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What are the Best Birding Places in the USA?

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Mambastar    0

     I have been to quite a few great birding places like Sanibel Island, Florida; Indiana Dunes National Park; Wyoming (A LONGGGGG time ago); and Pennsylvania, but I would like to know some great places to go birding, maybe somewhere around Indiana but it doesn't have to be. Maybe a possible island like Oahu (on Hawaii.) I'm just wondering so I could plan a trip. That would be great! Thanks!!! :)

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JimBob    10204

The great thing about birding is that it can be done anywhere. Goose Pond FWA comes to mind when I think of Indiana. 


If you're thinking about a trip to somewhere outside Indiana, Southern California, Southeast Arizona, Southern Texas, and Southern Florida are widely regarded as the best places in the country for birding. All of these areas offer a wide range of species with many specialty species (found nowhere else in the US). Hawaii is definitely a unique birding experience, but it does not have a lot of different species and many are introduced. That being said, if you can get on a tour to some of the remote areas of Hawaiian Islands and see the endemic species, it would be well worth it. Another option that's closer to Indiana is Magee Marsh in May which is one of the best places to see migrants in the United States. 

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ginspin16    536

it depends on what you mean by best.  most species?  most varied habitat?  most enjoyable hiking and/or weather?  most chance of rarities?

and of course much depends on what time of year you want to go.

according to ebird, the top 10 hotspots in United States  are these (for most species ever)


1.  Aransas NWR (CTC 037) (Aransas Co.)

2. Cape Island--CMP (Cape May Point)

3. Hayward Regional Shoreline

4. Plum Island

5.  Cape Island--CMPSP (Cape May Point SP)

6.  Parker River NWR

7. Bosque del Apache NWR

8.  Cape Island (Cape May Co. south of the Cape May canal)

9.  Laguna Atascosa NWR (LTC 024)

10. Sandy Hook





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Sean C.    1669

for Florida, Dry Tortugas National Park, Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Everglades National Park and Fort De Soto Park are also excellent hotspots.

I've also noticed that Florida Canyon in Arizona is great, and so is Rio Grande village in Texas.

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If the southeast coast is appealing, Huntington Beach State Park (near Myrtle Beach SC) and Savannah NWR (SC / GA line) are prime spots at either end of a string of worthwhile state parks, refuges, etc.  There's also plenty to do for the non-birding family members, and Charleston and Savannah offer some of the finest dining the country.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
Additional information.

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Astrobirder    3419

If you can expand to Canada, here's what I think are great spots:

Alaska (especially the Nome area and the Bering Sea islands)

Hawaii (Many, many, many endemics, many more countable exotics)

Monterrey Bay, CA (Albatrosses!!)

Southern California (just plain species rich)

SE Arizona (especially the Madrean Sky Islands where there are TROGONS)

Texas/Mexican border (the Lower Rio Grande Valley has many Neotropical birds, Big Bend has a bunch more including Colima Warblers and the Edwards Plateau region by San Antonio has Golden-cheeked Warblers and Black-capped Vireos)

South Florida (the Everglades host many strange birds, the Keys have many Caribbean birds, and the coast from Palm Beach to Miami gets a lot of Bahamian vagrants each year)

North Carolina far off the the OBX (many interesting Seabirds)

Newfoundland (European vagrants, mostly in the winter


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AZLaurie    1

I recommend southeastern Arizona.  Madera Canyon is widely considered one of the top three birding areas in the US. It is home to over 250 species of birds, including 15 hummingbird species. Besides Madera Canyon, places like Patagonia, Sonoita,  Tumacácori and Nogales are birding hotspots. This is a Painted Redstart I got in Madera Canyon. Ourr proximity to Mexico allows viewing of an extreme number of birds not available in other parts of the country (not even in other parts of Arizona!)

hotpots.  59ab08753391a_PaintedRedstartJan_7BLIPextrac.thumb.jpg.5a521ac353a127780e5a554207ae79fb.jpg

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guy_incognito    4115

Not much else to add, as the major destinations like SE Arizona, Rio Grande Valley in Texas, and south Florida have already been mentioned.

The other thing to keep in mind is the time of year.  For instance, late spring to early fall is best for Arizona, and winter to spring tends to be best for Texas.

If you don't want to travel too far, you can definitely consider the craziness that is spring migration at Magee Marsh.  So many birds (and so many people).

One last destination not mentioned would be Colorado.  Can visit the mountains for cool birds like White-tailed Ptarmigan, Pine Grosbeak, Dusky Grouse, Brown-capped Rosy-Finch, American Three-toed Woodpecker, etc, and get great scenery at the same time.  Not far away you can also visit the grasslands and see Mountain Plovers, Sharp-tailed Grouse and longspurs.

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