Birding in San Marcos, Texas

The ponds at Southwest Texas State University, and the headwaters of the San Marcos river at Aquarena Springs


Area description

The Great Blue Heron

The Black-crowned night heron and the Belted Kingfisher

Directions Click on corridor map below for reference

San Marcos is located between Austin (25 miles) and San Antonio (45 miles) along the IH 35 Corridor. The community was named because of its discovery on St. Mark's day when Spanish explorers arrived at the springs and river. This area had been occupied for centuries by Indians and there is an archeological dig under the dammed river in that portion called Spring Lake.

Most visitors to this area are on a beeline for the huge factory outlets just south of San Marcos proper, but this small town has one of those Texas treasures: a square with an historical county courthouse surrounded by good home-cooking restaurants and intimate, friendly, fascinating gift shops.

From San Antonio exit Wonderworld Drive, turn left under the interstate to Hunter Rd and turn right (north). If you are a browser/shopper/historian, the courthouse square is worth a stop. Hunter Rd. becomes Hopkins Street and intersects with CM Allen, the Chamber is a left turn. The Children's playscape is a right turn.

From Austin exit the highway on Aquarena Springs Drive. Aquarena becomes University Drive and if you stay to the left, the street becomes CM Allen and the Chamber is on the left.

They refer to San Marcos as the gateway to the hill country. West of us are some fascinating small towns: Wimberley, Luckenback, Boerne, Bandera and Kerrville.


When to go

Map of San Marcos Birding Sites

Black and White map of birding sites

Map of the IH 35 Corridor locating San Marcos

Other birds of Central Texas

Special Notes

The Inca and the White Wing Doves

People from other states may be interested to know there are four species of doves to be found in San Marcos: Mourning Doves, Inca Doves, and recently, quite a few White-winged Doves. Ground Doves are relatively rare, but possible.

Hummingbird aficionados should know that the major breeding species in San Marcos is the Black-chinned, lesser numbers of Ruby-throated.

At feeders in winter, there are many unusual visitors. Most are Rufous in various stages of maturity, some Anna's and Broad-tailed. In the summer of 1995, a Green Violet-ear stayed for over a month. This season brought reports of Buff-bellied and Calliope hummers.

Three kinds of kingfishers have been sighted along the San Marcos River, the Belted, Green, and even an occasional Ringed.

To get the monthly reports on birds in the area call 512-396-BIRD (2473). The bird alert for this part of Central Texas is 512-926-8751--the Travis County Bird Hotline.

For Bird Rescue in San Marcos call 396-6180.

Birding Guides available

Contributor:San Marcos River Foundation
Last Updated: 5 July 1996

Acknowledgements: Photographs from the Southwest Texas State University archive by Media Photographer Don Anders and the slides of local birder Dick Henderson. Bird graphics by San Marcos artist Jo Ellen Korthals, San Marcos map by Smartworks, Inc. and colored by SWT student J.J. Wampler. Web page design: Cathy Supple. Text provided by Dick Henderson, edited by Diane Wassenich, Florence Dodington and Cathy Supple. Thanks to Southwest Texas Student Media: Jeff Henderson, director and Pat Ramsey editor, University Star.

Cathy Supple,