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Bird Walks with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center

  • A bird with a black head, white belly and red patch at its neck perched on a branch

Every fall, birds from across the hemisphere pass through Washington, D.C., on their route south. This provides an opportunity for people to get out and see species not usually seen in the area, and to observe the amazing phenomenon of bird migration.

Smithsonian Migratory Bird Club members are invited to get out and celebrate the season with a series of bird walks this fall. These trips are offered exclusively to Bird Club members. Not a member? Join today.

Each walk will be guided by Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center scientists, who will assist with bird identification and discuss bird migration and current research. These walks span a variety of habitats and coincide with the timing that many species pass through the D.C. area.

Bird walks are free for Bird Club members to attend, but please RSVP ahead of time using the links below.

Rock Creek Park | Sept. 16 at 8 a.m.

Rock Creek Park is a magnet for migrating songbirds passing through D.C. each fall. Migratory Bird Center scientists will lead participants on a guided walk to observe and discuss bird migration. Rock Creek Park is an important site for birds to refuel and rest, as well as a great place to observe birds not often seen in the area, including tanagers, grosbeaks, hummingbirds and a variety of warblers. The walk is about 1.25 miles long on easy but unpaved trails. The group will meet outside the Rock Creek Nature Center at 8 a.m.

RSVP for this trip

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens | Sept. 30 at 9:30 a.m.

Join SMBC scientists at one of the most productive birding spots in Washington, D.C. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens contains a series of ponds and wetlands along the Anacostia River. These lush gardens are a great attractor of birds of all kinds. During migration any number of warblers and other songbirds, as well as egrets, herons and ducks, are attracted to the aquatic habitats. This walk will be about 1.5 miles long on unpaved flat terrain. The group will meet in the Kenilworth Aquatic Garden parking lot at 9:30 am.

RSVP for this trip

Dyke Marsh Nature Preserve | Oct. 14 at 9 a.m.

Dyke Marsh Nature Preserve protects a large area of tidal marsh and swampy forest along the banks of the Potomac River. Join SMBC scientists for a walk through this valuable wetland habitat, where you can hope to see a variety of ducks and herons, as well as bald eagles. The surrounding forest is also used by a variety of songbirds and can provide views of any number of migrating species. The group will meet at 9 a.m. in front of the large parking lot north of the entrance road (not the Marina lot) in Belle Haven Park in Alexandria, Virginia. The group will then proceed to the Dyke Marsh Trail. The walk will be about 2 miles round trip on flat, unpaved trail.

RSVP for this trip

Huntley Meadows Park | Oct. 28 at 8 a.m.

Join SMBC scientists for a walk at Huntley Meadows in Alexandria, Virginia. In late October, there are still plenty of birds on the move. Some species that spend the winter in the D.C. area are just arriving from points farther north, while others are still en route to the tropics. Participants can hope to see late-season migrant songbirds, migrating hawks overhead and maybe a few rare rusty blackbirds. The group will meet in the Huntley Meadows Nature Center parking lot at 8 a.m.* The walk is 1.75 miles along flat, unpaved trails and boardwalks.

*Please Note: If using a GPS device, use the street address: 3701 Lockheed Blvd, Alexandria, VA 22306. The final destination should show the corner of Harrison Lane and Lockheed Blvd. If a GPS search is made for Huntley Meadows Park, by name, the GPS may send the driver into neighborhoods that dead-end at the edges of the park.

RSVP for this trip