One of the most popular ecotourism destinations in the country is emerging in South Texas, particularly the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The Valley’s immense biodiversity and ecological complexity make it a natural crossing point for migratory birds, which traverse the region each fall and spring en route to and from their winter homes in the tropics.
Much like the birds that arrive in the Valley from the East Coast and Midwest, the birders who track and document their feathered friends flock from across the country in search of their favorite and rare species. The McAllen area is home to several acclaimed birding sites catering to the thousands of ecotourists who arrive annually, including the World Birding Center’s Quinta Mazatlan, the highly regarded Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, and the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. These parks retain the region’s natural state by maintaining the distinctive woodlands, which draw species popular with the birding crowd such as the chacalacas, green jays, and broad-winged hawks.