Discover the Amazing Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds

These four hotspots for lower Rio Grande Valley birds offer birdwatchers plenty of chances to see rare and unique species.

A Green Jay In Laguna Atascosa Nwr, TexasCheri Alguire/Getty Images
Green jay

Whether you’re a beginner or experienced birder, these four birding spots in the lower Rio Grande Valley deserve a special visit.

1. Resaca de la Palma State Park

Grab your binoculars and head to Resaca de la Palma State Park in Brownsville, Texas. Walk along more than 8 miles of trails or rent a bicycle for the weekend. You can search for green jays, least grebes and Harris’s hawks—all commonly spotted within the park. Psst—south Texas is also a butterfly hotspot for hundreds of rare butterflies.

buff bellied hummingbird, rio grande valley birdsCourtesy Ruth Hoyt
Buff-bellied hummingbird in south Texas

2. Sabal Palm Sanctuary

View many must-see Rio Grande Valley birds, including the plain chachalaca, white-tipped dove and buff-bellied hummingbird, at the Sabal Palm Sanctuary, one of the best birding locations in Texas. 

Want to see more species? Go birdwatching in different habitats!

Laguna Atascosa Nwr Gulf Of MexicoMoelyn Photos/Getty Images
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

3. Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

A short drive away in Los Fresnos, the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is a top location for the rare aplomado falcon and a wide variety of wading birds and shorebirds. Be sure to check out the feeders stationed around the visitor center. 

Get to know the beach birds you may see at coastal birding hotspots.

Underneath most bird feeders in the area, you'll find White-tipped Doves cleaning up what others have spilled.Courtesy Rob Ripma
Look for white-tipped doves at feeding stations in the Valley.

4. South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center and Alligator Sanctuary

Not far from Brownsville, Texas, the South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center and Alligator Sanctuary gives visitors and locals alike fantastic options for spotting Rio Grande Valley birds throughout the year. Register on the sanctuary’s website for a guided tour with an educator. Or take a stroll along a boardwalk that’s more than 3,000 feet long. For an even better view, climb the five-story viewing tower.

Rio Grande Valley Birding Courtesy Rob Ripma
Plain chachalacas are a common sight in the Rio Grande Valley and make quite a racket every morning.

For more Texas travel, explore the Piney Woods and rose capital of America and the oldest town in Texas.

Molly Jasinski
Molly Jasinski is an editor, writer and social media manager for Birds & Blooms. She’s been with the magazine since 2019 and with Trusted Media Brands since 2012. She brings more than 10 years of editorial experience to Birds & Blooms and has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. In her role, Molly works closely with bird experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman and gardening expert Melinda Myers, in addition to the Birds & Blooms freelance writers. Molly was featured in a May 2023 episode of The Thing With Feathers birdwatching podcast. She's a member of the nonprofit Friends of Wehr Nature Center in Franklin, Wisconsin, a popular location for birdwatching in southeastern Wisconsin. She goes out birding often and is still hoping to spot a tufted titmouse in the near future.