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Maryland Birding and All You Need to See

Maryland Birding offers a compendium of some of the best habitats and sanctuaries in the country. The state features barrier islands, scenic cypress swamps and Eastern Shore bays–and the wide variety of birds that those habitats attract. Plus birds pass through during their annual migrations, including the incredible Bachman’s Sparrow, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and Roseate Tern.

Here’s a great list of the best places for Maryland birding…

Adkins Arboretum

This is a birdwatcher’s paradise tucked away near the small town of Ridgely. Birders will revel in its 400 acres and five miles of woodland and meadow paths off of Tuckahoe Creek to see the towhee, along with the Baltimore Oriole, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Indigo Bunting, and the Northern Bobtail Quail.

Maryland birding

Maryland birding at Antietam National Battlefield

Antietam National Battlefield

This historic battlefield has an ongoing importance as a breeding ground for migrating birds. Springtime surveys have recorded sightings of 77 bird species.

Audrey Carroll Audubon Sanctuary

More than 170 species of birds and as many as 1,000 butterflies summer at this 129-acre sanctuary west of Mount Airy, including 38 unique species.

Bumpy Oak Swamp

This roadside swamp near La Plata is a prime location for sighting barred owls, as well as amphibians and reptiles.

Cranesville Swamp Preserve

The boardwalk tour for Maryland birding leads visitors across the 850-acre marshy swamp, adding the option to cut course onto six meandering nature trails in this pristine habitat.

Dan’s Rock at Dan’s Mountain State Park

When you come here, you’ve hit the jackpot on sighting the Common Black and White Warbler, and the Common Raven. Even more amazing are the overlook views of the Potomac River Valley.

Flag Pond Nature Center in Lusby

Flag Ponds’ 500-acres of primeval beauty is home to varied wildlife and migratory birds–and it’s a great place for fossil hunting.

Papermill Flats – Baltimore

For an unforgettable encounter with great flocks of Maryland shorebirds, this Baltimore County site cannot be missed. Begin your travels with a short walking trail, and end with a lookout bridge that offers panoramic views from sea to land.

Pemberton Historical Park

Large areas of open space make this site a fantastic spot for open-air Maryland birding. Walk along the trails of Pemberton Park and set up watch over the open fields, or head to Twilleys Bridge Road to visit with songbirds and migratory species best seen foraging along tree-line edges.

Pocomoke Sound Wildlife Area

Glossy ibis, herons, egrets and ospreys make this out-of-the-way area worth the effort. It’s accessible only by boat.

Point Lookout State Park

The tidal marshes and forests of St. Mary’s County are home to more than 120 species of birds, so get your binoculars ready. It’s particularly perfect for sighting migrating birds in the autumn.

Rock Creek Regional Park

Lake Frank provides great photo ops of the migratory birds, colorful wildflowers and butterflies. For a special encounter with dozens of birds of prey, the Raptor Aviary, which rehabilitates injured animals, is a must-see.

Scarlet Tanager at the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge

Established by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, the research refuge has grown from its original 2,670 acres to its present size of 12,841 acres, and continues to attract its rare and beautiful native birds like the special Scarlet Tanager.


We invite you to stay at the Wayside Inn on your next Maryland birding expedition. Our centrally located, historic Inn in Ellicott City provides the coziness and charm you’ll be glad to return to every evening. And don’t forget to download our free area vacation guide!