Howard County

Howard County is one of the seven jurisdictions within the Central Region. It is the smallest of the Maryland counties by total land area.The county seat is Ellicott City. Columbia is another major city.

Though small, Howard County has 311+ species reported on eBird. The county is a hotbed of active birding and consistently ranks in the top 3 counties in Maryland in terms of number of eBird checklists submitted.

For the county eBird checklist, eBird hotspots, and more, click here. An annotated checklist of Howard County birds has been produced by Howard County Bird Club member Russ Ruffing; the annotated checklist presents a brief narrative overview on each species found in the county along with a bar graph showing seasonal occurrence and expected spring and fall migration dates.

View a comparison of Maryland counties based on total number of species reported on eBird.

Howard County is located in the Piedmont Plateau region of Maryland, with rolling hills making up most of the landscape. It is bounded  by the Patapsco River runs along the on the north and northeast county borders, and the Patuxent River runs along the southwest border. Both the Patapsco and Patuxent run largely through publicly accessible parkland along the county borders. The Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge reservoirs are located on the Patuxent River, each partly within Howard County.

Adjoining counties are Frederick County to the northwest; Carroll County to the north; Baltimore County to the east; Anne Arundel County to the southeast; Prince George’s County to the south; and Montgomery County to the southwest.

Major corridors are I-95 and US Route 1, which both run roughly northeast-southwest through the southeast corner of the county. The major east-west corridors are I-70 and US Route 40, which go through the northern tier of the county. Other major roadways include US Route 29, which connects Howard County to the Washington, DC metropolitan area; and MD Routes 32 and 97.

To view the State Highway Administration’s printable road map of Howard County (PDF format), please click here.

The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Howard County Bird Club.

Explore birding sites in Howard County by choosing from the list below.