities and have a variety of ways to stay — from Deluxe Cabins to spacious RV Sites. Book your stay today!