Visit us this spring!

The air is buzzing in anticipation of spring migrants returning to the upper Texas coast, and we are excited to welcome you back to High Island for the 2021 migration season. There is much to see and do, some old and some new.

During your visit, we invite you to traverse the trails at Gast and Eubanks Woods, gaze through the treetops from the new canopy walk at Smith Oaks, capture the breathtaking, panoramic view overlooking the rookeries, and venture down the new boardwalks at Boy Scout Woods.

Whatever ends up on your High Island bucket list, Houston Audubon is delighted to have you. May your visit be full of sightings, chirps, and twitters.

- Helen E. Drummond, Executive Director


Purchase a patch for unlimited access to all High Island sanctuaries for the entire year! If you have a 2020 patch, it is valid through the end of 2021.
Patches are $30 and can be purchased in advance online or at the information booth on-site. Day passes are sold on-site for $8/person. Free admission for children, students, and High Island residents.  Purchase a patch » 

Visitor Information

Sanctuaries are open every day from dawn to dusk. 
Masks are required at kiosks and gathering areas, such as boardwalks, observation decks, and bleachers, and strongly encouraged throughout the sanctuaries. Social distancing is required. Please read and follow all signage regarding sanctuary rules and safety guidelines. 
We will be selling masks with commemorative 2021 patch artwork by Linda Feltner. Limited merchandise will be available this year to reduce contact, so we strongly encourage you to stop by our Raptor and Education Center in southeast Houston and visit the nature shop. More visitor information »

What's New at High Island

Major capital improvements were completed as part of the High Island Master Plan, which was created to enhance conservation of critical bird habitat and expand nature tourism and outdoor recreation opportunities for birders and non-birders alike. We're excited for you to experience the brand new Kathrine G. McGovern Canopy Walkway (click for a sneak preview), new restrooms (including a water bottle refill station), and the new Pumphouse Pavilion.

About the Sanctuaries

The 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. Over 300 bird species have been identified at Smith Oaks. 

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.  

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.

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.


While we will not be leading guided bird walks this year, 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 during the last three weekends in April. Here are some other resources that may be useful during your visit:

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