Birding in Hornsby Bend

If you are looking for a nearby place to see lots of birds, I have a suggestion – get thee to Hornsby Bend.

Specifically, go to the Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory, located at an old wastewater treatment plant just a few miles from Austin’s airport on the north side of the Colorado River. It can sometimes be a bit smelly, but you’ll be rewarded with avian sightings ranging from ducks and coots to warblers and vireos.

April is the high month for spring migration, which means lots of birds at Hornsby Bend are preparing to leave, especially the waterfowl. So don’t delay, drive out before they all fly north.

On a recent day, April 29 to be exact, here is just a small listing of dozens of species seen at Hornsby Bend: Blue-winged teal, ruddy duck, red-winged blackbird, eastern bluebird, chimney swift, black-necked stilt, killdeer, stilt sandpiper, Baird’s sandpiper, least sandpiper and spotted sandpiper.

There are three miles of trails at the facility, and you’ll find oak woodlands, ponds, grassy fields, and lots of riverside habitat. Mosquitoes can be a problem, so be sure to wear a repellant. 

While I’ve never found it to be overpowering, there is a smell about the place – after all, it is a sewage treatment facility. But my-oh-my – the birds.  I especially enjoyed all the wood ducks on my last visit.

For information on free weekend guided tours, google Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory or call 512 972-1960.

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