Caddo Lake State Park is named for Caddo Lake, which was the only natural lake in Texas until it was dammed for flood control in 1914. Actually more like a 30,000-acre swamp, lush vegetation fills its sloughs, bayous and ponds while ancient cypress trees overhang its shaded waters. In addition to camping, swimming, fishing and boating, the bird watching at this Texas state park is amazing. Over 240 species of birds have been sighted here. The bird songs found here are so varied and musical that this lake was once known as “Fairy Lake” for the lovely music that was heard here. While bird watching at Caddo Lake State Park you may hear over 13 species of warblers singing, mixed in with the cries of owls, woodpeckers, geese, ducks, wrens and sparrows. For tips on finding and identifying just a few of the birds you may see while bird watching at Caddo Lake State Park in Texas, see below.
Double-crested Cormorant. This large, all-black bird has a distinctive double crest of black and white feathers that makes it easy to identify when bird watching. Also look for the orange and yellow bare patch on its face. You will find this bird swimming and diving at bayous and ponds while bird watching at Caddo Lake State Park in Texas. Unlike many other water birds, Cormorants do not have waterproof feathers, and so must spend more time than others drying off after swimming or diving.
Great Egret. This is a very large water bird, standing up to three feet tall. Look for it while bird watching along the shores of Caddo Lake as it stalks fish and other prey in the shallow waters. You can distinguish the Great Egret from other large white birds while bird watching by its yellow bill and black legs and feet. Also look for it on drier land, hunting insects.
Red-shouldered Hawk. You will see this medium sized hawk while bird watching as it perches in the tall Cypress trees of Caddo Lake Park in Texas, waiting to swoop down on its prey. It will also sometimes fly low over open areas, searching for small mammals and lizards. Red-shouldered hawks can be about two feet long, with a wingspan of three feet. Recognize them while bird watching at Caddo Lake State Park from their brown heads, reddish chests, and reddish barring on their white bellies. They also have longer tails than most hawks, barred with white, and long yellow legs.
American Coot. Look for this water bird while bird watching along the swamps and bayous of Caddo Lake State Park in Texas. You can recognize them from their short white bills, which have a brown spot near the top, between their eyes. They have gray bodies, yellow legs, and a dark band on the tip of their bills. Coots will both dive and forage for food, and are very funny to watch when they attempt to take flight, pedaling frantically across the surface of Caddo Lake before becoming airborne.
Killdeer. You can easily identify this plover while bird watching from the striking black bands on its white breast. It also has a brown back, wings, cap and face, with a white forehead and orange eyering. This bird is well known for the “broken wing” display it puts on to distract predators from its nest. Look for them foraging along the mud banks when you are bird watching at Caddo Lake State Park in Texas.
Pileated Woodpecker. It is hard to miss this very large woodpecker, which is about the size of a crow, with a red crest and white stripes down the side of its throat. The rest of its body is black. Look for this bird in the tall trees of Caddo Lake State Park in Texas, where its long, loud drumming can be heard ringing out. You will see it while bird watching as it hunts for ants, beetles, nuts and fruits.