High Island


The Houston Audubon Society manages four bird sanctuaries in the area, the two most popular being Boy Scout Woods, which is staffed with volunteers from mid-March through mid-May, and Smith Oaks, the largest reserve, which also has a rookery with two great overlooks. Boy Scout Woods has bleachers set up next to water features, so you can post up for a while and study their behavior. All four have great hiking trails that provide an amazing view into the lives of these unique creatures. Topical Birding Tours offers free birding and photography walks and talks in spring. 

Best known from the movie, The Big Year, High Island is a spectacular birding location in the spring when migrants come pouring across the Gulf. A salt dome and mineral spring set at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, the name is apropos, as the habitat does rise 32 feet above the surrounding marshes, providing soil conditions favorable to trees and shrubs. Sightings and numbers are highest during a fallout, which generally occurs with a fast-moving cold front, so be sure to keep an eye on the weather.

•    Major Birding Sites: Boy Scout Woods Bird Sanctuary, Smith Oaks Bird Sanctuary
•    Additional Areas: Eubanks Woods Bird Sanctuary, S.E. Gast Red Bay Sanctuary

Birding Resources