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Bird watching

Prothonotary Warblers are among the conspicuous songbirds in the region

Prothonotary Warblers are among the conspicuous songbirds in the region. Photo by Bill Stripling.

Birding Along the Mississippi River

The rich bird life along the lower Mississippi River makes for rewarding bird watching experiences all year long. National wildlife refuges, national forests, state wildlife management areas and other public lands can provide some of the best bird watching opportunities. The main levees along the river, where accessible, provide good viewing opportunities. Consult local chapters of the National Audubon Society or state ornithological societies for local field trips.

Migratory Birds: Missisippi Flyway Birds

The lower Mississippi River and its adjoining floodplain forests and wetlands help form an avian superhighway. Millions of birds – songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds, ducks, raptors and other species – fly along this corridor throughout the year, with some of their journeys spanning the Western Hemisphere.

A Least Tern dives for a small fish

A Least Tern dives for a small fish. Photo by Bill Stripling.

Year-Round Resident Birds

Some birds stay along the river to raise their young. Interior Least Terns nest on sandbars, while floodplain forests are home to Prothonotary Warblers, Painted Buntings, Baltimore Orioles and Summer Tanagers. Great Egrets, Little Blue Herons and other wading birds form rookeries in the river’s backwaters and Bald Eagles hunt from the tallest trees along the river’s shoreline and oxbow lakes.