Hill Country Birding Hotspots
The Hill Country is well known for great bird watching opportunities. Texas houses over six hundred species, two-thirds of all species found in North America. It’s also the only state where you can find the Golden-cheeked and Colima Warblers. Many endangered and threatened bird species are resident, making the Texas Hill country a unique and colorful bird watching experience.
Fall and winter can be one of the best seasons to visit for bird watching because of the influx of winter visitors migrating south. And you can “bird” just about anywhere – during a walk in the local park or down the street, or having morning coffee on the back porch. If you’re looking for a more specific bird, there're dozens of nature parks, birding spots, and hikes situated around the Hill Country.
Here’s a list of a just a few parks and birding areas around the Texas Hill-Country
Kerrville-Schreiner Park - The 517-acre state park, situated along the upper Guadalupe River, is primarily a recreational area, featuring hiking, fishing, swimming, and nature study. A riverside trail has been developed as a self-guiding interpretive trail, where various plants are identified.
Birds: Wild Turkey, Greater Roadrunner, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Western Scrub-Jay, Canyon Towhee, and Rufous-crowned Sparrow are present year round. Neotropic Cormorant, Common Poorwill, Chuck-will’s-widow, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Bell’s and Yellow-throated Vireos, Yellow-throated Warbler, Painted Bunting, Dickcissel, Bronzed Cowbird, and Lesser Goldfinch occur in summer. Spotted Towhee, Fox and Harris’s Sparrows, and Purple Finch can usually be found in winter.
Mo-Ranch - Mo-Ranch is a 425-acre site used as a conference center, religious and social retreat, and summer camp. The site offers daily access for a fee.
Birds: Eastern Screech-Owl, Rock, Bewick’s and Carolina wrens, Tufted Titmouse, Golden-cheeked Warbler, Scott’s Oriole, Summer Tanager, House Finch, and Blue Grosbeak.
Stowers Ranch - Stowers is a ranch more off the beaten path, you’ll have to call in advance and there is a fee for site access.
Birds: Yellow-throated and Red-eyed vireos; cliffs have Canyon Wrens and Cliff Swallow colonies. Blue Grosbeak, Painted Bunting, Lark and Field sparrows, and Lesser Goldfinch sing through the afternoon in summer.
Stowers Ranch Roadside on FM 1340 at Boneyard Draw - A few miles west of the Kerr Wildlife Management Area is a long bridge over the North Fork of the Guadalupe River. If you park on either side of the bridge you have free access to view the breeding Zone-tailed Hawk.
Birds: Zone-tailed Hawk. Bell’s and Black-capped vireos and various songbirds.
Kerrville Kayak and Canoe - This is the canoe put-in for a 4-mile trip down the South Fork of the Guadalupe, ending at the Ingram Lake boat ramp.
Birds: Belted and Green kingfishers, Black Phoebe, low-flying swallows, Yellow-throated Vireo, and Yellow-throated Warbler.
Heart of the Hills Fisheries Science Center - Site access is free and open Mon-Fri. It contains 25 ponds where observers can find wintering waterfowl.
Birds: Pied-billed Grebe, Eared Grebe, Northern Pintail, three varieties of teal, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Killdeer, Common Snipe, Spotted and Solitary sandpiper.
Mountain Home Bridge – Free Daily access on a bridge overlooking Johnson Creek.
Birds: Golden-cheeked Warbler in late spring and early summer. Others include Painted Bunting, Eastern Phoebe, Orchard Oriole, Blue Grosbeak, White-eyed Vireo, and Canyon Wren. Green and Belted kingfishers occur along the creek as well.