Bodcau Wildlife Management Area - Bird Banding Field on Bodcau Dam Road

From I-20 at Fillmore, take Hwy 157 north. Stay on 157 as it diverges from 162. Then turn east on Bodcau Dam Road. When the road declines into the flood plain, the field will be on your right.

Straddling Bossier and Webster parishes, Bayou Bodcau runs from the Louisiana-Arkansas border southward for 20 miles. The WMA is a mix of pine-hardwood forests, cypress swamps, and prairies. No fewer than eleven warbler species—including uncommon Louisiana breeders such as the Black-and-white and Prairie Warblers—are known to breed throughout the various forested habitats, along with numerous species of forest and field flycatchers. Additional breeders include Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, both Painted and Indigo Buntings, and woodland edge songbirds such as Field Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Summer Tanager, and Northern Cardinal. Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets are commonly encountered along the bayou and swamps nearly year-round and are joined by other waders such as Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, and Green Heron in the spring and summer. 

For local birders, the big draw comes during winter, when many sparrows, including hard-to-find species such as Henslow’s and LeConte’s, fill the managed prairie at the site's southern end. A paved walkway winds through this prairie, allowing for easy access. 

The Tom Merrill Recreation Area, adjacent to Bodcau Dam Road, is excellent for Wild Turkey, various herons, Belted Kingfisher, Sedge Wren, Black-and-white, Prothonotary, Kentucky, Hooded, and Yellow-throated Warblers, Eastern Towhee, and Chipping Sparrow. The Self-Check Permit box for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is at the top of the hill. 

The John Haygood Nature Trail, a 0.75-mile paved hike, starts next to the Durden House Education Center. The pine upland habitat is home to Eastern Bluebird and Pine Warbler in all seasons. In winter, the residents are joined by Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrush, the Slate-colored form of the Dark-eyed Junco, and American Goldfinch. Besides birding, this site hosts other activities such as camping, biking/hiking, hunting, paddling, and fishing.