Spring Birding in Arkansas

 

Located within the Mississippi Flyway,
spring brings the highest diversity and most colorful birds to the state as
raptors, shorebirds, thrushes, warblers, and vireos migrate to their northern
breeding grounds. The bird habits of some species involve staying and breeding
in the state, while others stop only to rest and refuel before continuing their
long journeys.

 
The first returning residents and migrants
begin arriving around mid-March and peak the first week in May. During this
time shorebirds, more than 35 species of warblers, vireos, orioles, thrushes,
and buntings can be seen.
 
Late spring brings the opportunity to see
the state’s breeding birds, which include the colorful Painted Bunting, the
Mississippi Kite, and the Swainson’s Warbler. Several species of herons and
egrets can be found nesting in rookeries. Least Terns nest on sandbars of the
Mississippi, Arkansas, and Red rivers.
 
Sandpipers, plovers and other shorebirds
migrate north through the state in early spring and southward during late
summer. Shorebirds and waders require shallow water and mudflats for resting
and refueling during their long migration, they can be seen on wetlands, fallow
agricultural fields, and drained fish hatchery ponds throughout the state.
 
There are many great places to see the birds
of Arkansas, state parks, wildlife management areas, national wildlife refuges
such as the White River National Wildlife Refuge, or just driving along county
roads. Arkansas is home to 29 Audubon Important Bird Areas (IBA). IBAs
represent some of the most interesting places to find birds in Arkansas and are
located in every region of the state. With its mild climate and variety of
habitats Arkansas is a great place to watch birds and other
native Arkansas animals year-round.

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