On the Mexican border at the southern tip of Texas, Laguna Atascosa Refuge occupies one of North America’s most biologically diverse regions and sees an impressive 417 species of birds — a number that represents nearly half the total for the continent as a whole. Migrants skirt the Gulf to the east and the desert to the west to funnel through this Central Flyway starting point, while many of the residents are species that reach their northernmost range here along the Rio Grande.
More than 250,000 ducks use the refuge in peak season in November; an estimated 80 percent of the North American population of Redheads winter in the area. The refuge is also a vital stopover for migrating neotropical songbirds, such as Painted Bunting, Bullock’s Oriole, and various warblers and hummingbirds. The refuge is also well known for its raptors, including migrating Peregrine Falcons in the spring and fall. The Aplomado Falcon, once wiped out in the United States, is making a comeback and can be seen hunting the refuge’s grasslands. Plain Chachalaca, White-tipped Dove, Green Jay, and Great Kiskadee are among the south Texas specialties that, along with species like the ocelot and blue metalmark butterfly, make this region unique in the United States.
The annual Rio Grande Valley Nature & Birding Festival often includes field trips to this special area.
Thank you to the USFWS for data and images used in this post.
Birding Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Texas. Have you birded this area? If so, tell us about it in the comments: