Birds of the Bayou

Report from Buffalo Bayou beat correspondent Janice Van Dyke Walden

Nov. 11, 2018

I had the great pleasure this weekend to take wildlife photographer Greg Lavaty canoeing down Buffalo Bayou to photograph birds. In the three hours of an overcast morning in the section of Memorial Park/River Oaks, Greg heard or spotted 33 bird species (full list below, along with some of his photos). Many thanks to Gary Studwell who helped crew so Greg could have a stable experience in fast water. It is truly wonderful that we have this wild corridor in the middle of our nation’s fourth largest city. Let’s keep it wild.

  • Eastern Phoebe. Photo copyright Greg Lavaty
  • Great egret. Photo copyright Greg Lavaty
  • Red-shouldered hawk. Photo copyright Greg Lavaty
  • Red-shouldered hawk. Photo copyright Greg Lavaty
  • Northern flicker. Photo copyright Greg Lavaty
  • Juvenile cattle egret. Photo copyright Greg Lavaty
  • Great blue heron. Photo copyright Greg Lavaty
  • Great egret. Photo copyright Greg Lavaty
  • American kestrel. Photo copyright by Greg Lavaty



List of birds heard or seen on this bayou trip:

Muscovy (domestic)
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Eurasian Collared-Dove
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove
Rock Pigeon
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
White-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle

6 thoughts on “Birds of the Bayou”

  1. Janice Van Dyke Walden says:

    Thank you, Susan! More trips in the works to document birds on the bayou at different seasons. Taking to a canoe is really the way to spot them as they all love to hang around the water.

    1. Thank you, Janice.

      More photos coming up!

  2. JM Paris says:

    Greg is an awesome bird guide! Thanks for sharing the many species of birds that could be heard and/or seen.

    1. Thanks to Greg and Janice Walden.

  3. S Woodhouse says:

    Good morning. Great article and beautiful pictures. Thank you. I went on a boat ride to see the bats on the Buffalo Bayou at Waugh bridge last night (8/6/22). I am new to Houston and birdwatching. Is it possible that I saw a Lesser Yellowleg near the shore in the water? Also, do you know what kind of hawks are in the trees and up by the buildings near Waugh Bridge waiting for the bats to come out? Thank you!

  4. Greg Lavaty says:

    Yes, Lesser Yellowlegs is possible that time of year.

    On the hawks, the species I’ve seen in the area are Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk. I have personally seen Red-tailed Hawks take bats before and imagine the other species could as well.

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