Sites listed below have been reviewed for accessibility as they relate to birding. This means different things to different people, so consider these suggestions as simply a guide. We did not use ADA guidelines in our review; ADA compliance is a goal that we hope all locations within the birding trails can strive towards, but our guidelines have been developed based on the ability to experience good birding at the intended location while dealing with an accessibility issue. Our primary focus during this round of reviews relates to mobility challenges. You can find additional details about the type of accessibility found at these sites by looking at each location or, for a quicker review of all the locations, you can read about their accessible options here. These details may include specific information about the type of path–but they may also be as simple as explaining that the location can be birded very effectively from your automobile. The amount of information depends on the amount of information that was able to be collected. Check back, as we will continue to update this information!
If you visit one of these sites and have an issue with accessibility, please reach out to us through our contact page and let us know more about it. If you have a site you visit regularly that is not listed below, but is accessible, please let us know about it as well. Our goal is to make these locations more visible, to help more people enjoy the wonders of Alabama’s birds, and to set an example across the country.
There are other sites found along the 8 Alabama Birding Trails that may provide access as good as these, and some of the locations below may provide limited access.
For each location listed below, you’ll find more detailed information just before the map highlighting how the site is rated for accessibility. This may include noting that the location provides good birding from the car (such as views of a waterfront). It may included details about the type of path. Whenever possible, if an individual location has provided details (such as the Birmingham Zoo) about it’s accessibility, we’ve included that information as well.
5 Rivers sits on the banks of one of the canals that traverse the Mobile-Tensaw delta. The decks of the Delta Hall and the perimeter trail around the facility provide excellent vantage points to observe birds of the surrounding marsh and waterways. In spring and summer look for Brown Pelican, Osprey, King Rail, Marsh Wren and several species of herons and egrets. Occasionally, Least Bittern and Purple Gallinule may be encountered along the margins of the emergent marsh. Painted Bunting may also be possible in the thickets near the buildings. Check here for migrants in spring and fall.
Dauphin Island Airport is set in a salt water marsh in which may be found Clapper Rail (common), Virginia Rail and Sora are fairly common(fall and winter), though secretive. Yellow Rail is very rare in winter as is Black Rail most of the year. Nelson’s and Sharp-tailed Sparrows may be seen in the grasses on the edge of the marsh. Long-legged waders may be seen feeding in the ponds on either side of the entrance.
The Alabama Nature Center in Lanark offers 350 acres of forests, fields, streams, wetlands and ponds that are traversed by five miles of boardwalks and trails in three regions: Still Creek Run, Turkey Ridge, and Hilltop Pass. The trails provide easy access to the surrounding woodlands to look for Summer Tanagers, Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern Wood Peewees, Wood Thrushes, and Yellow-billed Cuckoos. In winter, expect Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets to join the local feeding flocks in the trees, with Hermit Thrushes below.
The Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Carolyn Blount Museum of Fine Art are the two main entities that occupy the 250-acre Blount Cultural Park. Both have lakes and extensive lawns. Birds are not abundant here, but you can find waterfowl and waders on and near the lakes. Swallows can be quite common in spring and summer. Paved roads wind through the park; park off the roadways and bird the foliage on the park borders for songbirds. The wintering and breeding species you will see here are the expected assortment for southeastern suburban parks and yards, but migrants may be around in spring and fall, especially after the passage of a weather system. Be sure to inspect the quiet little corner that is Shakespeare’s Garden, adjacent to the Festival, and watch for Loggerhead Shrikes in all seasons on the edges of the thin woods throughout the park. Two hours should be sufficient for a productive visit.
Aldridge Gardens is a 30-acre former private home, 5 acre lake, gardens, and grounds now owned by the city of Hoover that has been converted to use as a botanical garden. The best time for serious birding attention here is during migration.
The Anniston Museum occupies landscaped grounds surrounded by a mature pine-oak hilltop forest. The woodland component coupled with the elevation makes the site well-suited for a role as a spring and fall migrant trap. Woodland songbirds and woodpeckers are present throughout the year, and the added attraction of the Museum’s outstanding exhibits make this a site worthy of inclusion on any visitor’s itinerary. The Museum serves as a Gateway site for the Appalachian Highlands Birding Trail, and is a good place to get help with your questions about the trail. Be sure to spend some time birding the pond in Jaycees Park at the base of the hill, just off Highway 21.
Ashland City Park preserves 27 acres of mixed hardwoods and pines along a tributary of Horsetrough Creek, with a well-maintained walking path as well as children’s playground, picnic tables, and a skateboard park. The land to the left (east) of the entrance road provides an opportunity to survey old-field habitat. Expect to see Eastern Meadowlarks and Field Sparrows throughout the year. Red-tailed Hawks hunt here, and this is a good place to spot Great Horned Owls.
One of the best and most-visited sites for songbirds in the Birmingham area, particularly in spring and fall migration. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens should be high on the “must-see” list for anyone interested in birding in the Birmingham area. Concentrate on the more-natural northern end of the park, especially the Bog Gardens, the Kaul Wildflower Garden, the Fern Glade, and the paved trail loop that begins between the Wildflower Garden and the Fern Glade. The southern portion of the Alabama Woodlands trail and the Garden for Southern Living can also be rewarding.
Located within the 200 wooded acres of Lane Park, the Birmingham Zoo is one of Alabama’s most-visited tourist locations, as well as being a surprisingly productive place for year-round birding. The best birding on the grounds exists outside the Zoo itself – in and around the overflow parking areas and in the picnic grounds, where you may find most of the state’s woodpeckers, as well as Eastern Towhees, Brown Thrashers, Grey Catbirds, Carolina Wrens, and a seasonal array of sparrows in the dense understory. This is a good place to bird in conjunction with a visit to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens across the street.
Bloch Park and the adjacent Valley Creek Park occupy a most attractive tract of land between AL-22 in downtown Selma and the banks of the Alabama River. The open areas, especially along the walking trails and bounding a large open field in the center of the park, are good for Eastern Kingbirds, Loggerhead Shrikes, and Eastern Bluebirds. Check the bridge and creek below for Louisiana Waterthrushes, Acadian Flycatchers, and Eastern Phoebes. Beyond the open field lies Valley Creek Park. The trees host Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos and Northern Parulas in warmer months, and Pine Warblers year-round. Almost any of Alabama’s migrant species can be found here, along with a good mix of breeding and wintering birds.
The Jeff Friend Trail is a one-mile loop to Little Lagoon. Habitats include maritime forest, freshwater marsh and open water along the north shore of Little Lagoon. A variety of species are possible-waterbirds, raptors, songbirds and other passerines. A small observation deck midway down the trail at Little Lagoon is a great place to set up a spotting scope and scan the water.
Buck’s Pocket State Park’s wooded pocket canyon is complete with singing Red-eyed Vireos, Wood Thrushes, and Scarlet Tanagers. The park is also host to some interesting surprises during migration.
Mount Cheaha is Alabama’s highest point, and it is one of the southernmost locations to find a number of the state’s more interesting breeding birds, such as Blue-headed Vireos, Cedar Waxwings, and Sharp-shinned Hawks. Additionally, Cheaha State Park is located in the middle of the Talladega National Forest.
The Doug Ghee trail, an easy, level, ¼-mile long, handicap-accessible boardwalk, begins just beyond the historic Bald Rock Lodge in the heart of Cheaha State Park. The visitor should expect to see a wide range of woodland songbirds, most of the state’s woodpeckers (notably Pileated and Hairy), some migrants in season, and feeding flocks of wintering birds from October through March. The end of the boardwalk offers a sensational 180-degree view to the north, and is a superior hawk-watching spot from the highest point in the state.
The boulder fields at Cherokee Rock Village stand sentinel along an east-facing ridge and overlook Weiss Lake far below. This is an extraordinary location to find Scarlet Tanagers, Summer Tanagers, and Great Crested Flycatchers, and is without doubt the best site for observing soaring raptors in the state. Sample the birds in the old fields and second-growth habitats along the entrance road.
Chilatchee Creek Park is a working campground consisting of mixed mature riparian woods located along the Dannelly Reservoir. You will find many Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated and Pine warblers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, American Redstarts, Yellow-throated Vireos, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Red-shouldered Hawks, Barred Owls, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and Orchard Orioles. You will see Wild Turkeys throughout the park. Bald Eagles nest nearby and are frequently seen in the area. In winter, you may find gulls and waterfowl along the creek.
Coffeeville Lake (Service Park) in Choctaw County deserves a brief visit by anyone planning a visit to Choctaw NWR and/or Bladon Springs State Park. The lakeside woodlands hold impressive numbers of bottomland songbirds, particularly in migration. Eagles and Ospreys nest nearby and are often seen over the lake. Waders often hunt from the lakeshore. Budget a couple hours for a visit in any season.
One of the most significant birding sites in Alabama, Coleman Lake is at present the only reliable location in the state for Red Crossbills, and boasts roadside looks at endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. This is a good location for Bachman’s Sparrows. It is also a great spot for viewing migrant and breeding songbirds and is excellent for spring and fall wildflowers, as well.
Cooter’s Pond Park, on the banks of the Alabama River, is divided into two parts — the upper section offers wooded areas, open fields, picnic pavilions, and views of the Montgomery skyline. The lower section offers a riverwalk and access to picnic areas and boat ramps. Cooter’s Pond is full of songbirds – Prothonotary Warblers, Northern Parula warblers, American Redstarts, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, and even Painted Buntings are here in the warm months. There are always Eastern Bluebirds and Brown-headed Nuthatches; watch the water for Bald Eagles, Ospreys, and waterfowl, the latter primarily in winter. Excellent year-round, this site can be phenomenal during spring and fall migration.
The sanctuary consists of 164 acres of largely maritime pine forest with several miles of trails. Passerines prefer the oak grove of the old Banding Area to the extreme east end of the Campground Trail and the south boundary of the swamp along the Dune Edge Trail. Swainson’s Warbler is regularly found at the Banding Area and Black-whiskered Vireo may be found there occasionally. In addition, a Painted Redstart was seen here in spring 2011, which accounted for the second state record.
The 120 acre DeKalb County Lake (Site #46, Northeast Loop) is a popular fishing spot that also serves as an excellent introduction to northern Alabama’s bird life. Check the open waters of the lake for wintering waterfowl, including any number of divin …
Demopolis’ River Walk is an open, paved, level, handicap-accessible stroll along the river in downtown Demopolis. The pathway is immediately adjacent to the river bank, and there are scattered patches of planted shrubs and small hardwood trees along its course. Expect to see swallows from spring through late summer, waders year-round — though more in late summer and fall, and some gulls and small numbers of waterfowl in winter. The River Walk can be adequately birded in 60 to 90 minutes. Consider the River Walk as a late morning-early afternoon stop on a birding loop that covers the Demopolis area.
Enjoy both woodland songsters-Kentucky and Hooded Warblers, Scarlet Tanagers and Yellow-throated Vireos and displays of native wildflowers and blooming shrubs. The boardwalk is 360 yards long through wooded slopes and moist forest floor.
East Lake Park is one of the best places in the Birmingham area to see birds, because it has a variety of natural features that provide food, water and shelter for a wide range of species. Using water from Roebuck Springs and Village Creek, this 45-acre lake is sheltered from the surrounding urban area by a 100-acre park. The mature hardwoods are home to many resident songbirds, as well as winter feeding flocks led by Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, as well as the usual winter finches.
Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve is an upland hardwood swamp on Spring Creek, made accessible for nature-lovers by a boardwalk built and maintained by the University of Montevallo. The dominant tree is the Tupelo Gum, with a rich mixture of other hardwoods and Loblolly Pine. The birding begins as you approach the boardwalk from the parking area.
The location within the Weogufka State Forest provides an excellent location for raptor watching, particularly during spring and fall. The dense mixed forest provides good habitat as a stopover point for spring and fall migrants. Expect to see typical woodland birds, plus the possibility of almost any raptor found in Alabama.
The twin sites along the shores of 500-acre Lake Jackson provide boardwalk access through and above cypress hammocks, palmetto and scrub woods, and dense tangles of wetland and swamp plants. This is a superb site for wetland-loving songbirds, and a reasonably good spot to find wading birds, a few shorebirds, and gulls in winter.
Foscue Creek Park has extensive grassy meadows and tallgrass fields from near the entrance road to the roads to the campground areas, bottomland hardwood forest over the picnic areas, and the open waters of Demopolis Lake along the park’s northern boundary. Expect to find sparrows in the cooler months and excellent numbers of songbirds, woodpeckers, waders, and birds of prey throughout the year. The park merits a short half-day visit in all but the hottest months.
Fox Creek offers good access for birding where Fox Creek empties into Lake Wedowee, adjacent to the Fox Creek boat ramp. The terrain is a great mix of open land, brush, forest and lakeshore, attracting a wide variety of birds from herons to hummingbirds. Expect to see swallows and Purple Martins in spring and summer, and Belted Kingfishers, wading birds, and Wood Ducks throughout the year. During the winter months, additional waterfowl, gulls, and terns appear. Keep your eyes peeled for Ospreys and Bald Eagles.
The tiny Wilcox County community of Gee’s Bend will provide an entertaining and educational visit. World-famous for its museum-quality quilts, it also provides habitat to good numbers of bottomland woodland birds, including vast numbers of Turkeys and Bobwhites. Come here after Chilatchee Park, spend a couple of hours at Gee’s Bend Park and the Boykin community, then take the historic Gee’s Bend Ferry across the Alabama River and visit Roland Cooper State Park.
Gold Star Park is a small park in the city of Wetumpka featuring an excellently designed and executed walking trail with very good birding right along the Coosa River. The trail encompasses a surprising variety of habitats – forest, riverbank, and more. It includes several elevated sections that lead through excellent bird habitat.
Graham Creek Nature Preserve is a 484 acre natural area managed by the City of Foley. In addition to protecting a portion of the Wolf Bay watershed, this preserve also possesses open pine forest with extensive wire grass and pitcher plant bogs. The combination of habitats is attractive to a diversity of bird species including Northern Bobwhite,, Red-tailed Hawk, Loggerhead Shrike, Yellow-throated Vireo, Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Summer Tanager, Blue Grosbeak and several species of waders along the creek.
Gunter Hill Park and Campground lies just 15 minutes and a world away from downtown Montgomery. Paved roads lead through mature woods of pine and moss-draped hardwoods to the banks Catoma Creek, a backwater of the Alabama River. There are two loops here, the Antioch and Catoma loops–the Catoma Loop is far more extensive, encompassing some second-growth, trails, hardwood bottomlands, park-like campgrounds with open understory, bridges over a creek, and bluffs overlooking the Alabama. Expect to find a great variety of birds, including Louisiana Waterthrushes, Acadian Flycatchers, Northern Parulas, Redstarts, vast numbers of Indigo Buntings, Summer Tanagers, Orchard Orioles, and Great Crested Flycatchers.
The reservoir is at its best in winter, when waterfowl is plentiful, often supporting rafts of Red-breasted Mergansers, Lesser Scaup, Gadwalls, Ruddy Ducks as well as Common Loons and Horned Grebes.
Guntersville State Park is one of the premier birding areas in northeastern Alabama. Renowned for its Eagle Awareness Weekends, the park is best visited in the winter. During this time, look for dense populations of waterfowl, and the chance to spy a vagrant such as a Red-necked Grebe or an unusual gull.
The Holly Hills Trail is a pleasant walking trail with very good plant and habitat diversity, and should boast a large variety of birds throughout the year. The trail is older and rough in places, but it traverses a number of excellent birding areas, so it is well worth the time and effort. The trail is located in D.A.R.E Power Park, a 30-acre, day-use park on the eastern side of Lake Martin.
Holy Ground Battlefield Park is a small Army Corps day-use area in northern Lowndes County. Trails proceed from an interpretive kiosk along and through mixed woodlands to views of Woodruff Lake and Cypress Creek. You will see a good variety of songbirds on all but the hottest days of summer. Look for Bald Eagles and Ospreys over the water and waders along the shore. Some waterfowl may be present in winter. Allow two to four hours to bird the park and trails.
The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail system was developed cooperatively by the City of Orange Beach and Gulf State Park (Alabama State Parks Division) to provide non-consumptive recreational opportunities through one of the last remaining intact maritime forests along coastal Alabama. In addition to being a preserve for many of the area’s native wildlife, this remnant natural area serves as a lifeline for millions of migratory birds each spring and fall by providing essential food and shelter resources, making the birding potential excellent on any given visit.
Idle Hour Park sits moments from US-80 in Phenix City. It is a sprawling urban park, the outstanding feature of which is Moon Lake. The path around the lake is broad, flat, and handicap-accessible. The surrounding woods are pleasant, and the trails through the Natural Area and the other walking trails on the eastern side of the park are more narrow and undulating. The lake attracts waterfowl in winter, and a few waders may be found on the lake’s periphery most of the time. Woodland species abound along the 1-mile Nature Trail loop. To walk the Natural Area and walking trails in their entirety requires a couple hours.
The James D. Martin Wildlife Park offers exceptional facilities for exploring an extensive backwater of Neely Henry Lake, on the Coosa River in the City of Gadsden. In addition to a walking trail along the shoreline, a network of boardwalks allows visitors to walk out into the 300-acre lake, and even to visit wooded islands situated in the lake, providing superb views of the birdlife of this rich and varied ecosystem.
The park provides access to the north side of Wheeler Lake and the associated backwaters, which are often good for waterbirds. The park also contains several patches of deciduous hardwoods crisscrossed by marked forest trails for woodland birding.
Lagoon Park is a large urban park, with multiple softball fields, a golf course, a wooded fitness trail, and more to our point, several large lagoons ringed by walking trails. The lagoon portion of the park features extensive shallow wetlands that can be spectacular for wading birds, swallows, small rafts of ducks in winter, and for songbirds in the surrounding woods. Bird the trees along the entrance road for migrants in spring and fall. Look for wetland songbirds in the bottomland forest to the west and south of the parking at the end of the road, and walk the trails around the lagoons to see waders, waterfowl, and possible shorebirds. Allow at least two hours for your visit here.
Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area offers first-rate resources for nature-loving visitors: A beautiful lake, interesting plants, numerous birds, along with essential amenities. This is perhaps the “birdiest” site in this entire unit of the Talladega Nat …
Lake Purdy is a 990-acre reservoir on the Little Cahaba River which provides drinking water for the City of Birmingham. Surrounded by protected woodlands, the lake and its environs have become one of those rare birding destinations that is always interesting – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Begin your visit with a stop on Highway 119 just before the Cox’s Creek bridge, and scan the shallow water, mudflats and grassy fields on the south side of the road, created where Cox’s Creek spreads out just before it empties into the lake.
Located just a few miles from Auburn, Visitors will find a variety of birds associated with the lake and bordering forested habitats. The tall pines at the store and boat launch area allow for excellent viewing opportunities of Brown-headed Nuthatches, woodpeckers, and Eastern Bluebirds.
Limestone Park’s interesting combination of wetlands, grasslands, and Tupelo Gum swamp is good for wading birds, swamp and marsh birds, grassland species, and some waterfowl in winter. You will also find songbirds and shorebirds in migration. Best birds are Anhinga (breeds), and Bobolinks, Dickcissels, and Grasshopper Sparrows (late spring). The handicapped-accessible Birding Observation Deck overlooks the wetlands on the North-western side of the park, with adjacent parking for all. Located in a rural industrial area in southern Shelby County, this park preserves a small but rich remnant of the habitat mosaic that makes this area especially attractive to birds.
Lineville City Park provides access to two lakes, one of which is used for fishing. As one enters the park, the lake is surrounded by a walking trail bordered by woods, and featuring views of the highest point in Alabama, Mt. Cheaha. The lower lake is more secluded, and is more likely to be visited by wild waterfowl in the colder months. Expect to see long-legged waders – herons and egrets. Search for resting night-herons and possibly American Bitterns where the vegetation is thickest.
The Canyon Center is a good resource to visit when planning a trip to the Little River Canyon. Stop in and talk with a National Park Service ranger for tips on where to find the best birds in season. There are several small trails at the Canyon Center that have an assortment of typical suburban birds.
Canyon Mouth Park offers visitors one of the few opportunities to access the banks of the Little River by car. This is a good place to experience songbirds in the trees near the river, in the dense understory and woods beyond the picnic areas, and along the narrow path that follows the river upstream into the canyon. Soaring birds of prey are frequently seen in the skies above. Picnic tables, restrooms, and ample parking make this a good stopping place for a midday picnic, either before or after exploring the spectacular canyon rim.
Live Oak Landing consists of 175 acres of beautiful land with highway access and a half-mile of waterfront. The property is surrounded by county, state, and Forever Wild conservation land encompassing a total area of approximately 1,500 acres on the eastern side of the Tensaw River.
Maplesville City Park offers forty acres of mixed hardwood & pine, with two athletic fields. A paved, 1/3 mile walking trail and several additional unpaved pathways provide opportunities to bird the woodlands, including several creeks that interse …
Minooka Park, located in Jemison, AL, features over 400 acres of woodlands. Although the park is primarily an off- highway vehicle park there is also an 7 acre lake surrounded by a walking trail and piers. Pavilions and restroom facilities …
Monte Sano State Park sits atop a remnant ridge of the Cumberland Plateau, giving a fantastic view of the surrounding valleys and plateaus that cover northeastern Alabama. These islands in the sky are covered in thick hardwood forest, which is home to a number of neotropical migrants.
The Montgomery Zoo encompasses 40 acres just off Northern Boulevard (US-231) in the city limits of Montgomery. The zoo’s landscape is largely open, but the periphery of the park incorporates lush planted habitat for native species. Make it a point to bird the lake at the extreme northwestern part of the property. Look for migrants and mid- and understory songbirds in the dense second growth, and for waders and waterfowl around the lake. Brown-headed Nuthatches and Red-headed Woodpeckers are common permanent residents here. The zoo is entirely handicap-accessible. An admission fee is charged, and zoo hours vary by the season.
The park’s many large Mississipian-era American Indian mounds dot a large open field with multiple marshes. Red-winged Blackbirds, a few herons, and the occasional shorebird may be seen here. The west side of the park abuts the Black Warrior River. In the parking and picnic areas are scattered mature trees, and the north side of the park is bordered by a dense stand of hardwoods. A good mix of songbirds, woodpeckers, and raptors may be found at the park, making this a fruitful site for three seasons.
Alabama’s largest state park, Oak Mountain offers a rich variety of good birding spots. The fishing lakes at the northeast end of the park, especially the woods around the lower fishing lake, can be amazingly productive. Allot a good portion of your time in the park to this area. Peavine Falls Road is also quite good. Concentrate on the picnic area on the ridgeline on the brow of the mountain, and on the trails at the end of the Falls Road.
A 40-acre park in downtown Montgomery, Oak Park is a lovely place to pass a few hours in search of birds. A paved loop road that winds through the park provides ample parking. The park is transected by numerous paved trails, several of which are handicap-accessible. The park is primarily forested by mature hardwoods – many live oaks – with an open understory. Oak Park is most productive for songbirds, and is at its best on spring and fall mornings when migrants can be numerous. Most of the low cover available for ground-dwelling birds is in the shrubby borders along the roadway. These areas are most productive in the colder months. Breeding birds are a typical mix of urban parks and suburban southern backyards.
Old Cahawba, Alabama’s capitol from 1820 to 1826, is a present-day ghost town and archaeological site situated inside an oxbow of the Alabama River. The forest here is primarily all-age bottomland-type hardwoods, with varying degrees of understory density. There are open short-grass fields adjacent to the main (paved) road. The site hosts a good selection of woodland songbirds, from warblers and vireos to Summer Tanagers, Great Crested Flycatchers, and Yellow-billed Cuckoos. There is an abundance of food and shelter here, and a minimal amount of disturbance, so populations of birds are good.
A particularly attractive Dallas County site for woodland and riparian songbirds. Home to waders in late summer and fall, as well as a smattering of ducks in winter. Paul M Grist State Park is a convenient and easily reached site well-worthy of a half-day’s visit. The extensive hiking trail around the lake is worth the trip by itself.
The Phenix City Riverwalk in Russell County snakes along the banks of the Chattahoochee River for almost 1.25 miles as it traces the Alabama-Georgia state line. Follow the elevated boardwalks and the paved walkways and seize the opportunities to trek down to the river’s edge or to scramble over a boulder field. The woods here – largely mature hardwoods with varying amounts of understory — are rife with riparian-forest songbirds. Look for waders and swallows over the river, with some gulls and the odd tern in winter. As this site requires no less than a 2 1/2 – mile walk, expect to spend a short half-day to cover most if not all of the trail. If pressed for time, spend 1-1 ½ hours birding the southern portion from the entrance near the Ampitheatre to the 13th St bridge and back.
There are several waterfront parks in the vicinity of Tuscaloosa. Rocky Branch is the northernmost in a cluster of parks on Holt Lake. Comprised of steep forested slopes leading to the deep waters, it is best birded for songbirds in spring and fall migration, and for wintering birds in the colder months.
Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve is a thousand-acre park preserving the wooded slopes of Ruffner Mountain in the heart of Birmingham. In addition to an extensive trail system, Ruffner Mountain Nature Center offers a variety of camps, activities, and programs for visitors of all ages. Excellent birding can be enjoyed in the mixed vegetation around the Nature Center and the covered pavilion. The park never seems crowded or noisy, and the birds are plentiful. This is a great migrant trap in spring and fall. Virtually any perching bird native to north-central Alabama might turn up at Ruffner Mt. on a given day.
The Greenway provides a safe, flat route and a chance to explore floodplain habitats of one of the most important streams in the Birmingham metropolitan area. An expansion of the Greenway in both directions is underway by the city of Homewood.
Sherling Lake Park is only 3 miles west of Greenville, the largest town in Butler County. It is just 5 minutes from I-65 and can be reached by state highways from the interstate. It exists primarily for its 41 campsites, two fishing lakes, and tent camping opportunities. Because it is well-wooded with relatively quiet human activity, and because there is a large amount of water on the property, the park attracts a variety of birds. Expect to find numerous woodland songbirds in all seasons, with waders present near the lakes, and some waterfowl in winter. A short half day – two hours or so – should be enough for good birding.
Shoal Creek Park consists of 167 acres of largely open lands and wooded margins with Shoal Creek running through the property. Shoal Creek itself tends to have a good flow with riffles and slower moving stretches.
Spillway Falls Park is a significant location for shorebird-watching in the Demopolis area. The site is notable for a broad spillway and extensive shoals and shallows below the lock and dam. Although the mixed woods boast a good variety of songbirds and woodpeckers – and numerous Wild Turkeys, Red-shouldered Hawks, and Barred Owls — the primary feature remains the rocks and shallow waters below the dam. Use the observation deck to look for gulls in winter, waders and shorebirds on the rocks, and dabbling ducks in the shallows in the colder months. It should take less than two hours to bird the park. A scope would be helpful, as distances to the birds below the dam are great.
A large park with varying, all-age, pine-oak woodlands. Water ranges from babbling brook to rushing streams. Tannehill can be a fine spot for song-birding at all times except the middle of summer. Often very busy and noisy on weekends in the warm months; can be very serene on weekdays. Look for woodland songbirds and migrants here. A great spot for Louisiana Waterthrushes and Brown-headed Nuthatches.
Ten Islands Historical Park, on the shores of Neely Henry Lake just above the dam, offers first-rate birding. Though the park itself is small, there is a vast amount of excellent habitat here – the entrance road provides shoreline access to deep water, pullout areas to check grassy edges and early second-growth pines. There is a good wooded trail from the parking lot along a finger of the lake. The park is good for songbirds, swallows, waterfowl, raptors, and more.
The Parks of West Point Dam are strategically positioned to offer a variety of locations for enjoying the rich birding opportunities around the dam. The various parks also offer panoramic views of the lake, notable for winter gulls and terns. The woods surrounding the Lake are rather open, mostly mature pine and mixed oak, with a good variety of songbirds and raptors. The major attraction here is panoramic views of the lake, notable for winter gulls and terns. Look for loons and other waterfowl in colder months, swallows and Purple Martins in the warmer ones. Bald Eagles and Osprey nest in the vicinity. A good spot for rarities, including Great Cormorant, watch the easy-to-see gulls carefully, as numerous unusual gulls can be present along with the more common varieties.
The Bevill Visitors Center grounds feature short-grass lawns with scattered small shade trees. The property is home to numerous bluebirds and various blackbird species. There are numerous songbirds in the trees in and near the parking areas. Look for gulls, eagles, and deep-water ducks in the adjacent Aliceville Lake in winter. The heavily wooded entrance road leading to the visitors center offers outstanding songbirding opportunities throughout the year.
A rarity in the midst of such a vibrant resort city, the 12 acre Wade Ward Park features a pavilion, benches and scenic boardwalks overlooking coastal salt marshes. It offers the birder scenic boardwalks overlooking canals and coastal salt marsh. It features a pavilion, benches and scenic boardwalks.
Temporarily Closed. A delightful birding experience awaits at Walker County Lake. Tree Swallows are abundant here – many nesting pairs are present, along with numerous Purple Martins. Breeding Yellow Warblers have been identified here, and many additional songbird species are present from April through October. The park should prove to be a productive site for spring and fall migrants, as well as for long-legged waders in late spring and summer.
Weiss Lake, a 30,200 acre impoundment owned and operated by the Alabama Power Company, is fed by the Coosa, Chattooga and Little Rivers, and offers over 447 miles of shoreline and shallow flats, large coves, under-water drop offs and deep channels. The preferred starting point for birding Weiss Lake is the boat launch area on the west side of AL 68 in the middle of the Chattooga Bridge, which spans the main body of the lake. This is a good site for gulls, waterfowl, and eagles in winter; for swallows and riparian songbirds in spring and summer; and waders and some shorebirds in late summer and fall.
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge’s (NWR’s) showpiece Visitor Center (Site #16, Central Loop) serves as the gateway to the North Alabama Birding Trail. The Visitor Center hosts a series of interpretive exhibits that explain the refuge’s numerous residen …
Arrowhead Landing (Site # 23, Central Loop) is located on Limestone Bay, another corner of the fertile Wheeler Reservoir and the Tennessee River. There is an outstanding view of the bay and the wooded areas on Beaverdam Peninsula. Watch the open water …
The Beaverdam Swamp Boardwalk (Site #25, Central Loop) leads the visitor into the heart of the largest Tupelo Swamp in Alabama. While exploring the boardwalk, watch the canopy for active flocks of Tufted Titmice, Red-eyed Vireos, and warblers. The swamp usually rings with the songs of frogs, insects, and numerous birds including Eastern Wood-Pewee, Great-crested Flycatcher, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo.
Dancy Bottoms (Site #33, Central Loop) is an excellent area in the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge to visit during spring migration when dozens of warblers, vireos, tanagers, thrushes, orioles, and grosbeaks fill the trees. The area is also good for b …
Yoholo Micco Trail covers some 3.2 miles through grassy meadows, mixed woodlands, past a (hidden) waterfall, across a former railroad bridge skirting the shoreline of Lake Eufaula, then through a residential section of the historic City of Eufaula, before terminating at Old Creek Town Park. This The paved, level trail incorporates most of the habitat types found in the Eufaula area. You can see a broad variety of species along the path, and it is probably the best location in the area to spot migrants in spring and fall. Winter birds are also plentiful. The most interesting species may be the nesting pairs of Bald Eagles and Ospreys.