Orleans Loop – Audubon Louisiana Nature Center & Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge
Orleans Loop is located near New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite its proximity to the city, the Orleans Loop has plenty of wildlife, and many of the sites here are perfect for birdwatching. Not only do we have wonderful sites like the Bonnet Carre Spillway, National Wildbird Refuge, and New Orleans Lakefront at Seabrook, but you can also find a plethora of birds at the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center and Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge.
Audubon Louisiana Nature Center
The Audubon Louisiana Nature Center lies in an 86-acre bottomland hardwood forest on the eastern edge of New Orleans. The center features oaks, swamp red maple, deciduous holly, honey locust, red mulberry, hackberry, and American elm – all in which the woodland birds love to visit or nest.
The center was opened in 1980 and is recognized as one of the top five urban nature centers in the United States. Audubon Louisiana Nature Center has three nature trails, a picnic area, a planetarium, a natural science museum, and a gift shop. Each year the nature center is visited by over 70,000 school children who explore the wildflower gardens for hummingbirds and butterflies.
During the spring and summer months, travel along the wetland trail to look for herons, egrets, and Common Yellowthroats. Should you choose to travel along the woodland trail, you may come across Mississippi Kites, Red-eyed Vireos, Indigo Buntings, Northern Cardinals, and many others.
Some birds you can see here during the winter include Eastern Phoebes, Hermit Thrushes, White-throated sparrows, House Wrens, Cedar Waxwings, and much more.
Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge
Bayou Sauvage NWR is a 23,000-acre wildlife refuge that was established in 1990. It is the largest urban wildlife refuge in the United States. The NWR contains both brackish and freshwater marshes, canals, lagoons, hardwood forests, natural bayous, and borrow pits.
This site can be accessed by foot, boat, vehicle, or bike. The Ridge Trail parking area is one of the best places to begin, as it is the beginning of a 0.66-mile boardwalk trail into the swamp and bottomland hardwood forest. You also have access to the Maxent Levee Trail from this location, which is excellent for birding. If you’re interested in exploring the refuge by canoe, you’re likely to find River Otters and American Alligators along with the usual birds.
Bayou Sauvage NWR is one of the best places in southern Louisiana to view Mottled Ducks. Many pairs of Mottled Ducks breed in the marshes during the summer months and are also common in the forested areas as well. During the winter, keep your eyes peeled for American Wigeons, Ruddy Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Northern Shovelers, Hooded Mergansers, and many more.
You may also catch sight of woodpeckers, grosbeaks, sparrows, orioles, finches, flycatchers, and blackbirds here during various seasons throughout the year.
Getting out into nature can be a fun and relaxing way to spend the day. Once you’re done birding, why not come fishing? Whiskey Bayou Charters is a fishing charter service located in Delacroix, Louisiana, and nothing would make me happier than to see you having fun and catching fish with my help!