The state of Arkansas is home to a diverse range of bird species. This list of birds are commonly sighted birds likely to be encountered along the trail:
- Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) - The state bird of Arkansas, known for its striking red plumage and distinctive crest. Listen to the call of the Northern cardinal. See more images and ID the Northern cardinal.
- Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) - Recognizable by its bright blue coloration and often seen in open fields and woodlands. Listen to the Eastern bluebird. See more images and ID the Eastern bluebird.
- American Robin (Turdus migratorius) - Known for its red breast and a familiar sight in many backyards. Listen to the call of the American robin. See more photos and ID the American robin.
- Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) - Recognizable by its striking yellow plumage and melodious song. Populations of this bird are in steep decline due to habitat loss. Listen to the call of the Eastern Meadowlark. See more photos and ID the Eastern meadowlark.
- Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) - A large raptor with a distinctive red tail. This is one of the largest birds you will see in North America and is a common sight in Northwest Arkansas. On electric lines or fence posts bordering meadows and along the river. Hear the call of the Red-tailed hawk. See more photos and ID the Red-tailed hawk.
- Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) - A nocturnal owl with tufted "horns" on its head, known for its hooting calls. They are fierce predators that can ear quite large prey including other owls and raptors. Hear the call of the Great horned owl. See more photos and ID the Great horned owl.
- Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) - Renowned for its ability to mimic the songs of other birds and its white wing patches. They sing throughout the day and night. and may learn as many as 200 songs in its lifetime. Hear the call of the mockingbird. See more photos and ID the Northern mockingbird.
- Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) - A small but vocal bird known for its loud and cheerful song. Wrens will form a bond and stay together for life, foraging and moving around together. Listen to the call of the Carolina wren. See more photos and ID the Carolina wren.
- Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) - Males have striking red and yellow shoulder patches and are often seen around wetlands. Red-winged blackbirds are polygynous and have up to 15 mates. Hear the call of the red-winged blackbird. See more photos and ID the red-winged blackbird.
- Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) - A large, soaring bird often seen gliding in the sky, recognizable by its bald red head. Turkey vultures have an amazing sense of smell and eat carrion. Interestingly, it's scientific name means "purifying breeze" referring to the essential service it provides to the ecosystem. It is a mysterious bird with a stomach so acidic, it can digest just about anything. Hear the call of the turkey vulture. See more photos and ID the turkey vulture.
- Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) - Intelligent and curious, the chickadee follows a strict hierarchy within flocks. Listen to the call of the Carolina chickadee. See more photos and ID the Carolina chickadee.
Arkansas' diverse habitats support a wide variety of avian life. Birdwatching in Arkansas can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby due to the rich birdlife in the region. The Arkansas Audubon Society is a great resource for bird enthusiasts. For identification on the go, try the Merlin Bird ID app from Cornell Lab. Here you can view photos, hear bird calls, and see maps of bird sightings. It is easy to use if you know the approximate size, main color, and rough location of the bird you want to identify. Sound ID will listen and show suggestions for who is singing. You can also identify birds by uploading a photo!
Want to start building a list of birds you encounter? You can save your birds in your life list with the app. If you prefer an analog list, you can download bird lists from the Arkansas Audubon.
Available in the Hike House, colorfully embroidered iron-on bird patches are a great way to display your appreciation of birds. It is also a great reminder that we need to all work together to protect bird habitats. Proceeds from the sale of bird patches by the Bird Collective and Hike House support bird conservation groups across the U.S.