From I-610 in western New Orleans, head east on I-610 E and take exit 1A for Canal Boulevard. In 0.6 mile, turn left onto Canal Boulevard for 0.7 mile. Then turn right onto Harrison Avenue for 0.4 mile, then continue straight to stay on Harrison Avenue for 0.4 mile to turn left at Couturie Forest main entrance and parking lot. Couturie Forest, 1009 Harrison Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124

Couturie Forest is one of the most heavily-birded urban sites in the country, with thousands of checklists recorded on eBird. Strategically located on the far northern end of New Orleans City Park, this 50-acre site lies very near the southern shore of Lake Pontchartrain. This makes it a magnet for wandering migratory songbirds. To temporarily disoriented migrants, this woodlot sticks out against massive Lake Pontchartrain to the north and the urban hardscape of New Orleans to the south. 

The site’s fishing lake is conveniently equipped with an observation deck, where 15 species of ducks have been recorded, including Mottled Duck, Redhead, and Red-breasted Merganser. Least, Gull-billed, Caspian, Black, Forster’s, and Royal Terns hunt over the lake and lagoons. Twelve wading bird species and 12 raptors have been recorded as well. Look for wandering Roseate Spoonbills in late summer and early fall. Look for Swallow-tailed Kite every March-April. Mississippi Kite breeds here or nearby. 

The trail meanders along lagoons and through a bottomland hardwood forest dominated by live oak, bald cypress, and hackberry, with elderberry and dwarf palmetto in the understory. During spring and fall, the songbird action can be torrid. Thirteen species of flycatchers, 12 sparrow species, and an amazing 38 warbler species (including one hybrid) have been recorded here. 

In all, 230 bird species have been recorded from this small woodlot, with a vagrant/rarity list that rivals the coastal forests of Grand Isle and Cameron parish. Examples include Groove-billed Ani, Black-chinned, Rufous, and Buff-bellied Hummingbirds, Ash-throated and Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers, Cave Swallow, and MacGillivray’s Warbler. 

A mile-long well-interpreted primitive trail winds through the forest. A fishing lake is also located on the site. Rising up in the center of Couturie is Laborde Mountain, the highest point in New Orleans, measuring 43 feet above sea level. There are no additional amenities. This is primarily a site for serious birders. This site is not handicapped-accessible.