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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Nevada’s 5 Best Bird Watching Spots This Summer

In terms of land mass, Nevada is one of the biggest states in the United States. One implication of this is that there are a lot of natural landscapes to explore for the adventurous. This includes mountains, forests, and plains. Despite being one of the driest U.S. states, Nevada still has an abundance of lakes and marshes as well. With such a diverse array of habitats, you can expect to find an abundance of wildlife and birds across various locations in the Silver State. Bird watching enthusiasts will have a filled day exploring some of Nevada’s best bird watching spots. In this post, we’ll list some of the best locations you can visit if you’re looking to see some of the nesting and migrating bird species in Nevada. 

1. Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve 

Reflections on a pond with mountain at Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
The third largest body of water in Nevada is found at Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.

iStock.com/sanfel

Located about 15 minutes’ drive southeast of downtown Las Vegas, the Henderson Bird Viewing preserve is a 140-acre natural preserve that hosts hundreds of migratory birds every year as well as numerous resident birds. The preserve used to be a wastewater treatment facility but has since been converted into a bird viewing preserve. This location has the highest number of bird species in Nevada. 

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There’s a visitor’s center at the park, and you can see several birds from there even without stepping outdoors at all. If you do feel like exploring, there are 9 ponds in the preserve where you can explore an array of shorebirds, waterfowl, and waterbirds. There are also paved paths and several soft-surface trails, which you can use to explore the park.

Common Bird Species at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve:

2. Desert National Wildlife Refuge

Black Phoebe posing on a tree stump
Black Phoebe birds mainly eat insects that they catch in the air.

iStock.com/G Parekh

This is a massive wildlife refuge located about 25 miles northwest of Las Vegas. With a landmass of about 1.6 million acres, this refuge is the largest in the United States outside of Alaska. Expectedly, this location is where you will find the most diverse list of bird species in Nevada. 

It may be impossible to explore the entire refuge because much of it is inaccessible. However, birdwatchers don’t need to venture too far. The major hotspot for birdwatching activities in the refuge is the area around the Corn Creek Visitor Center. This highly vegetated area attracts both migrating and nesting birds seeking shade from the hot desert landscape of Nevada. 

Common Bird Species at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge:

3. Floyd Lamb Park

Floyd Lamb Park, Las Vegas
In addition to bird watching, four of the lakes at Floyd Lamb Park are stocked for fishing.

iStock.com/Ruxandra Arustei

The Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs used to be a cattle ranch, but this 680-acre strip of land is now a state park. It is, in fact, one of the best bird watching sites in Nevada. Considered a true desert oasis, the park has four lakes with plenty of trees and plains that attract different species of birds yearly. 

More than 230 species of birds have been identified in this park. This includes birds that are typical of the region as well as numerous migrant species and even a few rare strays. Many people visit the park for picnics. It also has numerous hiking trails as well as several mountain biking trails. There are several wildlife species to see as well if you’re interested in doing other things in addition to watching birds. 

Common Bird Species at the Floyd Lamb Park:

4. Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge

Pelicans flying at Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge
Over 20,000 waterbirds come to the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, including pelicans.

iStock.com/Elizabeth Lara

Considering that most of Nevada is arid, many people will be surprised to know that the state has a refuge where you can find more than 10,000 waterfowl and shorebirds congregating on lakes in the area. Located in the western end of Nevada, the Lahontan Basin around which this refuge is built has been designated as an important wetland. Lake Lahontan used to cover the entire northwestern edge of Nevada during the Ice Age. The area still bears the mark of this ancient waterbody with its network of wetlands and marshes. 

The refuge is a favorite overwintering spot for bald eagles on their migratory flight. Half of the pacific flyway’s canvasback population stops here for a significant amount of time as well. Birdwatching enthusiasts from all over the state visit this unspoiled natural refuge because of the wonderful opportunity to see many bird species that they’re probably not going to see elsewhere in Nevada. 

Common Bird Species at the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge: 

  • Double-Crested Cormorant
  • Wilson’s Phalarope
  • American White Pelican
  • Red-Necked Phalarope
  • American Avocet
  • Bald Eagle
  • Rough-legged Hawk
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Northern Shovel 
  • Black-Necked Stilt

5. Great Basin National Park 

Great Basin National Park - Wheeler Peak
Wheeler Peak, at over 13,000 feet in elevation, is an overwhelming sight in the highly scenic Great Basin National Park in Nevada.

Arlene Waller/Shutterstock.com

Located near the eastern border of Nevada and Utah, the Great Basin National Park is a stunning location with one of the most impressive arrays of birds you will ever find. Given the remote location of the park, it is one of the least visited parks in the United States. This means you’ll have most of the park to yourself and a few other bird-watching enthusiasts. As one of Nevada’s best bird watching spots, you will discover different types of bird life while exploring the park’s hillsides and caves. 

The nature of the habitat in the Park changes as the elevation rises. The highest point of the Great Basin National Park is Wheeler Peak, at an elevation of 13,063 feet. To get here, you’ll drive through diverse habitats as the elevation changes. Expectedly, the birdlife you’ll see changes with the changing elevation as well. 

Common Bird Species at the Great Basin National Park: 

  • American Three-Toed Woodpecker
  • Mounting Chickadee
  • Juniper Titmouse
  • Pine Siskin
  • Western Scrub-Jay
  • Black Rosy-Finch
  • Townsend’s Solitaire
  • Williamson’s Sapsucker
  • Pinyon Jay
  • Cordilleran Flycatcher
  • Black-Chinned Hummingbird

In addition to this list, some of Nevada’s other bird watching spots include the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, ​Spring Mountain National Recreation Area, and Overton Wildlife Management Area. 

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The post Nevada’s 5 Best Bird Watching Spots This Summer appeared first on AZ Animals.

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