Birding Trail

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Arkansas regions Ozarks River Valley Ouachitas Timberlands Central Delta

With its mild climate and variety of habitats Arkansas is a great place to watch birds and other native Arkansas animals year-round. To date over 400 species have been documented. Habitat ranges from deciduous woodlands to open prairies, which in turn attracts a variety of woodland and grassland birds to the state. Regional specialties such as Smith's Longspur, Painted Bunting, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, and Red-cockaded Woodpecker and other birds of Arkansas can be seen relatively easily.

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 Arkansas, while others stop only to rest and refuel before continuing their long journeys.

There are so many great places to see the birds of Arkansas on bird watching trips–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 species and observe bird habits in Arkansas and are located in every region of the state.

Audubon Important Bird Areas

What are Audubon Important Bird Areas?

Audubon Important Bird Areas (IBA) are sites that provide essential habitat for one or more breeding, wintering, and/or migrating species of bird. Across the nation, a wide variety of birds, including currently common species, are in decline. Habitat loss and fragmentation, increasing land use pressures from urban sprawl and agriculture, exotic invasive species, global climate change, and more threaten to diminish both the quantity and quality of critical bird habitat throughout the state.

IBAs serve as a catalyst for creating conservation partnerships in support of, and for educating the public about those areas most important for the long-term survival of birds. These areas are an important tool for preserving wildlife by prioritizing land use options for national, state, and local land managers. Improved decision making regarding land use options will help ensure the long-term health of both common and uncommon bird species.

Arkansas's Important Bird Area Program was initiated in November 2001 with the establishment of the IBA Technical Committee. Committee members are state and federal employees, university professors, and private citizens who represent all areas of the state. IBAs represent some of the most interesting places to find birds in Arkansas and are located in every region of the state. For more information on Audubon Important Bird Areas in The Natural State, check out Arkansas IBAs.