Bird Watching 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.
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.
Some birds stay along the river to raise their young. Interior Least Terns nest on sandbars, while floodplain forests are home to Mississippi Kites, Prothonotary Warblers, Painted Buntings, Baltimore Orioles and Summer Tanagers. Great Egrets, Snowy 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.
Bird Habitat Conservation
Conservation organizations such as the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture have prepared science-based conservations plans for all types of birds in the region and are implementing landscape-scale habitat conservation, restoration and management projects with government and non-government partners.