Summer Birding Tips: Finding the Birds & Beating the Heat
Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean you have to hang up your birding binoculars and wait for cooler temps. Check out these tips for beating the heat and spotting birds during the summer months.
Be an early bird!
We want to beat the heat and so do the birds! The best time to spot active birds during the summer is in the morning just before dawn until about 10am. Birds also become more active in the evening when temps start to drop with the setting sun.
Find some shade & become a statue!
In heavily wooded areas with lots of shade, birds tend to be more active, but not if you are also active. Find a nice shaded spot and try to keep as still as possible. The less you move, the more comfortable wildlife become and you will notice more birds moving around.
Hang out by the water!
In Baytown, wading bird species can be found nearly all day hanging out in the shallows of the bays and wetlands. Roseate spoonbills, great white egrets, blue herons, and other waders can be found stirring the shallow waters for fish, crab, and small reptiles.
Keep cool & hydrated!
The summer heat and humidity of the Texas Gulf Coast can be intense so we recommend taking some precautions while birding. Be sure to pack lots of water and some light snacks if you plan on being outside for an extended period of time. Sunscreen and bug spray are also must haves to fight the sun and mosquitoes. Dress comfortable and don’t forget your hat to keep the heat off your head. Also, take the AC with you! There are now small portable cups that you can fill with ice cubes that push cooled air out. These small fans are now quieter and cheaper, so summer birders might consider picking one up before getting outdoors.
Calling all novice birders!
Have you always wanted to start birding but identifying species seems like a daunting idea? Check out these cool mobile apps that will have you identifying birds in no time:
Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab – This amazing app is free and will allow you to ID birds by taking photos or entering info about a bird’s size, color, and habits to find the closest match. You will be able to scroll through pictures of possible birds, hear their calls, and learn some fun facts about each species.
Audubon Bird Guide – This cool app will allow you to ID birds by answering questions under 8 categories such as activity, wing shape, size, and habitat. This free app also has pictures to scroll through and bird calls. One thing that the app does seamlessly is keep a list of sightings for you. If you want to keep a running list of places you have seen birds and the species at each location, this app has you covered in both a list and map view.
Baytown Summer Birding Locations:
Baytown Nature Center – The BNC has great shaded and water locations for viewing birds as well has birding blinds dotting the 450-acres peninsula. Entry into the BNC is $4 for adults and $1 for children under 12. The BNC is open from sunrise to sunset daily.
Jenkins & JC Holloway Parks – Jenkins and JC Holloway Parks are connected by a winding network of trails that provide great shade for birding in heavily wooded areas.
Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Center – The Wetlands Center has 2 piers overlooking Goose Creek that provide a great location for spotting water birds and some wading birds during low tide.
Now that you are equipped to beat the heat, find the birds, know the best locations in Baytown, and have some awesome tools, come take the 2019 Spring/Summer Baytown Birding Challenge. Full details and rules can be found at www.visitbaytown.com/birdingchallenge.