Best Spots for Mississippi Gulf Coast Birding

Matt Claiborne
December 10, 2021

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is home to an impressive variety of birdlife. Species found in the area include Osprey, Blue Heron, Prothonotary Warbler, Egrets, Red-Winged Black Bird, the Mississippi Sand Crane, and the Bald Eagle.


Birds flying

The Mississippi Gulf Coast features diverse landscapes and habitats. The Gulf Coast is a popular stop for migrating birds to rest before continuing their journey south. Shorebirds enjoy the protected Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Visitors can find wading birds in marshy areas, and waterfowl enjoy the area's bayous.

The area is home to a local endangered species, the Mississippi Sandhill Crane. Lucky birders might spot one of these rare, large birds in their natural habitat.


Crane National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect the critically endangered Mississippi Sandhill Cranes and their habitat. There are only about 100 Mississippi Sandhill Cranes alive today, and all of them live in and near the refuge, which encompasses over 19,000 acres.

Most of the refuge is off-limits to visitors. However, the Visitor Center offers many ways for visitors to enjoy the area and watch the birdlife.

A 3/4-mile trail next to the visitor center takes visitors through pine savanna, pine scrub, and tidal marsh. In spring, visitors can admire carnivorous plants and blooming orchids.

Birders might see wading birds such as the Great Blue Heron and songbirds, including Bachman's Sparrow and Eastern Bluebird. Birders will also see Osprey, Harriers, and Red-tailed Hawks.

The refuge offers guided tours to blinds that overlook crane feeding areas. These tours run in January and February.


Pascagoula Audubon

Visitors can experience the gateway to the Pascagoula River, one of America's largest free-flowing rivers. This area features abundant birdlife and wildlife and is home to over 300 bird species.

The local habitat provides nesting areas for Mississippi Kites and Swallow-tailed Kites. Prothonotary Warblers, Hooded Warblers, Magnolia Warblers, Bald Eagles, and Hooded Mergansers are often seen here. In addition, visitors often see Little Blue Herons and Brown Pelicans.

A boat tour is available so visitors can immerse themselves in this gorgeous landscape. In addition, the center has an interpretive area and a native plant botanical garden.


Gulf Islands National Seashore is home to over 280 bird species. Migratory birds rest here on their journey southward. Clapper Rails and Spotted Sandpipers take advantage of the freshwater marsh shelter. Gulls, shorebirds, and terns enjoy the coastal area year-round.

Ship Island is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and is home to various shorebirds.

The Davis Bayou Area offers visitors easy access to enjoy the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Visitors can walk the Davis Bayou Trail and enjoy a two-mile stroll through two bayous and a coastal forest.


Magnolia Birding Pier

The Magnolia Birding Pier overlooks a bayou and shallow tidal marsh. Visitors can find a variety of birds hunting for food or enjoying the water. Wading birds are often seen along the edges of the marsh area. Waterbirds often rest in the bayou while rails walk through the marshes.

Birders often spot Least Bitterns, Tricolored Herons, Clapper Rails, Least Terns, and Black Skimmers along the Magnolia Birding Pier.


The Mississippi Gulf Coast offers excellent birding across a variety of habitats. Grab your camera and binoculars, and you might be surprised at how many species you find.

In addition to enjoying wildlife and birdlife, Mississippi offers couples a variety of romantic things to do in the area. So enjoy date night in Long Beach, MS and soak up all of Mississippi's charms with your partner.

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