Several locations in and around Big Bend National Park offer excellent birdwatching in a variety of habitats.
Rio Grande Village, Big Bend National Park – Always one of the best locations in the area. Any time of year delivers interesting and exciting birding for all skill levels. Zone-tailed Hawk, Common Black Hawk, Vermillion Flycatcher, and Greater Roadrunners often treat birders to great moments of viewing pleasure.
Chisos Basin – A Chihuahuan Desert sky island, with elevations reaching almost 8000′, the Chisos Basin offers a complete change of temperature, habitat, and population. Spring, summer, and fall offer Phainopepla, Pyrrhuloxia, Scott’s Oriole, Colima Warbler, Magnificent Hummingbird, Blue-throated Hummingbird, Black-chinned Sparrow, and many others. Lots of elevation change, so be prepared for slow and easy.
Sam Nail Ranch – A nicely shaded low desert oasis off the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. An old windmill that is allowed to continue to pump water keeps pecan trees, Mexican persimmon, fig, and a wide variety of native plants alive at this abandoned old ranch site. These in turn provide shelter for a great variety of birds. Varied bunting, Painted bunting, Bell’s Vireo, Crissal thrasher, and lots of exciting surprises await visitors to this quiet spot. Just relax on the bench, watch the pool of water and wait for the birds to appear.
Lajitas Resort – A privately owned resort on the banks of the Rio Grande, Lajitas is a good place to spot a variety of birds that are attracted to the riparian zone and the Rio Grande. Common Yellowthroat, Marsh Wren, Swamp Sparrow, Mexican Mallard, Verdin, and Black-tailed Gnatcatcher are just a few of the treats to be found beside the river.
La Kiva – Site of an RV park, this shaded little retreat on the banks of Terlingua Creek always provides a relaxing birding experience. Either feeder watching around some of the visiting RVers or walking along Terlingua Creek, you can get good easy looks at Pyrrhuloxia, Black Phoebe, Lesser Goldfinch, Verdin, Inca Dove, and many others at almost any time of year.
Pena Colorado Park – This hidden little spring fed pond, surrounded by Cottonwood trees is another bird magnet in the dry desert. Just a few miles south of Marathon this peaceful little county park provides birders with lots of Vermilion Flycatchers, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Lesser Goldfinches, Black Phoebes, Cactus Wrens and lots of other activity.