The best winter bird-watching trails

Stef Zisovska

If you’re a bird lover and were wondering where to go bird-watching this winter in North America, then this list of birding spots will help you decide. There is nothing better than a nice walk in nature and getting closer to the wildlife. Visiting a bird’s natural habitat is the best way of getting closer to them and learning more about their behavior and life. Here are the best winter birding trails that you can visit this season.

Rhode Island Coastal Birding Trail


The coastline of the Ocean State is full of peninsulas and bays and offers endless miles for you to explore. Winter birds can be seen around every corner. The protected bays and marshes are a refuge for flocks of Pintails, Mallards, and American Black Ducks.  Sanderlings and Purple Sandpipers skitter over the rocks, while Harlequin Ducks dive into the crashing waves.

Delaware Birding Trail

Delaware may be small, but it offers birding opportunities like no other area in the country. The trail itself divides the state into six ecological regions. Along the trail, there are at least 27 recognized birding spots that you can visit and observe unique birds. Take a walk through fields and forests to see woodpeckers and Brown-headed Nuthatches. Or stroll along Delaware’s shoreline, which is internationally recognized as an important birding region, and if you do you’ll understand why. Loons, gulls, and gannets are the species to keep an eye out for when you hike along the shore. Wintering ducks and geese can be seen on the inlets, and if you are a lucky birder, you can also spot some Savannah Sparrows. The most important thing about bird watching is to be patient, quiet, and tune in to the rhythm of the environment.

Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail


One of the most challenging birding trails on the North American continent that every self-respecting bird watcher should visit. With more than 2000 miles of trails and more than 500 locations from where you can observe the abundant bird and animal life it’s a birders paradise. South of the Keys, you can observe Caribbean-type birds such as Reddish Egret and White-crowned Pigeon. Western Florida is famous for wintering waterfowl and shorebirds, while in the central part of the state you can see the endangered Florida Scrub-Jay. In the Everglades, you can see Snail Kites, Wood Storks, and Limpkins.

Great Plains Trail of Oklahoma

The Western High Plains in Oklahoma turn into a majestic bird land during the winter. The trail has 13 loops and no matter which one you choose, you will be surprised by the great variety of birds.  Hackberry Flats and Salt Plains’ large marshes and lakes host great wintering flocks of ducks, from Gadwalls to Common Mergansers. In these wetlands, you can also see winter roosts of Bald Eagles.

Oregon Coast Birding Trail


The temperatures in the coastal part of Oregon during the winter are mild, though it can be cloudy and rainy. Many bird species choose this area as their home in the winter months. The trail is divided into four sections that lead to more than 150 bird watching spots. Expect to see the colorful Chestnut-backed Chickadee and Steller’s Jay in the treetops of the giant redwoods. In the coastal region, you can also spot wintering birds such as Black Turnstones, Surfbirds, and Black Oystercatchers hanging out on the boulders. However, the major action is happening just offshore where three species of loon can be spotted, as well as Brandt’s Cormorants, grebes, scoters, mergansers, and gulls.

Now you know that wintertime doesn’t have to mean sitting at home in front of your TV. Choose the closest birding trail and have fun this season. Invite a few friends along to share a great – but quiet – birding experience.

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival