Resaca de la Palma State Park is one of the newest Texas parks in the World Birding Center network; it is also the largest natural habitat in the network. Over 1,700 acres of subtropical forests, along with the ponds formed by the resacas (abandoned river banks) along the Rio Grande have created a Texas bird watching site like no other. Neotropical birds as well as various migrating species can be seen here at certain times of the year. The resacas draw a wide variety of water fowl, including herons, egrets, and bitterns, while the thick underbrush of the forests attract vireos, thrashers and sparrows. For tips on finding and identifying just a few of the birds you may see while bird watching at the Resaca de la Palma State Park, see below.
Ring-necked Duck. Look for the gray bill, shiny purple head and yellow eyes of this duck as it dives in the Texas ponds of the Resaca de la Palma State Park, looking for plants, insects and small fish. You may also notice while bird watching that it has a white ring around its bill, which is why this duck is sometimes called the Ring-billed Duck.
Lesser Scaup. This small duck can be found while bird watching at the ponds of the Resaca de la Palma State Park in Texas. It has a black head and breast, and a whitish-gray back. These ducks have bills that are a bluish-gray color, so you will sometimes hear them called Little Bluebills.
Cooper’s Hawk. Look for this bird of prey’s short, round wings and very long, banded tail. It also has red eyes and a black cap. Sometimes referred to as the Mexican Hawk or Chicken Hawk, you can observe it while bird watching at the Resaca de la Palma State Park as it glides over the open Texas forests, searching for prey.
Eared Grebe. Unmistakable with its golden ear tufts on an all black head, you will see this water bird as it dives and swims for prey in the Texas ponds of the Resaca de la Palma State Park. This bird is a very good swimmer, and will actually dive and swim away when threatened instead of taking flight.
Great Egret. This magnificent bird can stand up to three feet tall and have a wing span of 55 inches or more. Look for this all white bird while bird watching the Texas ponds of the Resaca de la Palma State Park, although it can also be observed feeding in drier areas, spearing its prey with its long sharp bill. It has a yellow bill and black legs and feet.
Black-crowned Night Heron. You can recognize this water bird while bird watching at the Resaca de la Palma State Park from its black crown and back, as well as its red eyes and short yellow legs. Early morning or twilight in Texas is the best time to look for this bird as its stands on the edge of the water, waiting to ambush its prey.
Black-necked Stilt. Look for this funny little bird’s long pink legs and long black bill. This water bird has a black back and wings, along with a white tail and a black cap. Look for it probing for food along the Texas mud banks while bird watching at the Resaca de la Palma State Park.