Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney is a 289-acre nature preserve located in the Blackland Prairie Ecological Region. Once known for its expanses of grasses and forbs, this region is part of what is now considered the most endangered large ecosystem in North America. Though it once extended from the Red River to San Antonio, less than 1% of the Blackland Prairie is estimated to remain.
The diversity and health of the habitats at the Heard provide an increasingly rare opportunity to view a high number of bird species, both resident and migrant, in one location. These habitats offer resources that they require to survive, which are becoming more scarce elsewhere as development continues to spread throughout the region.
As a result, over 220 bird species have been observed at the Heard. Moreover, over 60 species have been documented nesting at the Heard. Visitors to the Heard in the late summer may have a chance to view several of these species. Some species with the most visually striking feather coloration (perhaps making them easier to identify for beginners) include Prothonotary warblers, Painted buntings, Indigo buntings, Northern cardinals, and Eastern bluebirds. The Heard wetlands, which offer the swampy forest settings Prothonotary warblers need for nesting, are a great place to look for this species. Many other exciting species may be spotted there, including the Great blue heron. This species also nests in rookeries in the wetlands alongside several other heron and egret species.
To see a complete list of bird species previously spotted at the Heard and more information about them, visit our birding information page.