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Birding at the Bayou

Spring migration is here! Twice each year, billions of birds take flight on migration between their wintering and breeding grounds. At the mouth of the Chocolay River, the Chocolay Bayou Nature Preserve protects 13 acres of wetland habitat that acts as a stopover for migratory birds. These near-shore habitats are critical for refueling and sheltering birds along their taxing migratory journeys. For some birds, the Bayou just might be their stopping point for the season, where they will begin to scope out preferred nesting sites and gather the materials for their build. Keep an eye out later in the Spring for birds carrying grasses, leaves, and other nesting materials in their bills!

Along with a wide variety of birds that can be spotted hanging out in this natural area, you soon will see the arrival of Common Yellowthroats, Eastern Phoebes, and even Trumpeter Swans who were recently seen at the Bayou this March! The characteristic tail-wagging and raspy “fee-bee” call of the Eastern Phoebe, is a sure sign that spring has arrived. The bright yellow hues and black mask of the Common Yellowthroat will soon be seen peeping through the dense low vegetation, and singing “witchety-witchety-witchety”.

The preserve is equipped with a bird blind perfect for resting your elbows and staying out of sight for optimal wildlife viewing. In August 2021, the bird blind received an upgrade with a mural painted by Sawft Sea during our annual Chocolay Bayou Art Walk. Check it out!

Here are some easy ways you can get started by providing a safe passage for migratory birds.

  • Turn off unnecessary exterior and decorative lights

  • Pull shades at night to prevent light emitted

  • Add proper decals and window treatments to prevent daytime bird window strikes

  • Protect birds from cats

  • Leave fallen trees in wooded backyards to provide habitat and food source

The Chocolay Bayou Nature Preserve was established in 2016. Protecting the Bayou is a truly grassroots effort that was spearheaded and continued by local residents and partners from several conservation organizations. Many of these bird species are vulnerable to habitat loss by increasing global temperatures and habitat destruction causing shifts in the migration range. That is why it is so important for places like the Chocolay Bayou Nature Preserve to be protected- forever.

The Chocolay Bayou Nature Preserve is open for passive recreation during daylight hours. A map of the preserve can be found by visiting the Chocolay Bayou Nature Preserve page on our website. Please respect wildlife when you head out to the preserve.

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