Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

Donna, Texas

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Santa Ana has long been one of the most famous birding destinations in the United States, a legendary spot both for its regularly occurring species and for the rarities that have been seen over the years. Set along the looping course of the Rio Grande, Santa Ana at 2,088 acres is relatively small for a national wildlife refuge. Nonetheless, within its subtropical thorn forest, riparian woodland, and wetlands birders have found almost 400 species — including nearly all the south Texas specialties. These days Santa Ana has more competition for visiting birders’ attention than it once did, which is of course a good thing: the result of more parks and preserves being established and opened to the public in the Valley. Still, it remains one of the most rewarding natural areas in the United States, not just for birders but for all outdoor enthusiasts.
Exploring the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Exploring the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail

by Mel White (Falcon Guides)

Santa Ana has long been one of the most famous birding destinations in the United States, a legendary spot both for its regularly occurring species and for the rarities that have been seen over the years. Set along the looping course of the Rio Grande, Santa Ana at 2,088 acres is relatively small for a national wildlife refuge. Nonetheless, within its subtropical thorn forest, riparian woodland, and wetlands birders have found almost 400 species — including nearly all the south Texas specialties.

These days Santa Ana has more competition for visiting birders’ attention than it once did, which is of course a good thing: the result of more parks and preserves being established and opened to the public in the Valley. Still, it remains one of the most rewarding natural areas in the United States, not just for birders but for all outdoor enthusiasts.

©  Mel White/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Donna
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Year-round; best in spring, winter also good
Driving Directions: Directions to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

Recent Trail Reviews

5/18/2006
0

Santa Ana is a haven for birdwatchers, butterfly enthusiasts, nature photographers, students, and families. Twelve miles of trails are available for hiking. The Visitor Center provides educational displays and videos, along with a nature bookstore/giftshop. Tram tours are available from mid-December through mid-April. Naturalists explain the natural and cultural history of the refuge on the 75-minute guided tour. Travel through some of the most pristine subtropical riparian habitat and drier upland habitat in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas. Operated jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Valley Nature Center, tours depart from the Visitor Center three times daily, except Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Easter. Guided canoe tours of the Rio Grande along the banks of the refuge are available from the Friends of Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge between November and March. View the Rio Grande Valley from a completely new perspective. Free guided nature walks and birding tours are also available during the winter months.



Trail Photos

Activity Feed

May 2018