May is that month where winter is definitely gone for good and summer is right around the corner. In Texas, it already feels like summer except it’s not nearly as hot as in July and August. It’s also the month when the biggest week in birding takes place in Ohio because huge numbers of spring migrants move through that state and other parts of the northeast and central United States.
In south Texas, many of those same birds came through in large numbers during April. Nevertheless, stragglers keep moving through birding hotspots such s South Padre Island well on into May. Come to Texas at this time of the year and you can still see several migrant warblers, flycatchers, cuckoos, and others along with all of those beautiful resident species.
Black and White Warbler is one of the more common species of wood-warblers in the country. This interesting, unmistakable species migrates through south Texas from early April on through May.
The beautiful Prothonotary Warbler also starts to migrate through south Texas in early April or even March but is much less common in May. Seeing this species in late May is a pleasant surprise.
One warbler that is expected in May in south Texas is the Mourning Warbler. This beautiful bird is one of the later spring migrants. It resides in thickets in the mixed hardwood forests of the north and Appalachians. Its penchant for staying in low vegetation makes it a tough bird to photograph.
Indigo Buntings might not breed in southern Texas but a lot of them migrate through the area. Happily, this gorgeous little bird is one of our more common migrants so we still get some coming through the area in the second and third weeks of May.
Painted Buntings are both migrants and residents. It’s hard not to take pictures of this stunning little bird, even when it’s a female splashing in the water.
The Western Tanager is sometimes seen in May too. This pretty bird is a common resident in the pine forests of the Rocky Mountains and western states.
Some of our resident species have to deal with the Bronzed Cowbird.
This blackbird species lays its eggs in the nests of other species and may be partly responsible for the decline of Altamira and Audubons Orioles in southern Texas.
The White-winged Dove is a common dove species in southern Texas. Its prominent white wing patches make it easy to separate from the longer-tailed Mourning Dove.
Although those pretty migrants will be gone soon, the birding is good in southern Texas no matter what time of year you visit!