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Time it right and you can see a lifetime’s worth of birds this month. Most will begin their southward migrations (if they haven’t already), meaning you can find them congregating en masse throughout the country. Here are a few places where you’re guaranteed a sighting—no binocs needed.
Tundra Swans & Snow Geese
Duck Pen Trail (1 mile), Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, NC
More than 26,000 tundra swans and some 80,000 snow geese make this refuge their winter home from October through March. Head to Pungo Lake, where the flocks of white birds are so dense they can look like snowfields.
Bajada Loop (6 miles), Saguaro National Park, AZ
Arizona’s typical late-summer rains mean tons of flora—good for shutter bugs and hummingbirds alike. More than a dozen species of hummingbirds pit-stop here to feast on wildflower nectar before heading to Mexico.
Boardwalk Trail (2.3 miles), Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, FL
Tens of millions of songbirds—highlights include yellow Philadelphia vireos and black-throated green warblers—pass through the Florida peninsula September through November.