Bird watching as a hobby has grown in popularity in Rhode Island over the past few years. Interested bird watchers will find an abundance of interesting bird species to watch in this state, including migratory birds that pass through during specific seasons and those that nest in the state all year round. More than 400 species of birds in Rhode Island are scattered across some of Rhode Island’s best bird-watching spots.
The best spots for birding in Rhode Island are along the coasts, where you can observe various species of waterfowl all year round. In this post, you will find a list of some of the best bird watching hotspots you can explore in Rhode Island.
1. Block Island National Wildlife Refuge
The Block Island National Wildlife Refuge is located about 12 miles offshore on the northern edge of Block Island. This small refuge is a critical wildlife habitat that is an ideal area for hiking and other activities. The 127-acre land attracts up to 70 species of migratory songbirds and other bird species that call the Island home. Block island is particularly popular with birders because it offers a vast area of low-lying vegetation, which provides excellent spotting opportunities for bird watchers.
Common Birds in Block Island National Wildlife Refuge
Located in the Atlantic flyway, Block Island is one of the most important bird habitats on the east coast. The Block Island National Refuge hosts the largest gull colony on Rhode Island.
2. Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge
The Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge is one of five national wildlife refuges on Rhode Island. The 800-acre wildlife refuge is in South Kingstown, and it hosts the only undeveloped coastal salt pond on the island, making it even more important for wildlife on the Island. The refuge supports many species of animals, including several waterfowls that migrate into the area or nest there all year round.
Common Birds in Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge
During the spring and fall migration, different species of waterfowl can be found in the Trustom Pond wildlife refuge. However, one can find a wide array of songbirds, such as ospreys, nesting in the sanctuary all year round. The refuge also has a piping plover population that nets in its natural grasslands.
3. Norman Bird Sanctuary
This is a 325-acre wildlife refuge located in the town of Middletown on Rhodes Island. The sanctuary offers several hiking and bird-watching trails that cut through forests, beach habitats, and fields that provide birdwatchers with breathtaking ocean views and the chance to observe various bird species in their natural habitat. The sanctuary is located along a major route of the Atlantic Flyway. Thus, it offers a unique opportunity for birdwatchers looking to catch a glimpse of migratory birds flying out of and into North America at different seasons of the year.
Common Birds in Norman Bird Sanctuary
This sanctuary’s various streams and ponds attract different species of aquatic birds, including mallard, mute swans, great heron, black-crowned night heron, and green egret. This makes it one of Rhode Island’s best bird-watching spots. In the woodland areas, birds like downy woodpeckers, gray catbirds, and chickadees will likely be found. Bird species like tree swallows, northern harriers, blackbirds, and American goldfinch are visible in field locations within the reserve.
4. Camp Cronin
The Camp Cronin Fishing Area is located on the southern edge of Narragansett in Washington County, Rhode Island. With water on both sides of the Island, it forms a perfect migrant trap from where you can see various bird species on their southbound journey through Rhodes Island. From Camp Cronin, you also get a clear view of the ocean, making it great to observe aquatic bird species. The best time to visit camp Cronin is between August and October.
Common Birds in Camp Cronin
During the migration season, birds like flycatchers, vireos, sparrows, and warblers can be seen in this location. Some of the most notable bird species include the Connecticut warbler, lark sparrows, Philadelphia vireo, and clay-colored sparrows.
5. Swan Point Cemetery
The Swan Point cemetery is an active but tranquil and pristinely maintained garden cemetery in the Northeast end of Providence, Rhode Island. The cemetery is the largest green space in the City of Providence, extending from Blackstone Boulevard all the way to the Shore of the Seekonk River. The expansive grounds offer a combination of lawns and driveways interspersed with forest trees and luxurious undergrowth. The large open space provides plenty of vantage points to catch a glimpse of various bird species.
Common Birds in Swan Point Cemetery
The Swan Point cemetery is a remarkable sanctuary for birds and one of Rhode Island’s best bird-watching spots. More than 150 bird species have been sighted and recorded on Swan Point. Some of the most common bird species at Swan Point include the warbling vireo, Baltimore Oriole, Northern Flicker, bald eagle, yellow-rumped warbler, wood duck, turkey vulture, and yellow-breasted chat. While photography is allowed with a permit at Swan Point, making videos is not allowed.
6. Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
This national wildlife park in Middletown, Rhodes Island, is most famous as a bird watching spot for viewing wintering flocks of harlequin ducks that are pretty abundant in the area between November and April. However, with more than 200 bird species on the site, you can visit the wildlife refuge any time of the year to view different bird species.
Common Birds in Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
There are more than 200 bird species on the 250 acres of seaside refuge, which has both wetland and upland habitats. Apart from the harlequin ducks, some of the most common birds you’re likely to observe here include the peregrine falcon, snowy owl, scoters, and eiders.
7. Miantonomi Memorial Park
Located in Newport Rhodes Island, this ark is the highest point on Aquidneck Island, making it one of Rhode Island’s best bird-watching spots. Numerous migratory birds tend to stop over in this area. The fact that there’s an elevated tower in the park means bird watchers can easily take advantage of the vantage point to observe birds instead of straining their necks.
Common Birds in Miantonomi Memorial Park
Warblers are the common bird species to observe at the Miantonomi memorial park. The most common species is the prothonotary warblers. However, many other species of warblers, flycatchers, and catbirds also exist in this area.
With so many locations to explore, birdwatching is undoubtedly one of the top activities you can consider doing on Rhodes Island this summer. The sites listed above are among the best options to explore.
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