Strawberry Plains is the flagship site of Audubon Mississippi, the Mississippi state office of the National Audubon Society. The former private estate and farm were donated to Audubon in 1984 and the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center was established in 1998. Audubon is operating the site full time to educate Mississippians about birds, other wildlife and their habitats. An antebellum home, the Davis House, is a focal point of the property and is used for major functions and to display artwork, including paintings by John James Audubon. A small visitors? center is used for group meetings and houses exhibits. A larger educational facility is planned. Beyond the Davis House complex are extensive deciduous woods, manmade ponds, a natural beaver pond, and former pastures. All the habitats are being managed for birds and other wildlife as well as for the education and enjoyment of visitors. About 15 miles of walking trails have been developed.

Staff at Strawberry Plains includes such positions as an interpretive garden?s specialist, biologists, and maintenance workers. The executive director of Audubon Mississippi is housed there. There is an expanding internship program. Research projects are conducted regularly in partnership with Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi, and other institutions. The projects focus on the restoration of native cane and warm-season grasses, a study of a remnant Oak savanna, and regular monitoring of bird populations. Daily bird counts are conducted in most seasons. The biggest public event of the year is the Hummingbird Migration Celebration, held in early September. More than 1,000 people attend the event each year. Regular walking tours, birdwatching workshops, native plant lectures, and other events are held during the year.

Ornithological Summary

Around the gardens of the Davis House complex, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can be found by the hundreds during migration in late summer and early fall. Large hummingbird feeding stations are maintained and nectar-producing plants cultivated in gardens. The network of trails provides opportunities for seeing many migrant landbirds such as vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and orioles. Great Blue Herons nest in a rookery near the beaver pond. Certain less common birds, such as Barn Owl, Scarlet Tanager, and Grasshopper Sparrow, also nest or occur at the center. A mid-winter bird count is conducted each year.

Stay abreast of Audubon

Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives.