2022 Kiosk Dates:

Smith Oaks Bird Sanctuary: March 12 - May 22
Boy Scout Woods Sanctuary: March 26 - May 8

Visit us this spring!

As spring draws near and eyes sparkle with anticipation,  Houston Audubon delights in another opportunity to welcome you to High Island and Bolivar Peninsula for the unrivaled spectacle of migration on the Upper Texas Coast.  

Gathering during this season is always a treat and last year was even more special with many visitors enjoying improvements made to enhance the nature-immersive experience for the first time.  We invite you to join us again in 2022. Whether observing incoming migrants from the ground or in the treetops on the Kathrine G. McGovern Walkway in Smith Oaks, every sanctuary offers a unique experience. From the grandstands overlooking Purkey's Pond at Boy Scout Woods to exploring the smaller Gast and Eubanks Woods sanctuaries, there's something for every nature lover, birder or not.  So bring your family or friends and immerse yourselves in the beauty of the Upper Texas Coast. Magical moments of joy and wonder await. 

- Helen E. Drummond, Executive Director
Photo courtesy of Jonnu Singleton/SWA

Hours & Admission

High Island sanctuaries are open every day from dawn to dusk. Purchasing a patch gives you unlimited access to all High Island sanctuaries for the entire year! 
Patches are $30 and can be purchased in advance online or at the information booth on-site.
Day passes are sold on-site for $10/person. Free admission for children, students, and High Island residents.  
Photo courtesy of Jonnu Singleton/SWA

What's New at High Island

Volunteers and staff have worked tirelessly restoring habitat in Smith Oaks. The Grackle Pond loop, which was a favorite spot for many last year, is now in even better condition. Migrants will soon flock to the area, which offers visitors abundant habitat from which to forage. The newer Cattail Island in Smith Pond was created four years ago as part of a nesting expansion project and was finally put to use last spring by five bird species. The McGovern Canopy Walkway continues to be a showstopper, providing new vantages and a stunning view of the Rookery. Already in early March, the Rookery was teeming with Great Egrets, Neotropic Cormorants, and Roseate Spoonbills. 
Photo courtesy of Jonnu Singleton/SWA

Volunteer with us!

Spring migration volunteers are critical to a wonderful visitor experience at High Island! Volunteer opportunities consist of:
Smith Oaks Spring Birding Volunteers will be stationed along the canopy walkway and the levy trail to answer visitor questions and help visitors get a good look at nesting birds. Sign up »

Visitor Kiosk Volunteers assist with admission and merchandise sales, maintain daily sighting lists, and provide sanctuary information and bird sighting locations to visitors. Sign up to volunteer for:

     Smith Oaks Admissions »
     Boy Scout Woods Admissions »
     Boy Scout Woods Merchandise Sales »

RV Volunteer Caretakers camp out at High Island in exchange for 24 hours of service per week. Volunteers conduct a wide range of tasks at our bird sanctuaries while based at our Coastal Operations Center. Learn more »

Photo courtesy of Jonnu Singleton/SWA

About the Sanctuaries

Houston Audubon's four sanctuaries at High Island - Boy Scout Woods, Smith Oaks, Eubanks Woods, and Gast Red Bay - are open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk. 

Smith Oaks Bird Sanctuary

is 177 acres of oak mottes, ponds, wetlands, and coastal prairie, and a rookery in the middle of Clay Bottom Pond that provides roosting and nesting for thousands of waterbirds. In total, over 300 bird species have been identified at Smith Oaks. Learn more »

Boy Scout Woods Bird Sanctuary

is 60 acres of hackberry/oak motte, coastal prairie, and wetlands. The property is known as Boy Scout Woods because of the scout camp that existed on the property before Houston Audubon purchased it. Learn more »

Eubanks Woods Bird Sanctuary

is 9.5 acres of woods and wetlands. The sanctuary is named in honor of Ted Eubanks, a past president of Houston Audubon who was instrumental in starting Houston Audubon's High Island sanctuary system. Over 200 species of bird have been observed at Eubanks Woods. Learn more »

S.E. Gast Red Bay Sanctuary

is 8.8 acres of woods and former pasture being turned into woods. The property is named in honor of Steve Gast, who led the High Island initiative that resulted in Amoco's donation of this property to Houston Audubon. Learn more »
And if you're visiting High Island, don't forget to check out Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary just 25 miles south!

Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary

is a Globally Important Bird Area, the highest designation, and an International site in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. It is an exceptionally productive complex of mudflats, salt marsh, uplands and beach. This ideal combination of habitats provides resting, feeding and/or breeding sites for hundreds of thousands of birds each year.

Houston Audubon Sanctuaries in High Island, Texas


There will be volunteers throughout the sanctuaries that can assist with bird identification. Land Sea and Sky will be selling binoculars and birding gear at High Island on the weekends of April 8, 15, and 22.
Here are some other resources that may be helpful during your visit:

We look forward to seeing you in High Island this spring!
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