Region 8 - Coastal Prairie
The Coastal Prairie
Region 8 provides a range of habitats including coastal marshes, tall grass prairies, rice fields, pine forests, oak mottes, and urban parks. In the spring, the Coastal Prairie is world-famous for its migrant traps, particularly around High Island and Sabine Woods. In winter, the Matagorda County - Mad Island Marsh Christmas Bird Count is consistently number one in the country. The region also includes the ever-expanding city of Houston, making it one of the most populous regions in the state. Whether you prefer to venture out on your own, attend a bird walk at a nearby park, or watch a presentation at a local birding chapter, this region has ample opportunities to see and learn about birds.
With more than 550 species reported, Region 8 has an incredible number and diversity of birds to find. It is home to the remnant population of Attwater's Prairie Chickens, a highly endangered subspecies of the Greater Prairie Chicken. More recently, the region hosted the first ever nesting Limpkins in Texas as well as the first Whooping Cranes to nest in the state in over 100 years. It is also home to a few newly-countable species like Red-vented Bulbul and Scaly-breasted Munia.
Popular Birding Locations:
As of 2022, the Coast Prairie region contains all five of TOS's sanctuaries. You can find out more about our sanctuaries here (insert link). There are a number of other well-known hotspots and dozens of hidden gems in the area, including:
Brazos Bend State Park - Located about 50 miles southwest of Houston, this park is enjoyable anytime of year. With a variety of habitats, including tall grass prairie, live oak forests, swamps, lakes, and marshes, there is always something to see. Elm Lake and 40-Acre Lake are great places to view waterbirds, and visitors are likely to see multiple alligators sunning themselves or bellowing on the water's edge. Additionally, the park has camping facilities, a nature center, and the George Observatory. For more information, visit Brazos Bend State Park — Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge - Another great spot for year-round birding, Anahuac NWR is a 37,000-acre refuge located about 60 miles east of Houston. Watch nesting herons, egrets, ibis, rails, and more in the summer, practice sparrow identification in the winter, and count all of the colorful birds during spring and fall migration. And if the mosquitos are out, enjoy Anahuac's Shoveler Pond Driving Loop from the safety of a vehicle! For more information, visit Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (fws.gov)
Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary - This privately owned 18-acre sanctuary is managed by Houston Audubon. Located just east of Beltway 8 and Memorial Dr, it is a convenient spot for those in the Houston area. With approximately 200 bird species reported, including 37 warbler species, this woodland park is particularly popular among birdwatchers during spring migration. The site also contains Edith L Moore's 1932 log cabin and a native plant nursery. For more information, visit Visitor Information | Edith Moore Sanctuary | Houston Audubon.
Kleb Woods Nature Preserve - This 134-acre park is located in Northwest Harris County about 40 miles from Downtown Houston. With a nature center, a historic 1896 farm house, and 3.5 miles of hiking trails. Nearly 250 species have been recorded in the park, and many of those were seen during the staff-led weekly bird walks, which are held every Wednesday. Brown-headed nuthatches are a popular species among birdwatchers in the area. The population at Kleb Woods is at the most southern and western edge of the species’ range, and the park is one of the most popular places to find them in Harris County. Also on offer are a variety of nature and history-related programs for kids and adults and a Hummingbird Festival held every September. The unique blend of nature and history provides visitors with an experience unlike most local parks. For more information, visit Kleb Woods Nature Preserve Center - Harris County Precinct 4 (hcp4.net).
REGION 8 – Coastal Prairie
Counties: Austin, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Jackson, Jefferson, Matagorda, Victoria, Waller, Wharton
Region 8 Coastal Prairie
Click on the links below to view the North American Birds report from this biological region in Texas. The TOS Region that most closely matches the biological region is noted in parentheses.
Upper Texas Coast (similar to TOS Region 8 Coastal Prairie)
Texas Ornithological Society
Welcome to the Amazing World of Texas Birds!
If you love birds, Texas is definitely the place for you! With eight different geographical regions to explore, each offering its own, unique wildlife environment; more than 660 species to be discovered; and a location adjacent to the tropical regions of Mexico and Central America, you never know what you might see when you grab your binoculars and head out!
Texas Ornithological Society is proud to promote the discovery, knowledge, observation and conservation of birds in Texas since 1953.