STATE PARK ADVENTURES
Birds! Birds! Birds!
A plain chachalaca strolls the grounds while a green jay stops for a drink and an Altamira oriole takes a bite of an orange at the feeding station. Three different species of hummingbirds zoom in and out.
At the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park wildlife-viewing blind, the action is nonstop. This is one of the best places in the country for bird-watching.
“People come here for the birds,” says lead park interpreter Roy Rodriguez.
Bentsen’s wetland, scrub brush, riparian and woodland habitats make it a world-class destination to observe birds and wildlife commonly found in the subtropics of northern Mexico.
Only scattered fragments of the original Rio Grande Valley habitat remain, and those fragments have some of the highest biodiversity in the U.S.
“This is one of the biological crossroads of North America,” Rodriguez says. “We’re not quite tropical, not quite temperate. We have two migratory flyways that come through here.”
The result is one of the most spectacular convergences of birds on Earth, with more than 530 species documented in the Rio Grande Valley (including about 20 species found nowhere else in the U.S.) and 365 species at Bentsen itself.
Bentsen’s bird-feeding stations are stocked in the colder months, making wintertime one of the best and easiest times to view a wide variety of birds. Trails, bird blinds and the Hawk Observation Tower offer viewing options.
Take a tram
Stay the night
See more birds
Bentsen - Rio Grande Valley State Park
Park Admission $5 Daily;
Kids 12 and under: Free
Reservations are recommended for day use or overnight stays.
Russell Roe Katy Baldock (top); | TPWDx2; Lee Hoy (sidebar)
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