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FAQ

Cattail Marsh in Beaumont, Texas

Not only does Texas offer a unique, world-class experience for birdwatchers and enthusiasts, but the state truly offers something for everybody. Nature trails, comfortable lodging, delicious cuisine, and various recreational activities and tourist attractions await you. We have some of the friendliest birds and the friendliest people in the nation. We look forward to welcoming you!

Below are common questions asked when tourists are planning their trip to Texas. For any other questions not answered below, feel free to contact Texas Birding at 956-202-1392 or director@texasbirding.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything You Need to Know When Planning Your Texas Bird-Watching Trip

What languages do people speak?
English is spoken across the state. Spanish is commonly spoken as a second language. German is spoken in some areas.
Is a checklist of Texas Birds available?
Yes, there is a PDF on our Additional Information page that can be downloaded. A similar checklist with useful annotations is available from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department website.

Annotated checklists for the Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds, Butterflies, Odonates, Herps, and Mammals are available from alamoinn@gmail.com There are fold-out laminated cards available to help with identifying birds, butterflies, herps, tracks, flowers and other natural history from bookstores and also available by mail from Alamo Inn B&B, Gear & Tours at alamoinn@gmail.com.

What is there to do for non-birders?
Check the tourism websites for the cities listed under our Birding in Texas page. Texas Birding has published an Adventure Guide for the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Is public transportation available?
The general answer is yes in cities and no outside of cities. Most hotspots are outside of the main cities. For those who do not wish to drive, it is advisable to join a tour or hire a guide.
Are guides and tours available?
Yes, numerous tour companies serve Texas. Guides are good, but there are few of them so they do need to be booked in advance. For more information, email director@TexasBirding.org or alamoinn@gmail.com.
What hotels and accommodations are available?
Texas is well served by hotels, motels, and B&Bs. Also Best Western has an extensive network of hotels across Texas. Most hotels provide a hair dryer, towels and linens, and some amenities such as soap and shampoo. Most include a simple breakfast and have a coffee brewer in the room but the quality of coffee varies greatly from very poor to good.
What is food availability?
Fast food and sit-down restaurants are widely available. Grocery stores and food marts at fuel stations are common. It is advisable to travel with bottled water for the trail and road. Texas is thirsty country.
What are the services and hours at birding hotspots?
The majority of hotspots have restrooms and visitor centers open during business hours. Visitor Centers provide information, check lists, maps, and displays with staff available to answer questions. Most hotspots are open dawn to dusk, except those operated by cities, which are open during business hours and closed one or two days a week, usually Sunday and Monday. National Wildlife Refuges and State Parks are open 7 days a week from dawn to dusk; most are closed at night, with a few exceptions. Currently most birding hotspots have an entrance fee of $5 to $10 per person, but some offer free entry. There is no card that covers entry to all hotspots. Different systems offer different cards. Enquire at the Visitor Center.
Are insect pests an issue?
During winter, insects are generally inactive, with the exception of mosquitoes. Spring through fall mosquitoes occur locally, chiggers (a tiny mite) often occur, but ticks are rare. It is best to carry insect repellant and apply it as needed to clothes and exposed skin. Diseases spread by insects are rare.
What is my risk of sunburn?
In Texas the sun is very strong. It is wise to wear a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeve shirts, long slacks, and to use good sun protection.
What shoes should I wear?
Normal hiking shoes are adequate for the well-maintained trails in Texas. Waterproof boots are not needed.
What equipment should I bring?
Binoculars are essential. A scope is recommended. A long-lens camera is very useful. A small backpack or hip pack to carry water and snacks is very useful.
Are identification guides available?
All of Texas except West Texas is included in the Eastern U.S. Guide books.
What is the availability of mobile telephone service, wireless internet, and mapping?
MOBILE PHONES: Telephone service for mobile telephones is provided by many competing companies, and each has differing coverage areas. The cities and major highways usually have good service, but less traveled routes and most birding hot spots are spotty with weak, intermittent, or no service. The most useful communication app is WhatsApp. Walmart offer some non-contract (top up) mobile telephones for good prices. Sym cards are not available for non-U.S. mobile phones.

WIRELESS INTERNET: Most hotels offer free wireless internet, but sometimes with a weak and slow connection. MacDonalds and some other restaurants offer free internet.

MAPPING: Maps on smartphones are good when there is service. It is advisable to print or save on the device maps of remote areas ahead of time (as without reliable wireless internet and without reliable telephone service maps may not be available for remote areas). Satellite navigation devices work virtually everywhere and are reliable. It is usually less costly to purchase a satnav device rather than rent it for an extended period. Most birding hot spots have printed trail maps available and there are some books published with trail maps (such as ABA Birder Guides, Dave Gosney guides).