Mississippi’s 5 Best Bird Watching Spots This Summer

Written by Abdulmumin Akinde
Updated: October 10, 2022
© iStock.com/Donyanedomam
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There are over forty great birding locations in just six southern counties of Mississippi. That shows how immensely rich the entire state is as far as birding activities are concerned. Over 350 species of birds live, migrate, and move through the Mississippi coast and other parts of the state. So, if bird watching in Mississippi is on your list of things to do this summer, you might want to know some of Mississippi’s best bird watching spots. In this post, we have picked a few of them and what you’re likely to see when exploring these locations. 

Pascagoula River and Ward Bayou Wildlife Management Areas

Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) in flight hunting in the Florida Everglades
Swallow-tailed Kites (Elanoides forficatus) often eat while flying through the air.

©iStock.com/SteveByland

The Pascagoula River is the largest unimpeded waterway in the United States. And along the river, you get more than 50,000 acres of wildlife management lands open to the public. It’s a live birding show for outdoor enthusiasts, and it runs all year. One exciting species you are likely to see here is the swallow-tailed kite. The bird is a rare bird species with flowing, V-shaped tails.

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The Pascagoula River Wildlife Management Area is an important north-south corridor for migrating songbirds from the Gulf of Mexico. The predominant habitat includes bottomland hardwood forests and scattered oxbow lakes. Some of the hotspots for birding activities in this area include the Rhyme Lakes, Boneyard Lake, and Josephine Sanbar, which are all within the Pascagoula Wildlife Management area. You can decide to birdwatch on a boat or kayak as there are also many launches on the river. If you don’t have a watercraft, you can also tour the Eco-tours in the Pascagoula River area. 

Common Birds at the Pascagoula River Wildlife Management Area

Harrison County Beachfront

Black Skimmer Skimming the surface of the water
Like their name, Black Skimmers often fly along the surface of the water.

©iStock.com/Natures_Vision

One of Mississippi’s best bird watching spots is the Harrison County Beachfront, the world’s longest human-made beach. The 26 miles stretch of sandy beaches is one of the most important birding areas in the state. You can access the trail loop from any of the six important sites on Highway 90.

One of the best attractions in this area is the black skimmers. If you patiently watch them for a while, you can see different interesting nesting activities they engage in, from their courtship to the fledging of the young ones. Of course, since it is such an active beach, there will be a lot of beachgoers around, but this should not be a problem. 

Common Bird Species at Harrison Country Beachfront 

  • Least tern 
  • Purple sandpiper
  • Black skimmer
  • American avocet
  • Snowy plover
  • Reddish egret
  • American oystercatcher
  • Lesser black-backed
  • Wilson’s plover
  • Long-billed curlew

Lefleur’s Bluff State Park

Eastern Bluebird on branch
Male Eastern Bluebird Perched on Budding Limb in Early Spring. A bluebird can spot caterpillars and insects in tall grass at the remarkable distance of over 50 yards.

©Bonnie Taylor Barry/Shutterstock.com

Located in the heart of Jackson, Mississippi, this location has over 200 Bird species to explore. The 492-acres Lefleur’s Bluff State Park is a full fun package for bird watchers. The state park is filled with a variety of birds. It also hosts a museum of Natural science where you can learn all about the natural history of the state as well as its unique birdlife. Of course, all the fun is outside, and the park has abundant things to see and do. There are 2 miles of nature trails, boardwalks, and a dedicated nest-box trail for Prothonotary Warblers.

The diverse habitats of Lefleur’s Bluff State Park provide several great opportunities for visitors to observe birds. This location’s bird population includes migrating birds, nesting birds, and winter birds. However, woodland birds are the most abundant species you can find around. 

Common Birds at the Lefleur’s Bluff State Park 

Tunica County River Park 

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is a water bird that mostly eats fish.

©Brian Lasenby/Shutterstock.com

Looking for Mississippi’s best bird watching spots for water birds? Then you should check out the Tunica County River Park. This park is the perfect destination for you if you like watching graceful birds as they wade in the calm waters. Located in the delta area in the northwest part of Mississippi, the region has an abundance of ponds and other aquatic habitats, as well as a few open lands. 

All year round, you will find different species of birds in the area. Terns in summer, ducks in winter, and great blue herons and double-crested cormorants throughout the year. Even though the ponds are private properties, the Little Texas Road is open to bird watchers. One of the location’s biggest attractions is the wintering geese which are fascinating to watch. As many as 10,000 snow geese move around in this river park, and you will surely come across some as you explore the area. 

Common Bird Species at the Tunica County River Park 

Vicksburg National Military Park

A white-eyed vireo with a caterpillar in its mouth
White-eyed vireo are omnivorous and eat insects, snails, and lizards as well as berries.

©Matthew Jolley/Shutterstock.com

Vicksburg National Military Park is another serene location for birdwatching in Mississippi. It is a quiet and beautiful park full of birds of different species. The park is an excellent place to bird-watch any time of the year. The Vicksburg area, especially the national military park itself, has been designated an important bird area. Recent bird surveys show the park has at least 180 bird species distributed across hardwood forests, grasslands, and riparian habitats. 

During summer, you will see the summer tanager, chimney swift, brown-headed cowbird, indigo bunting, and many other varieties. The colorful birds are there during spring, while fall brings in the hawks. There are several hiking trails with comfort stations and picnic areas along the way and a visitor center at the entrance. So, if you are up for a relaxing summer holiday while exploring the beauty of nature, pick up a map and head to Vicksburg National Park. 

Common Birds at the Vicksburg National Military Park 

Conclusion

If you are in the Mississippi area, you can’t go wrong by choosing any of the above locations to go birdwatching. They’re among Mississippi’s best bird watching spots for different unique bird species. Other notable locations include: 

  • Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

So, pack your kit and get ready for a fun time exploring these unique locations!

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The Featured Image

Birds with long necks: Roseate Spoonbill
© iStock.com/Donyanedomam

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About the Author

Abdulmumin is a pharmacist and a top-rated freelance writer on Upwork. He can pretty much write on anything that can be researched on the internet. However, he particularly enjoys writing on health, technology and animals. He is inquisitive and currently aspires to become a software engineer. He loves animals, especially horses and would love to have one someday.

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Sources
  1. Clarion Ledger, Available here: https://www.clarionledger.com/story/magnolia/2021/09/02/5-top-spots-birding-mississippi-fall-bird-watching/8184731002/
  2. Jim O'Donnell, Available here: https://www.aroundtheworldineightyyears.com/gulf-coast-birding-mississippi/