Grand Isle Birding Trail: The First Louisiana Birding Trail

Grand Isle Birding Trail Dedicated April 2002.

One of the Sanctuary Group Members, The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana (TNC) developed the first migratory bird trail in Louisiana on the island of Grand Isle. Grand Isle Birding Trail links several birding areas including the best remaining tracts of oak-hackberry forests on Grand Isle. Grand Isle is the only barrier island along the Gulf coast that supports a live oak dominated plant community. Look for trail markers, educational kiosks and parking areas.

Trail Habitats

  • Lafitte Woods Preserve
  • Grand Isle Port Commission Marsh
  • Sureway Woods 
  • LSU Ag Center Woods
  • Govan Tract

Lafitte Woods Preserve's Grilleta Tract. (13 acres).

This site includes mature live oak and hackberry forest. It was originally established through a donation of 10 acres by Xavier Grilletta of B&G Services in 1998. In January of 2001, TNC acquired an additional 3 acres of forest adjacent to the initial preserve. Look for a parking area surrounded by a wooded split rail fence located on Hwy. LA 1 between Coulon Rigaud Ln. and Grand Isle Parkway. The Grilletta tract of mostly maritime forest, is home to approximately 100 species of songbirds including scarlet tanagers, gray catbirds, blue grosbeaks, thrushes, and prothonotary, yellow, and hooded warblers. Red mulberry, black willow, red bay, and live oak trees, some older than 125 years, comprise the heart of this portion of the Grand Isle Birding Trail. It is one of  two remaining stands of undeveloped maritime forest on the island. Park and visit the informational kiosk and enjoy your tour.


Grand Isle Port Commission Marsh (22 acres)

Lafitte Woods Preserve's

This property overlooks 22 acres of salt marsh, tidal ponds, and sparsely forested uplands. It is home to hundreds of species of birds including raptors, colonial nesting birds, and songbirds.  Sandpipers, brown pelicans, willets, and herons feed along the food-source-rich shores. Grosbeaks, tanagers, and buntings feed in the tall grasses and trees along the higher ground. It is located at the corner of Medical and Ludwig Lanes.




Lafitte Woods Preserve's  Maples and Landry/LeBlanc Tract (20 acres)

This wooded site reffered to as Sureway Woods is adjacent to Sureway Supermarket off of Hwy. LA 1 between Post and Nacarri Lanes.



LSU AgCenter Cemetery Woods (4.5 acres)

This site is a remnant forest populated by live oaks over 125 years old as well as hackberry trees and undergrowth.  Known coloquially as a  "chenier"-- a French word meaning "place of oaks". The LSU property includes another two acre salt flat, located on the backside of the eastern end of the island near the ExxonMobil Gas Plant. Resident marsh birds nest and make their home along this part of the Grand Isle Birding Trail. Ducks, moorhens, mergansers, grebs and other species can be found throughout the area. This wooded site provides a parking lot and an informational kiosk, located on Minnich Lane.



Lafitte Woods Preserve's Govan Tract (.5 acres)

The Govan Tract is approximately 1/2 acre of wooded land located on Landry Lanewith access behind Bruce's Apartments.  This parcel of land is named for the family that donated it to The Nature Conservancy of LA in 2003.  Mr. Govan's family owned this land since 1890.  There are live oaks, hackberries, youpon, dewberry, virginia creeper, and poison oak growing in abundance on the land.  Painted buntings, indigo buntings, red wing blackbirds, orchard orioles, warblers, jays, cardinals and many other songbirds can be seen here throughout the migratory season.


Free Birding Trail maps are available at the Grand Isle Port Commission Visitor’s Center on Hwy. LA 1. 

Grand Isle Birding Trail and Conservation Partners

The following have provided or pledged funds to support the Grand Isle Birding Trail:

The Louisiana Nature Conservancy, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary Foundation, ExxonMobil, Entergy, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Grand Isle Port Commission, and Orleans Audubon Society, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory. Appreciation goes to the Town of Grand Isle, Grand Isle School and Americorps on the Bayou for their support.

© BTNEP: Barataria Terrebonne National Est all Rights Reserved