If you haven’t fully felt spring’s arrival yet, we suggest cracking open a window in the early morning and letting the sounds of birdsong drift in. Yep—it’s here. And with spring’s arrival comes one of the best times to see these little creatures migrating to their summer homes. We’ve rounded up seven of the best places to bird watch across the U.S. Even if you’re not a birder, take the chance to immerse yourself in nature and check out some of these serene spots for yourself.
Oak Harbor, Ohio
Nestled along the shores of Lake Erie, this small town outside of Toledo is home to myriad marshlands and one of the best birdwatching spots in the U.S. The town’s famed Bird Trail, a half-mile-long boardwalk within Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, offers optimal viewing for a variety of multicolored warblers and more.
About 3 and a half hours south of San Antonio, this tiny Texas town on the border of Mexico is in an ideal spot–it’s nestled within the Rio Grande Valley, one of the most critical areas for birds migrating through North America, including the colorful green jay and Altamira oriole. And each year, it plays host to the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival.
Point Reyes National Seashore, California
This scenic stretch of coastline just 30 miles north of San Francisco plays host to about 490 species of birds, nestled within the foliage of its wetlands, estuaries, and coastal scrub. Hike around Bolinas Lagoon to see birds like kingfishers, cormorants, and pelicans, or opt for a stroll along Estero Trail—look up to spot several species of owls in the pines, and to the shore to see great blue herons, egrets, and more.
Everglades National Park, Florida
This unique ecosystem an hour west of Miami feels like a world unto itself, and more than 300 bird species call the swamplands of the Everglades home. Egrets, herons, and other wading birds are the most plentiful, including the pink-hued roseate spoonbill. Take a quintessential Everglades air boat tour to see them up close.
New Harbor, Maine
One of the East Coast’s premier birdwatching locales, the coast of Maine provides ample opportunity to see a rich variety of sea birds. But one of its most unique offerings is the chance to see a colony of Atlantic puffins up close: ferries depart from New Harbor, complete with National Audubon Society members aboard to impart their ornithological knowledge.
Cave Creek Canyon, Arizona
Tucked within the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona, Cave Creek Canyon is one of the most renowned birding locales in the country—it’s even earned itself the nickname “the Yosemite of Arizona.” 375 bird species call the canyon home; keep your eyes peeled for tiny hummingbirds, for which the canyon is known, as well as more rare species, like the sought-after elegant trogon.
In the heart of the Great Plains occurs an intriguing natural phenomenon: More than 600,000 sandhill cranes converge along the banks of the Platte River in Kearney, Nebraska, in early spring every year. The river is a crucial stop along these large birds’ migration paths, from their wintering grounds in the South to northern Canada, Alaska, and Siberia to mate—and more than 80% of the world’s sandhill crane population makes the stop.