City Cast

It's Fall, Which Means it's Migration and Birdwatching Season

Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Posted on September 29, 2022   |   Updated on June 18
Male Downy Woodpecker in Rock Creek Park. (Emre Yildirim/500px/Getty Image)

Male Downy Woodpecker in Rock Creek Park. (Emre Yildirim/500px/Getty Image)

D.C. is situated on the East Atlantic flyway, and more than 300 bird species have been reported here. Fall is a great time to catch the southern migration while enjoying perfect sweater weather temps.

Rock Creek Park, the National Arboretum, and Glover-Archbold Park are all accessible birding viewpoints in the city. You can use this map to find the exact spots to go. If you’re willing to drive, Huntley Meadows Boardwalk and Kingman and Heritage Islands have frequent Bald Eagle and Osprey sightings. 

Birds are most active between dawn and 11 a.m., and then again during golden hour. 

Bring the birding essentials: Binoculars, a Birding app on your phone (eBird and Merlin are excellent), a camera and tripod for taking stills, water, and a snack.

Warblers are most common this time of year. By October, raptor migration is at its height, and Snow Geese and late-migrating sparrows will be arriving. Then, in November, waterfowl start arriving along the coast. Other common birds to look out for include the Red-tailed Hawk, the Blue Jay, and the Downy Woodpecker. 

Just for kicks! 

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