In response to the BIRD: The Definitive Visual Guide giveaway, three great birding bloggers have recommended three great birding sites. If you’re looking for ideas for your next U.S. birding excursion, here are some inspired possibilities…

Liza Lee Miller of The Egret’s Nest loves Elkhorn Slough in Moss Landing, California:
My favorite birding place is an absolutely beautiful area. You can *see* why it is my favorite place to bird by visiting my Flickr account. I would also like to tell you why I like it so much. First and foremost, it is a place where land and water meet. It is a place of sweeping vistas — vast views of nearby hills, the slough waters, and out to the ocean. The land of the reserve was once a dairy so it is recovering land — it is being turned back into wild nature but there is still signs of habitation — an old barn that now hosts Barn Owls. Beautiful flowers that grow in a hedgerow. Birds abound — there are raptors in the tall power lines and trees. There are warblers and sparrows in the meadows. There are shorebirds by the dozens. Hummingbird Island does, indeed, have many, many hummingbirds. There are rookeries with egrets and night herons. There are ducks by the hundreds. Owls live in a Eucalyptus grove. And, while viewing all that, you’re likely to see bunnies, deer, huge fish, sea otters, and more. It is all easy, accessible land that one can walk with kids or seniors. And, there is just very little about Elkhorn Slough that is displeasing. Oh, and at the visitor center, they let you borrow binocs for free. It’s a little slice of birding heaven.

Will Raup of The Nightjar promotes Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in Delmar, New York:
This is the place that I cut my teeth birding at. It has a great amount of mixed habitat and regularly has a list of over 150 species per year and checklist nearly twice that. The feeders are stocked year round and often offer surprises, plus the injured Barred Owl at the visitors center is well, a real hoot.

Rob Fergus of The Birdchaser recommends Hornsby Bend in Austin, Texas:
Hornsby Bend–the sewage ponds in Austin, Texas–has harbored over 370 bird species on its 1,200 acres of ponds, fields, and riparian woodlands at the center of the continent where Ruby-throated and Black-chinned Hummingbirds meet along with Long-tailed Ducks and Least Grebes. The haunting calls of Upland Sandpipers cascade down from overhead during migration, Ringed Kingfishers ply along the river, Barred Owls sound off as a troop of monkeys on moonless nights, and vagrants frequently stop in, including Fork-tailed Flycatchers from South America (twice), Curlew Sandpipers from Asia, and seabirds blown off course during tropical storms. Small enough that you can almost know every bush and tree, yet always full of surprises, I never once lead a morning field trip there without finding at least 50 species.

Hmmm… all three recommendations include references to owls. Guess we know what birds put butts in seats, as the vernacular goes.

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.