Watch a flock of ducks soar overhead and statuesque herons wading through shallow water. Hike on peaceful trails as you spot brightly colored warblers flitting between tree branches. Experience all of this, and more, when you go birding in Pearland this spring.
Nestled in the heart of the Clear Lake Loop of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail just south of Houston, Pearland offers some of the best springtime birding in the Texas Gulf Coast. With numerous parks that house a multitude of birds, you’re guaranteed to see something new whether you’re a novice or an experienced birder.
If birding is your passion, you need to visit Pearland this spring. Read on to see and discover why.
Spring is Songbird Season
What do warblers, tanagers and flycatchers have in common? Besides being colorful showstoppers, these little birds are among the many that can be seen in Pearland in the spring. Starting in April, flocks of these lively songbirds, including yellow and hooded warblers and great crested flycatchers, pass through town on their seasonal migration routes.
Cross these birds off of your bucket list at either the Shadow Creek Ranch Nature Trail or the John Hargrove Environmental Center (for best results, go at dusk or dawn). Bring a pair of binoculars and find a quiet spot on a nature trail where you can hold still for a while to let the birds get used to your presence. Keep an eye out and you may see as many as 20 different species of songbirds, if you’re lucky.
Pearland’s Diverse Habitats House a Variety of Birds
Given its abundance of open waters, wetlands and hardwood and riparian forests, Pearland is essentially a microcosm of the Gulf Coast. What that means for you is that you’ll be able to see a staggering array of birds that either live in or pass through the region. Hike the paved trails and take in a fantastic view from the observation deck at Shadow Creek Ranch as you look for water birds like herons and egrets, as well as red-shouldered hawks, crested caracara and sandhill cranes.
To see waterfowl, find your way to the John Hargrove Environmental Complex & Wetlands. Boasting the first municipal floating wetlands in Texas, the complex is routinely home to hundreds of nesting pairs that form rookeries. Explore the 1.7-mile nature trail and you’ll encounter such friendly fliers as roseate spoonbills, American white pelicans and even blue jays and bald eagles. For a real treat, visit the Fite Road Bridge at dusk to see the emergence of the local bat colony.
Both of these parks offer more than enough to keep you busy, but there’s more. The nearby El Franco Lee Park in Houston is an 80-acre expanse of protected wetlands commonly visited by northern harriers, vermilion flycatchers and orange-crowned warblers in the spring. Exploring each of these three sites is an adventure all its own, but having them all in one place means you could easily dedicate your entire visit to birding. With so much to see, why wouldn’t you?
Location, Location, Location
While Pearland is a bona-fide birding destination in its own right, it’s also within day trip distance of two national wildlife refuges and other prominent birdwatching hotspots on the Gulf Coast. Venture south and you’ll find two of the region’s most significant birding locations: the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge and the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. Brazos Bend State Park, situated about an hour southwest of town, is a nature lover’s dream with 300 species of birds, a wealth of wildlife (including alligators) and hiking and biking trails to explore.
Pearland’s ideal location near all of these parks and wildlife refuges makes it the ideal starting point for your next Gulf Coast birding adventure.
It’s a Great Time to Get Outdoors
Refreshingly cool weather and abundant daylight are hallmarks of spring in Pearland, making it a stellar season to savor being outside as you’re hiking and birdwatching. Yet that’s just a sampling of the ways you can play outdoors in Pearland. Grab some friends for a scenic afternoon of disc golf on the nine-hole courses at Centennial Park and Shadow Creek Ranch. These parks, along with the John Hargrove Environmental Complex & Wetlands, are fantastic places to bring your camera and snap a few Instagram-worthy photos. For a traditional round of golf, book a tee time at Pearland Golf Club or Southwyck Golf Club, both of which offer 18 holes of picturesque golf.
For a more urban adventure, embark on a scavenger hunt for whimsical four-foot-tall pear sculptures painted by local artists that sit along the Pear-Scape Trail. Follow the trail and you’ll hit some of the coolest spots in town, all while soaking up that beautiful spring sunshine.
There’s Plenty to See and Do When You Need a Break from Birding
With all of the places you can go birding in Pearland, we understand that it can be overwhelming to fit everything in to one trip. After all, everyone needs a break. Fortunately, there are many ways you can unwind while you’re here. If you love craft beer, you’re in the right place. Pearland has two breweries, BAKFISH Brewing Co. and Vallensons’ Brewing Company, that craft everything from delightfully hoppy pale ales to robust stouts and porters. When it’s time to eat, you’ll have a full menu’s worth of cuisines from around the world to choose from. Tuck into some smoked USDA Prime brisket at Killen’s Barbecue listed as one of Texas Monthly’s 50 Top Barbecue Joints in Texas.
If shopping is how you unwind, you’re in luck. Start at the Pearland Town Center, a 1.1 million-square-foot open-air mall with 80 shops and 14 restaurants. Wander along Broadway Street to uncover one-of-a-kind treasures at the plethora of antique and boutique shops. Finally, no visit to Pearland is complete without a stop by the breathtaking Sri Meenakshi Hindu temple. With its towering gopurams and impressive exterior walls, the temple is a definite must see while you’re in town.
The springtime migration season is one of the best times to go birding in the Texas Gulf Coast. With its diverse habitats and ideal location, few places have as much to offer avian enthusiasts than Pearland. Plan your weekend stay today!