Heart of Louisiana: Watching the birds of Louisiana

Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 7:56 PM CST
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HOUMA, La. (WVUE) - Birdwatching is one of those outdoor activities that give you a nice break from the computer screen. It also creates a real challenge for photographers.

On a chilly morning in the Mandalay Wildlife Refuge, the Terrebonne Bird Club nests.

The tree-lined path is a great sport for birdwatching near Houma. Morning time is prime time.

The trail takes you along the edge of a freshwater marsh and under tree limbs draped with Spanish moss. At the midway point, a covered bridge crosses a small canal. The trail ends with a long boardwalk walk over a large pond.

The pond overlook is a prime location for spotting wading birds like the great egret and white ibis. They stand along the water’s edge, occasionally dipping their long beaks into the water trying to catch a meal. In the distance, a bald eagle sits on a branch near the top of a tall cypress tree. Smaller birds hop along logs and plants near the shoreline of the pond.

Samantha Nguyen acts as a spotter for members of the Terrebonne Bird Club as they slowly walk along the Mandalay Nature Trail, listening for bird sounds and watching for movement in trees and in the marsh grass.

“At first, I didn’t know a single one. And after you learn the common ones, you then learn the migratory birds. It’s just from going on trips and the experience.,” Nguyen says.

Club President Paul Schaub says you can see anywhere from 30 to 50 species on any given trip.

The Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge is located 5 miles west of Houma on Bayou Black Drive, Hwy 182. The Nature Trail is nearby.

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