The golden-cheeked warbler only nests in the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in Burnet County. It migrates to Mexico in the winter and returns to the refuge in the spring. Photo by Roger Gray/Adobe Stock

Highland Lakes of Burnet County is birder country

The Highland Lakes of Burnet County, with its gentle hills, shimmering waters, multihued wildflowers, and mild climate, attracts a large variety of birds and the people who observe them year-round. 

Whether you’re a newbie or veteran birdwatcher, the area offers plenty of places to perch and spot the winged wonders, including some of the rarest and most beautiful creatures in North America. 

For the novice, birdwatching takes little more than a good pair of binoculars and a field guide. You can find several guides in your smartphone’s app store. Apps usually provide location information and migratory patterns. Some even play back bird calls. 

Before venturing out, begin in your own backyard. Install a feeder and a birdbath, and you’ll soon be birdwatching from home.

According to ebird.org, 256 different species of birds were spotted in Burnet County in 2022. Among those were the endangered black-capped vireo and the golden-cheeked warbler, both of which only nest in the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge near Marble Falls. See our guide below for other popular birding sites in Burnet County.


345 Clay Young Road in Burnet

7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. daily; closed on federal holidays

In winter, look for ducks, a variety of sparrows, and an occasional bald eagle. Spot several types of sandpipers and other shorebirds in the spring. The facility has a bird blind, hiking trails, and picnic tables. Entrance is free.


3630 Park Road 4 West in Burnet

8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

A lakefront setting with over 9 miles of hiking trails, 3 miles of shoreline, and a bird blind make this popular park a good place for bird-spotting. Year-round residents include the belted kingfisher and eastern bluebird. In the winter, look for wood ducks and American white pelicans. Painted buntings and orchard orioles appear in the spring and fall. Entrance fee is $6.


24518 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls

Dawn to dusk daily

The refuge’s hiking trails and scenic vistas are great for observing wildlife, including the black-capped vireo and golden-cheeked warbler, which call the refuge home during nesting season. Year-round, look for golden-fronted woodpeckers or Woodhouse’s scrub jays. When visiting, be sure to bring your own water as none is provided. For the best chance to spot birds, plan to arrive in the early morning. Entrance is free.


2221 Phillips Ranch Road in Granite Shoals

Dawn to dusk daily

This enclosed bird blind is set up next to a pond and bird feeders, making it a draw for birds, birders, and photographers. Admission is free.

For more information on attractions and activities, visit The Highland Lakes of Burnet County website.

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