Whether you are a veteran birder, a novice just getting into the hobby, or just someone who enjoys seeing a variety of birds, you’ll want to take a day off and go to the Crosby Arboretum. Yes, I know. An arboretum is a botanical garden devoted mainly to trees. But where there are trees, plants, water, and serenity, there will also be birds. So this makes the Crosby Arboretum an ideal place to go bird-watching. This lovely spot covers more than 100 acres and is maintained by the Mississippi State University. It was named for L.O. Crosby Jr., a man with a dream to preserve the natural environment of Mississippi. The trail system is dotted with interpretive markers that enhance your self-guided walking tour.
Special Interest Areas
Areas of special interest to birders are the pine flat woods and the wet pine savannahs. These two areas are maintained through controlled burns that imitate natural wildfires. Because of careful stewardship, this amazing ecosystem is home to the Henslow’s Sparrow, a bird that many birders seek. It’s best spotted between December and March. This sparrow likes to live in pine savannah that has recently burned but is starting to regrow. Because the Arboretum practices regular controlled burns, this sparrow’s choice habitat is usually available each winter.
Birds You Will Love
The Sedge Wren is another bird that birders go after during the winter months of November through March. You can find it in the boggy meadows of Crosby Arboretum. The pine groves are home year-round to the Brown-headed Nuthatch. Other birds that you can see at the Arboretum are the Chuck-will’s-widow and the Le Conte’s Sparrow. The Chuck-will’s-widow chooses mid-April through mid-June to be the most vocal. The Le Conte’s Sparrow favors birders with its presence best from November to early March.
Exhibits and Hours
The Crosby Arboretum nurtures three habitats that are found naturally in the Pearl River Drainage Basin ecosystem: the Woodland exhibit, the Savanna exhibit, and the Aquatic exhibit. All three have a variety of birds that will delight your eyes and ears, no matter your level of obsession with birding.
The Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, Mississippi, is also within the Pearl River Basin. This significant river drainage area is a vital stopover for many neotropical birds as they migrate twice a year across the Gulf of Mexico. In part, that is what makes the Arboretum a unique and favorable place for bird watching. Even the bald eagle, our national bird, is here on occasion.
Crosby Arboretum is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The last admission is at 4 p.m. There is a small admission fee to enter. You also can become a member and enjoy free entry.
Located just north of the Crosby Arboretum is Nissan of Picayune. Stop in on your way to or from the Arboretum to check out the great selection of Nissan vehicles.