We recently received a press release from “Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou,” a tourism promotion featuring Bayou Lafourche and its great birding, thanks to its position along the Louisiana Flyway. According to the release:
This region welcomes hundreds of species of migratory birds – including an array of songbirds – each spring and fall. Millions of birds live in or visit Louisiana each year, ranking the state as one of the top 10 places to see a diverse population of feathered friends.
According to the state’s fisheries department, there are more than 400 bird species on record in Louisiana, with the state’s coastal regions boasting the most impressive populations. And that means that all visitors to Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou have a good chance of spotting a range of birds they’ve never seen before.
In spring and fall, the trees up and down the bayou are filled with a veritable rainbow of songbirds – blue jays, indigo buntings, scarlet tanagers, American goldfinches, brown-headed nuthatches, yellow-throated warblers, red-winged blackbirds, ruby-throated humingbirds and white-eyed vireos. The color spectrum isn’t limited to treetops, though; the marshes and shores are also filled with their own living palette: herons in green and blue, night-herons with yellow or black crowns, white ibises, black skimmers, purple gallinules and reddish egrets.
Of all the bird species that make their homes here – temporary or permanent – the two that probably get to pose for the most photos are the brown pelican, Louisiana’s state bird, and the bald eagle. The majestic eagle has made quite a comeback in this area, and Louisiana now serves as one of the species’ top population centers. A great way to see an eagle is on a swamp tour. Pelicans are much easier to spot, making themselves at home around fishing boats and docks and sometimes flying right alongside boats or posing on pylons in the hopes of getting a fish scrap or two.
A full range of other birds can be spotted on swamp tours or from the deck of a fishing boat, too … but for a more land-oriented birdwatching experience, visitors are encouraged to stop by the elevated boardwalk in the town of Lockport. The structure runs 440 feet through the wetlands and provides a safe and dry way for humans to get a peek into the natural beauty of Bayou Lafourche.
Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou is proud to be part of America’s Wetland Birding Trail, which crosses through 22 parishes in southern Louisiana and offers some of the best birding opportunities anywhere in the United States.
The Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center, a National Park site in downtown Thibodaux, has a shop that sells guides to local wildlife, including a waterproof, compact, fold-out resource called “Birds of Louisiana” that highlights statistics, habitats and seasons of the state’s most notable species. Look for the brochure with the roseate spoonbill on the front, grab a pair of binoculars, and get ready to meet some of the Bayou’s most colorful residents.