Best Time to Visit This Site:
Most Sought Species at This Site:
Swallow-tailed Kite, Mississippi Kite, Chuck-will’s-widow, Acadian Flycatcher, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Prothonotary Warbler, Swainson’s Warbler, Henslow’s Sparrow, Le Conte’s Sparrow, Painted Bunting
The Ward Bayou Wildlife Management Area is largely a complex of bottomland hardwood forest and bayous on the western boundary of the Pascagoula River basin. The bottomland components begin at the base of an 80 foot bluff transition zone (slope) of southern mixed hardwood forest that contains some native plants uniquely associated with slopes. The top of this transition zone consists of an area of longleaf pine forest restoration. The Judy Toups trail begins at the base of the slope directly adjacent to Ward Bayou and traverses the slope component of the site. Although not always well maintained, it does provide some birding opportunities. This section of the WMA is a no-hunting zone and Wild Turkeys are plentiful. During breeding season, a number of key southeastern species can be found across the bottomlands. A representative selection would include Swallow-tailed Kite, Mississippi Kite, Acadian Flycatcher and Yellow-throated Warbler, Swainson’s Warbler, Kentucky and Prothonotary Warblers. The latter are particularly numerous due to an active nest box program being carried out by the Pascagoula River Audubon Center.
A remarkable number and variety of rare sparrows such as Grasshopper, Le Conte’s, White-crowned and Fox have been found in the Longleaf Pine restoration area. This will probably continue for a few more years until the growing pines shade out the current rank growth of weeds and other seeding plants. This site is recognized by the National Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area (IBA). Ward Bayou WMA is owned by the Army Corp of Engineers and managed by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks (MS WF&P). The primary purposes of WMAs are to provide areas for hunting and fishing. For your own safety, wear highly visible blaze orange hunting clothes during hunting seasons. A WMA User Permit is required to legally access this & other WMA sites. Resident and non-resident annual and daily permits are available. Information on obtaining WMA permits and Mississippi hunting seasons can be found by clicking on the WMA and Hunting icons to the right.
GPS: 30.56647 -88.63087
Check Hunting Season/ Beware of Feral Hogs