Most people go to the USVI and to lounge on beaches and have a few drinks. But did you know that it’s also a fantastic spot for bird watching? That’s right; the areas have some of the best locations around to see a wide array of different birds!
Have you been daydreaming about USVI bird watching and hitting some of the best bird watching trails? It might not be the first thing to come to mind for most people, but in the Virgin Islands National Park alone, there are approximately 144 different species you can spot. Let’s explore where the best birding opportunities can be found in the USVI!
10 of the best bird watching areas in the USVI
Grab your binoculars and a copy of Birds of the Virgin Islands, then check the following list to see what areas you should definitely check out. You’ll notice that many of the following trails are located in the Virgin Islands National Park, which offers some of the very best island bird watching.
As far as St. John bird watching goes, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more suitable location to check than Reef Bay Trail in the Virgin Islands National Park. What’s more, Reef Bay Trail is a 4.4-mile trek that usually takes about 2-1/2 hours to fully explore. This particular trail goes through a moist, tropical forest, which means that you’re highly likely to spot migratory warblers and Bridled Quail-Doves. This trail is rated moderate, so it’s in your best interests to have some trail walking experience before you go here.
Rated as easy, the Lind Point Trail to Honeymoon Beach provides a truly excellent spot to bird watch. Just like with Reef Bay Trail, this is part of the Virgin Islands National Park. This 2.3-mile hike usually takes around 1 hour, but with all the intriguing birds that make you stop and take a look, you should allow yourself at least 2 hours. Be sure to wear good shoes, not flip-flops, or you’ll most likely get a stubbed toe or two. Don’t forget to stop at the beach once you’re done!
If you want to combine birding with history, the Petroglyph Trail is a great area to do so! There are usually a lot of people who take this trail, especially fellow birders, so you’ll have a lot in common. It’s also pretty typical to see dogs on a leash, so be aware of that if you have any issues with dogs. If you want to see the entire trail, you’ll need to walk along a 3.3-mile loop along this moderately challenging walk in the Virgin Islands National Park.
Now, it’s time to check out some St. Thomas birding opportunities! The best spot to visit is the Santa Maria Beach Path. Not only is this a great place to see birds, but it also happens to be quite underused. In other words, you can probably spend as much time as you want here without seeing many—if any—other people. It also only takes a mile to see the entire thing, so you’ll be in and out of this moderate path before you know it.
Taking a walk on this 2.4-mile loop will allow you to see a surprising variety of different birds. Although it hasn’t been officially recognized by AllTrails as a birding spot, eBird users have found 87 unique species here. It turns out that Magen’s Bay Trail is the best hidden birding spot in all of St. Thomas. In August 2023 alone, there have been Zenaida doves, laughing gulls, royal terns, sandwich terns, brown pelicans, and gray kingbirds spotted here. Even better, there are still some times of the day when you can have solitude on Magen’s Bay Trail.
As part of the Mangrove Lagoon Marine Reserve, you can visit Compass Point Pond to find a birder’s paradise! That’s what this bird sanctuary was made for, after all, and it definitely doesn’t disappoint. With a tranquil setting and not a lot of other people around, you’ll have an ideal spot to birdwatch and take photographs. Birds you can expect to see include little blue herons, snowy egrets, white-cheeked pintails, and laughing gulls.
St. Croix bird watching has the highest concentration of different species on Buck Island. In fact, there are an astounding 210 known species that travel through Buck Island, and 60 of them are native species. This is one of the few places where terns and brown pelicans build their nest in the USVI. Other birds you may see include bananaquits, Bahama ducks, green-throated hummingbirds, gray kingbirds, frigate birds, kestrels, pearly-eyed thrashers, ospreys, and Zenaida doves.
Want to see some unique birds? Definitely include Great Pond on St. Croix as one of your destinations! There are 72 birds confirmed to have visited Great Pond, including the semipalmated sandpiper, stilt sandpiper, white-crowned pigeon, least sandpiper, barn swallow, least tern, and tons more. If you want to see them all, you’ll need to spend some time at the Great Pond. Be sure to explore it quietly so you can see the best of the best!
This 52-acre wetland is brought to you by the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Croix. Several of the birds that accumulate here are endangered too, so it’ll give you the opportunity to see them! The UVI Wetlands Reserve features all of the following, and each bird on this list is locally or federally endangered: White-tailed tropicbird, brown pelican, great egret, black-crowned night-heron, peregrine falcon, Caribbean coot, etc.
USVI activities may typically steer more toward beach hopping, but there is a surprisingly large bird population as well. Considering the fact that the USVI can be visited without a passport (as long as you’re from the U.S.), this just may become your favorite tropical place to spot new birds.
Before you plan your bird-watching excursions in the USVI, make sure to secure a place to stay! For a luxurious option, consider the USVI Condo and Villa Rentals at The Hills St. John. In the tropical Caribbean, The Hills offers a destination that calls you to an elevated vacation experience, appealing to the mind, body, and spirit.
With 22 villas, each crafted with sophisticated Caribbean charm, the discerning traveler will find every detail beautifully refreshed and enhanced. Not only will you enjoy luxurious comfort, but you may even spot some lovely, feathered friends right from your villa. Set your compass and head for The Hills to truly complete your bird-watching adventure.