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Birding Around the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Birding Around Las Vegas, Urban Las Vegas Valley
Birding Around the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
New Access Road - follow that car!

Description

The Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve (HBVP) is one of the best places in southern Nevada to watch birds and dragonflies. Marsh and stream-side habitat in the nearby Las Vegas Wash, combined with open ponds and trees in the HBVP ponds, attracts birds of all kinds to water in this otherwise parched land. Desert species, waterbirds, wading birds, migrant songbirds, and shorebirds can be abundant here. Paved (fully accessible) and dirt (mostly accessible) walkways run on dikes that divide the area into nine brush-lined ponds and provide many vantage points. An elevated platform gives good views over much of the area. Access to the area is free, but it closes early, especially during summer.

Link to Area Map or Site Map.

Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
New Access Road - follow that car!

The HBVP began as part of the Henderson city sewage treatment system, but with changes in the treatment process, the HBVP now uses reclaimed water and the odor is gone. Even so, the staff still ask people to remain on the trails and stay out of the mud and water.

Check the ponds for waterbirds, check the shrubs (mostly saltbush) and cattails for passerines, watch the shrubs outside the fence for sparrows, quail, and thrashers, and keep an eye on the sky for falcons, hawks, swallows, and swifts. The honey mesquite thickets and river bottom beyond the northern fence are in the Clark County Wetlands Park Nature Preserve, another birding area.

Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Visitor Center

For birding, a good short walk is to go north between Pond 1 and Pond 2, then east to the blind on the south edge of Pond 9, make a loop around Pond 9, and head back to the visitor center. This short walk provides viewing opportunities over ponds (ducks) and cattail marshes (Marsh Wrens and Yellow-headed Blackbirds).

For this short walk, starting at the Visitor Center, walk out the paved trail staying to the left. Bend to the right at the first trail junction and walk along the dike between Ponds 1 and 2 to a bench looking north over Pond 2. The tree-covered island just offshore usually is loaded ducks floating among the low-hanging branches. Follow the trail to the right and walk east, past Pond 5, to the blind on Pond 9 (ducks, grebes, and other waterbirds). From there, loop around the east end of Pond 9 and back between Ponds 6 and 9 (good views in both directions).

Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Entrance. Be sure to sign in for access

For a good longer walk, hike the perimeter of the area, perhaps wandering through the middle of the Preserve on the way back. Starting from the Visitor Center, walk out the paved trail staying to the left. Strolling between the ponds and the perimeter fence provides opportunity to see desert species in the shrub thickets and flats outside the fence and waterbirds on the ponds. Pond 4, the pond in the northwest corner of the preserve, always seems to have lots of ducks. Coming around Pond 4, the boardwalk can be good for viewing shorebirds, but shoreline shrubs are choking out the shorebird habitat. Continuing the perimeter around to the east will eventually bring you to Pond 9, a shallow pond in the southeast corner of the Preserve with cattails and tree-covered islands.

Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Friends on a paved trail between Ponds 1 and 2

Be sure to chat with the Visitor Center staff to see where the action is and if any unusual species have been seen recently. Also be sure to pick up (or at least take a look at) the Preserve map. Out in the Preserve, strategically placed benches provide places to sit quietly and watch the ducks and grebes, and trash cans and outhouses around the Preserve provide for other needs. Remember, this was a sewage treatment facility, so stay out of the water.

All visitors must sign-in before entering the Preserve, so don't walk around the visitor center building into the preserve.

Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Bird blind on Pond 9

Location

The Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is located on the southeast edge of the Las Vegas Valley, about 15 minutes from downtown, in the town of Henderson.

Link to Area Map or Site Map. [google map]

From downtown, drive south on Highway 93 for 11.5 miles to Galleria Drive (Table 1, Site 1180). Exit the highway, turn left onto Galleria, and drive east for 1.8 miles (across Boulder Highway) to the HBVP Access Road (one block before Moser Drive) (Site 1177). Turn left and drive north 300 yards, then turn right and follow the pavement as it winds east and north into the HBVP parking area and the Visitor Center (Site 0450).
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Managers work to clear views into the reeds

Hours

The Preserve is open daily, but last entry is 30 minutes before closing time. Closed December 24, December 25, and January 1.

Season Months Hours
Winter December, January, February 7 am - 2 pm
Spring March, April, May 6 am - 2 pm
Summer June, July, August 6 am - 12 noon
Fall September, October, November 6 am - 2 pm
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Observation tower

Fees

Free admission, but all visitors must sign in at the Visitor Center, and first-time visitors must sign a liability waver. Don't worry, the area is safe for smart people.

Specialties

During winter, this is a good place to see waterfowl and other waterbirds (e.g., grebes, wading birds, shorebirds, and gulls). During spring and fall migrations, a great variety of species may be found here, and the site is good for flycatchers (e.g., Western Kingbird, Cassin's Kingbird, Black Phoebe, and Say's Phoebe), swallows, swifts, and sparrows. This site also attracts desert species such as Gambel's Quail, Sage Sparrow, Crissal Thrasher, Verdin, Abert's Towhee, Black-chinned Hummingbird, and Costa's Hummingbirds.

Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Information signs and benches on Pond 3

Summer is the quiet time of year, but there always are interesting birds around (e.g., Greater Roadrunner and Abert's Towhee don't leave when it gets hot), and Least Bittern breed here.

For More Information

For more information, call the Preserve (702-267-4180) or visit the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve website (note: if this link doesn't work, google "Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve").

Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve Be sure to watch for other wildlife, such as this beautiful gopher snake that was on the trail! Also look for western whiptail lizards, zebra-tailed lizards, coyotes, black-tailed jackrabbits, desert cottontail rabbits, pond turtles, lots of dragonflies and damselflies, and others.
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Entrance to parking lot (view E)
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Entrance to parking lot (view E)
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Watch for Greater Roadrunners on the roads!
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Wading birds in shallow water
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Lots of duck species
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Ducks and grebes
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Wading birds flying in
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Great Egrets in roost trees
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Variegated Meadowhawk dragonflies in a mating circle
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Swallows on telephone wires
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Birders using a small blind
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
White-faced Ibis in flight
bird blind
Observation blind
bird blind
Observation blind
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Amphitheater near Visitor Center with a view
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Birdwatching from atop the observation tower
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Historic photo: Mixed ducks on Pond 9
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Historic photo: Mixed ducks on Pond 9
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Historic photo: Double-crested cormorants resting on Pond 9
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Historic photo: Loafing islands in Pond 9
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Historic photo: Boardwalk in Pond 4
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Historic photo: mud spit at end of boardwalk in Pond 4
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Historic photo: Boardwalk before Pond 4 grew over
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Historic photo: Managers work to clear views into the reeds

Table 1. GPS Coordinates for Highway Locations (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site # Location Latitude (°N) Longitude (°W) UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (feet) Verified
0450 Henderson BVP Visitor Center 36.07513 115.00147 679967 3993930 1,621 Yes
1177 Galleria Dr at BVP Access Rd 36.07110 115.00400 679748 3993478 1,612 GPS
1180 Hwy 93/95 at Galleria Dr 36.07157 115.03573 676890 3993471 1,709 Map

Typical lists produced by HBVP personnel throughout the year:

Winter Spring Summer Fall
56 species, January 89 species, April 55 species, June 80 species, October 2011
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
American White Pelican
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
White-faced Ibis
Snow Goose
Wood Duck
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Canvasback
Redhead
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Ruddy Duck
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Gambel's Quail
Sora
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Greater Yellowlegs
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Long-billed Dowitcher
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Morning Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Belted Kingfisher
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Common Raven
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Verdin
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
Crissal Thrasher
American Pipit
Orange-crowned Warbler
Audubon Warbler
Abert's Towhee
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
House Finch
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
White-faced Ibis
Turkey Vulture
Canada Geese
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard (nesting)
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Redhead
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Osprey
Cooper's Hawk
Peregrine Falcon
Gambel's Quail
Sora
Common Moorhen (nesting)
American Coot (nesting)
Semipalmated Plover
Killdeer (nesting)
Black-necked Stilt (nesting)
American Avocet (nesting)
Greater Yellowlegs
Spotted Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Western Wood Pewee
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Cassin's Kingbird
Gray Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
No. Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Verdin (nesting)
Marsh Wren (nesting)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
European Starling
American Pipit
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Myrtle's Warbler
Audubon's Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Townsend Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
Western Tanager
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Black-heard Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Bullock's Oriole
Hooded Oriole
House Sparrow (nesting)
Pied-billed Grebe (nesting)
Eared Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
White-faced Ibis
Turkey Vulture
Gadwall
Mallard (nesting)
Cinnamon Teal (nesting)
Northern Shoveler
Redhead (nesting)
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Ruddy Duck (nesting)
Osprey
American Kestrel
Gambel's Quail (nesting)
Virginia Rail
Sora (nesting)
Common Moorhen (nesting)
American Coot (nesting)
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt (nesting)
American Avocet (nesting)
Spotted Sandpiper
Forster's Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Western Kingbird
No. Rough-winged Swallow
Verdin
Marsh Wren
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
Northern Mockingbird
Crissal Thrasher
Orange-crowned Warbler
Lucy's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Abert's Towhee (nesting)
Black-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Bullock's Oriole
House Finch
House Sparrow
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Gadwall American
Wigeon Mallard
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Canvasback Redhead
Ring-necked Duck
Great Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Bufflehead
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Gambel's Quail
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-heron
Osprey
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Peregrine Falcon
Sora Common
Gallinule American
Coot Killdeer
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Long-billed Dowitcher
Bonaparte's Gull
California Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Barn Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Costa's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-shafted Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Cassin's Kingbird
Common Raven
Barn Swallow
Verdin
Marsh Wren
Bewick's Wren
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
American Robin
Crissal Thrasher
American Pipit
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Abert's Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
House Finch

Happy birding! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 140422

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