Kisatchie National Forest - Catahoula Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden

From Alexandria, drive north on U.S. Hwy 167 to Bentley, Louisiana. At the intersection of U.S. Hwy 167 and Louisiana Hwy 8 turn right (east) and travel 3 miles to the Catahoula Ranger District Office on the right (south). Turn right on FR 145 and the Catahoula Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden is on the right. Visitors may park at the District Office and walk across to the garden if they wish.

This Catahoula Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden is a joint project between the U.S. Forest Service and Gardeners for Wildlife, a not-for-profit group of active local residents committed to environmental volunteerism. The site attracts various birds, butterflies, and other plant-loving insects.

The biggest birding draw is the possible sighting of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and Bachman’s Sparrows. These are two rare long-leaf pine forest species, most likely to be seen in the woodlands along the site’s entry road. Birders visiting during the spring breeding season (March-June) will dramatically increase their odds of success, as the adults of these two species are active in courtship, nest-building, and foraging food items for their young during this period. Look for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers in mature pines and Bachman's Sparrow in associated understory thickets.

This site’s beautiful garden features wildflowers and trees selected specifically to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Pine forests border the garden to the north, east, and southwest. A large meadow of tall grasses borders to the south, hosting grassland sparrows in winter. A small pond is located in the northwest corner of the gardens. Patches of wax myrtle, honeysuckle, and brambles provide habitat for breeding species such as White-eyed Vireo, Brown Thrasher, Northern Cardinal, and in winter, various thicket-dwelling sparrow species.