Like the birds this spring, our Seattle Audubon members like to move. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of beautiful destinations around the world to experience unique bird species and landscapes. Here are five places in North America you may want to visit before planning your next adventure.

Stop by the Nature Shop and browse our wide selection of new and used field guides to inspire you on your next bird-focused vacation. Or check out the geography section of the library if you want to start your travel plans and get inspired.

1. Grays Harbor, Washington

Where to Watch Shorebirds in Grays Harbor - GraysHarborTalk

The coast of Grays Harbor County, along Washington's central coast, offers a spectacular shorebird migration in spring. With more than 1,500 hectares of mudflats and salt marshes, this territory forms one of the four main areas where wading birds stop to feed and rest. Sandpipers, sandpipers, plovers and sandpipers are just some of the tens of thousands of shorebirds that stop here in spring on their journey from South America to the Arctic. Special places to consider during your visit include Bowerman Basin, Bottle Beach State Park, and Hoquiam, where the annual Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival takes place in May.

A Nature Shop member and volunteer describes his visit as impressive: “Thousands of hungry waders were eating voraciously. Occasionally a peregrine falcon or other bird of prey would swoop down, launching large flocks of waders into the sky. “They moved across the sky in groups following these beautiful patterns.”

Travel tip: Check tide times and plan your beach visit about 2 hours before high tide. . Find a good spot and stay there. When the tide rises, the birds slowly rise, bringing them straight to you without scaring them.

2. Deserts of southwestern Arizona and New Mexico

Iconic Birds of New Mexico Guide - Birding Insider

The high deserts of Arizona and Mexico delight birdwatchers, especially in the colder areas. Spring and autumn months coinciding with migration. Destinations you might include on your trip include:

Bosque de Apache Wildlife Refuge in southern New Mexico.

The nearly 60,000-hectare protected area (of which more than half is considered wilderness) is located between two mountain ranges and provides stopovers for migratory waterfowl in artificial wetlands and floodplains. More than 374 different species of birds have been reported here, but the area is best known for the large migrations of 10,000 cranes and 20,000 Ross and snow geese in the fall.

Chiricahua National Monument, east of Tucson, Arizona

The unique and diverse habitat of these mountains produces a wide variety of species , many of which are available nowhere else in the United States. They include the acorn woodpecker, thirteen hummingbird species, and the Gouldian turkey, which was successfully reintroduced to the region in the 1990s. And occasionally you see species whose range barely extends into the United States.

Seattle Audubon member Jill Ericsson has been traveling here for several years as a volunteer with a nonprofit group that studies the effects of climate change on the trees and, later, the birds that live there. . They nest in cavities in the region, including the fire owl. Elf owl, whiskered owl and Mexican spotted owl.

The Paton Hummingbird Center in Patagonia, Arizona

The Tucson Audubon Society's Hummingbird Center is dedicated to the celebration and conservation of hummingbirds and of other specialties. . Birds of Southeastern Arizona. The shaded pavilion offers visitors the opportunity to observe red-headed hummingbirds and other native birds as they pass by the feeders, lawn or pond.

3. Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas

South Texas Tour  Birding the Lower Rio Grande Valley

The lower Rio Grande Valley in South Texas is home to unique birds and subtropical habitats that, most to the northeast, they resemble Mexico more than any other place in the United States. Birdwatchers are greeted by magnificent thorn bush forests, riparian forests, and palm-lined stagnant lakes, home to species such as the Lowland Chachalaca, Green Jay, Altamira Oriole, Greater Kiskadee, and Collared Warbler. .

Member Tom Rohrer gives us a list of his favorite birding spots in the region:

  • Must see on every South Texas itinerary: Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley and Estero Llano Grande
  • Other stunning locations: Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Sabal Palms Sanctuary and other locations in the World Birding Center are fantastic.
  • Farther west: Habitat and bird diversity can be expanded with a visit to the cacti and mesquite trees of Falcon State Park.
  • Farther east: Habitats in coastal areas of Laguna Atascosa and South Padre Isla National Wildlife Refuge

With so many special native species, this is a fantastic visit any time of year. Winter offers mild weather, wintering waterfowl and songbirds, and a good chance of encountering migratory rarities from Mexico. Spring and fall create excitement as migratory birds pass by.

Travel tip: The stretch of Highway 2 from McAllen to Harlingen is a good starting point for exploring the valley. The Alamo Inn B&B is centrally located and caters to birders.

4. Point Pelee, Ontario

Birdwatching at Wheatley and Point Pelee | Peter Lam Photography

Point Pelee National Park is located at the southern tip of mainland Canada, on the shores of Lake Erie. More than 390 bird species have been recorded in this small natural area, and more than 100 species remain there during the breeding season. Bird (and butterfly) diversity reaches its peak during the spring and autumn migrations and particularly during the Bird Festival in May. Visitors can hike miles of trails through swamps, grassy savannas, sandy beaches and swampy forests.

Also known as the bird capital of Canada, it is also a popular place to observe buntings, in addition to the approximately 40 species of birds found there.

Those who don't want to take a trip that requires a passport can have a similar experience on the Ohio side of Lake Erie. Just outside Toledo, the Magee Swamp Wildlife Refuge serves as a rest stop for the same birds before continuing towards Point Pelee.

5. National Wildlife Refuge Malheur, Oregon

Malheur refuge now a quiet expanse, empty except for the birds -

With more than 187,000 hectares, Malheur offers an immense resting, breeding and nesting area for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds. Ideally, the visitor center is a meeting place for some less common species. Members Neil and Carleen Zmmerman were happy to see a Lewis's woodpecker and a black-and-white nightingale during their visit last May. And one year they saw a coyote take over a white-faced ibis.

Malheur became the center of national media attention in 2016, when an armed group of extremists occupied the Malheur headquarters for more than a month, causing significant damage to buildings. and properties. Refuge staff and volunteers have worked hard to repair damage to the environment and infrastructure during this period and are welcoming visitors back after a brief closure for repairs.