How To Go Bird Watching on Tybee Island
It’s no secret that Tybee Island is a great place to see stunning wildlife. However, what many don’t know is that our barrier island is on the Colonial Coastal Birding Trail. Host to over 211 bird species, Tybee Island and Little Tybee are perfect destinations for observing migratory birds. So, whether you plan to stroll on the beach, lounge on the veranda or take a boat ride along the marshes – Tybee Island’s bird population is sure to keep you entertained!
One location on Tybee Island with excellent birding is North Beach, near the Tybee Island Lighthouse. This is often referred to as the best place in Georgia to spot Purple Sandpipers along the jetties, especially during the winter months. Northern Gannetts, terns, ducks and gulls can be seen flying offshore or digging in the sand for food. The further north you venture, the more likely you are to see mixed flocks of shorebirds roosting, including Black Skimmers, Black Backed Gulls, Red Knots, Plovers and rare American Oystercatchers. The best birding seasons for shorebirds include fall, winter and spring, while gull-like birds can be spotted year-round.
The island’s many nature trails host a variety of birds. McQueen’s Trail and the Sally Pearce Nature Trail are great places to spot warblers, the Painted Bunting and other vocal birds. Look (and listen) for these from spring through summer along the edges of the woodlands. In the winter, at the mouth of the river, you can see loons, pelicans, ruddy ducks and cormorants.
Little Tybee Island is only accessible by water and home to a wealth of bird species. The island is a 7,600 acre natural heritage preserve owned by the state of Georgia and, as such, is a haven for so many undisturbed species. Thanks to the fact that the island remains uninhabited, the birding is spectacular. Pack a lunch and spend the day spotting some of coastal Georgia’s most beautiful species.
Take a boat or kayak for a ride through Tybee’s intracoastal waterways and marshlands to glimpse the Black and Yellow Crowned Night Heron, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Louisiana Heron, Osprey, Brown Pelican and so many more. Be sure to paddle past the Cockspur Lighthouse for a great view of birds sunning themselves on the rocks!
Fort Pulaski is a 5,600-acre national monument that is home to over 200 species of birds. The marsh that surrounds the fort and nearby Lazaretto Creek Bridge is a great place to spot Sparrows as well as Marsh Wrens throughout the year. Wear your walking shoes because there are plenty of trails along the perimeter where you can spot a flock of Cedar Waxwings, warbiers and the Painted Bunting. During the winter months, waterfowl can be seen throughout the area. On the bridge leading to the fort, look out for Forester’s Terns lining the railing, almost like your own little welcome party!