March 2, 2024

May is the Best Time of Year for Birds and Birders!

Audubon Offers Over 30 FREE Guided Bird Walks in May


May brings a variety of colorful songbirds called Neotropical migrants to our area. These beautiful birds include warblers, tanagers, vireos and others that visit Rhode Island in the summer and head back south for the winter. “It never fails to amaze me that these tiny, feathered jewels, like the Blackburnian Warbler and the Black-throated Green Warbler, make their way from the subtropics to New England and back again every year,” said Lauren Parmelee, Audubon senior director of education.

For many, the return of these colorful warblers in spring is the highlight of the birding year. Rhode Island is not only home to many warblers, but the Ocean State also serves as a stopover for several species that are making their way to northern forests. Each year approximately 25 species can be regularly spotted, but that number rises if you are lucky enough to observe uncommon or rare species. The greatest diversity of warblers usually peaks around mid-May.

Audubon encourages all Rhode Islanders to get out and discover the joy of birding by offering FREE birding walks throughout the month of May. “There is nothing like an early spring morning when you walk into the woods and hear the calls and songs of orioles, tanagers, warblers and vireos who have just arrived overnight,” said Parmelee. “The sounds, the colors, and the movement in the trees is overwhelming and thrilling at the same time.”

Most of the Audubon May Bird Walks are geared for ages teen to adult, but Saturday family programs are also offered. Audubon stresses that novice birders are welcome. Just grab your binoculars, join an Audubon expert and search for spring migrants on the trails! Programs are free, but advance registration is required.

Register early through the events calendar at

Caratunk Wildlife Refuge, 301 Brown Avenue, Seekonk, MA
May 7, 14, 21, 28, 2023; 7:30 – 9:30 am

Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge, 2082 Victory Highway, Coventry, RI
May 1, 15, 2023; 8:30 – 10:30 am

Parker Woodland Wildlife Refuge, Maple Valley Road, Coventry RI
May 8, 22, 2023; 8:30 – 10:30 am
Note that no walk will be held on Memorial Day, May 29.

Fort Nature Refuge, (Rt. 5), 1443 Providence Pike, North Smithfield, RI
May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 2023; 8:00-9:00 am

Locations determined weekly. Registered participants will be sent details.
May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 2023; 9:00-11:00 am

Marion Eppley Wildlife Refuge, Dugway Bridge Road, West Kingston, RI
May 4, 11, 18, 25, 2023; 8:00-11:00 am
Touisset March Wildlife Refuge, Touisset Road, Warren, RI
May 4, 18, 2023; 9:30 – 11:30 am
Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge, Seapowet Road, Tiverton, RI
May 11, 25, 2023; 9:30 – 11:30 am

Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge, 99 Pardon Joslin Road, Exeter, RI
May 5, 12, 19, 26, 2023; 8:30 – 10:30 am

Saturdays: These walks are perfect for beginners and families.
Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge, 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield, RI
May 6, 2023; 9:00 – 11:00 am (ages 12+)
Caratunk Wildlife Refuge, 301 Brown Ave., Seekonk, RI
May 13, 27, 2023; 9:00 – 11:00 am (ages 6+)
Powder Mill Ledges, 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield, RI
May 13, 2023; 10:00 am – 12:00 pm; (Ages 6+)
Fort Wildlife Refuge, 1443 Providence Pike, North Smithfield, RI
May 20, 2023; 9:00 – 11:00 am (ages 12+)


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