From the plains of the Delta to the shores of the Sound, birding enthusiasts have plenty of options for watching the many species found throughout Mississippi. In fact, Mississippi is known for being a major thoroughfare for migrating birds, and the path that they travel is known as the Mississippi Flyway. Combine birdwatching with a day exploring nature with these five beautiful birdwatching hikes in Mississippi.
LeFleur's Bluff State Park is nearly 500 acres in the heart of Jackson, and the park is full of trails and boardwalks which are perfect for viewing woodland birds. There is a nest box trail to showcase prothonotary warblers, and birders can also seem Acadian flycatcher, wood thrush, summer tanager, and more. The park also includes the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science which conducts ornithological research.
Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge features a four-mile round-trip trail that runs alongside the Noxubee River. Birds which are commonly found include the Kentucky warbler and LeConte's sparrow, as well as a number of ducks and geese during the winter. The park is also a habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.
St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge is a sprawling 25,000-acre refuge that has two nature trails—the 8.3-mile Magnolia Trail and the 2.2-mile Cabin Road Hiking Trail (which is also an ATV trail). The refuge was created to protect the waterfowl who use the area as a habitat. There have been 247 documented bird species that have been observed at the refuge, and there's a list available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so you can keep track of which ones you've seen.
The Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) covers 18,000 acres of bayous, salt marshes, and savannas. The wetlands here are mostly brackish, and the environment here is extremely diverse, giving birdwatchers incredible opportunities to see various species. Follow the Savanna Trail Boardwalk and see the American white pelican, brown pelican, osprey, reddish egret, and more.
Recently, I learned that the distinctive patriotic shriek you associate with the American bald eagle is actually not the eagle at all...it's the red-tailed hawk! It doesn't make the bald eagle any less cool to me; both raptors are among my top favorites! Taken April 2017 at #grandbaynerr. #redtailedhawk #hawk #raptor #bird #birdsofinstagram #hawksofinstagram #solitude #nationalwildliferefuge #nwr #nerrs #naturephotography #mississippi #nature #animals #ornithology
The Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge is another opportunity for bird lovers to see some spectacular wetland birds. There are two trails, the C.L. Dees Nature Trail and the Fontainebleau Nature Trail. This is the only place in the world to see the Mississippi sandhill crane—there are only 120 of the birds living in the refuge.