For those who love nature and the animal kingdom, bird watching offers a great way to enjoy the beauty of these graceful creatures in their native habitats. Vicksburg is home to a number of bird species and excellent birding locations, making it an ideal destination for experienced birders and those just exploring the hobby as well. Plan a day of bird watching in Vicksburg with this rundown of the best places to find rare and interesting birds in the area from Visit Vicksburg.
Tara Wildlife, Inc.
Over 17,000 acres of bottomland hardwood forest and 12 miles of Mississippi River frontage make up the Tara Wildlife, Inc. site, which has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. The naturally flooded habitats near the Mississippi River levee are home to many post-breeding waders, including Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, White Ibis and Little Blue Herons. In the late summer, watch out for storks and waders who congregate around these drying pools to feast on the fish that become trapped there. Many common nesters live along the river as well, such as Baltimore Orioles, Warbling Vireos, Mississippi Kites and Painted Buntings. Tara Wildlife, Inc. is also home to a Bald Eagle pair that has nested there since the early 1980s. The diverse selection of species in this vast habitat makes it an essential stop for any avid bird watcher. Tara also offers a printable list of bird species to look out for while you’re exploring the property.
Delta National Forest
When the United States purchased the Delta National Forest in 1935, it was the country’s first and only national bottomland hardwood forest. While only 20% of the original forested wetlands remains, there are still more than 60,000 acres of contiguous hardwoods. Its location in the Mississippi Flyway, the continent’s largest migration channel, has made it an attractive habitat for migratory birds, such as Summer Tanagers and Prothonotary Warblers. Several waterfowl, neotropical songbirds and raptors, like the Mississippi Kite, also call the Delta National Forest home.
Shipland Wildlife Management Area
Like Tara Wildlife, Inc., the Shipland Wildlife Management Area boasts Mississippi River frontage. The sandbar habitats in the river are best known as a home for colonies of Interior Least Terns. The sandbars also provide resting and feeding opportunities for migratory shorebirds and water birds, like the Wood Stork. In fact, 13 species of shorebird and up to 1,000 birds in total were spotted in the area in one year. Besides the sandbar habitats, a grassland habitat is still being explored to determine which birds may nest there.
Vicksburg National Military Park
Spring and fall are the best times of year to go bird watching in the Vicksburg National Military Park. In the fall, this site is the only place in the state where you can find migrating raptors, including Broad-winged Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles. Fort Hill, the highest point on the park’s western edge, is the perfect spot to catch a glimpse of these species as they stop by the habitat while migrating. Visitors can also view rare species, such as Swainson’s and Wormeating Warblers, who nest in the steep Loess Soil Hills. In the springtime, several migratory landbirds make their home in the park as well, although their activity and nesting habits are still being researched.
Grab Your Binoculars
With so many important Bird Areas, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for bird watching in Vicksburg. Add a day of birding to your itinerary to enjoy the beautiful weather and fresh air, or plan your trip around the species you wish to see most. Interested in other outdoor activities in Vicksburg? Contact Visit Vicksburg today by calling 800-221-3536, or download our area nature guide for additional information.