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Birdwatching in Great Outdoors Month

To mark June as Great Outdoors Month, Lawn Love ranked 2023’s Best Cities for Birdwatching.

They compared the 200 biggest U.S. cities based on four categories, such as Access and Bird Variety. More specifically, we factored in bird species, checklists indicating birding popularity, and Audubon chapters, among 14 total metrics.

See the 10 best (and 10 worst) cities for birdwatching below, followed by key stats from our report.

Best Cities for Birdwatching

Rank City

1 New York, NY

2 San Diego, CA

3 Houston, TX

4 Seattle, WA

5 Los Angeles, CA

6 San Francisco, CA

7 Philadelphia, PA

8 Phoenix, AZ

9 Austin, TX

10 Chicago, IL

Worst Cities for Birdwatching

Rank City

1 Kansas City, KS

2 Montgomery, AL

3 Olathe, KS

4 (TIE) Overland Park, KS

4 (TIE) Mobile, AL

6 Des Moines, IA

7 Huntsville, AL

8 Murfreesboro, TN

9 Sioux Falls, SD

10 Henderson, NV

Key insights:

Bird empire: Soaring to the top overall and in Access and Conservation is New York. The Big Apple boasts the most Audubon centers and sanctuaries, birding organizations, and bird nests found so far this year. NYC also ties with San Diego (No. 2) and Denver (No. 16) for the most birdwatching groups.

California canopies: Get a peaceful view in California, which claims the most national and state parks, as well as the most bird species to spy. Nine California cities — such as Los Angeles (No. 5), Long Beach (No. 14), and Santa Clarita (No. 25) — tie for the second-highest number of birding checklists, behind Chicago (No. 10).

Distant flights: While it has the best urban access to wildlife refuges, Honolulu (No. 145) has fewer bird species due to extinction. However, the Aloha State still offers 44 endemic birds unique to the islands. Anchorage, Alaska (No. 55), boasts the highest share of land used for parks and recreation and is the largest North American city with nesting loons.

Feathered festivities: Nine major U.S. cities celebrate an annual bird festival. Plan a trip to Tucson, Arizona (No. 11), for the upcoming Southeast Arizona Birding Festival in August, or Houston (No. 3) for Bird Week in September. Look out for next February’s Bird Festival in San Diego (No. 2) or the annual Brew City Birding Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (No. 79), in May.

Plumage protections: A total of 24 cities in our ranking — Philadelphia (No. 7), Phoenix (No. 8), and Baltimore (No. 26) among them — participate in an Urban Bird Treaty Program. These local initiatives help bolster bird conservation efforts by reducing urban light pollution, preventing birds from striking windows, and implementing safer nesting areas.

Want to wake up to the sounds of birds chirping by your window? Hire a local Lawn Love pro to implement a bird-friendly landscape in your backyard.


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