Campus News

Ornithologist shares top locations for birdwatching in the U.S.

Charles van Rees, a postdoctoral associate and ornithologist in the Wenger Lab in the Odum School of Ecology, shared some of the top locations for amateur birdwatching in the United States with BestLife.

The top four spots are North Platte River Valley in Nebraska, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in West Virginia and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park in Hawai’i.

Van Rees chimes in on location No. 5, Plum Island in Massachusetts.

“Gorgeous shoreline and a diversity of marsh, open beach, scrub and pine forest habitats make this a fantastic habitat for a huge diversity of bird species,” he said.

Surprisingly, Central Park in New York City is also on the list, in the No. 6 spot.

“For many people, the middle of the Big Apple is the last place they’d look for birds, but Central Park is actually a fantastic birding spot,” said van Rees. “During fall (late August to early October) and spring (April to May) migrations, many birds get funneled into the oasis of green in the middle of this sprawling metropolis, and huge gatherings of brilliantly colored birds migrating up from countries like Guatemala and El Salvador show up almost magically overnight. The park also has a rich and diverse community of experienced birdwatchers who are always willing to show people where the coolest new arrival is on any given day.”

He also had positive things to say about Sanibel Island in Florida and Magee Marsh in Ohio.

“Sanibel is also the site of Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a fantastic spot for shorebird watching,” said van Rees. “[Also] the southwest corner of Lake Erie is known as the ‘warbler capital of the world’ for the incredible variety of beautiful new-world warblers (Parulidae) that migrate through during spring.”

The comprehensive list of locations will help find a good birdwatching spot, maybe a little closer to home.