From the mountains to the coast, Alabama has a great deal of birds and a great deal of bird enthusiasts. But how can we share this enthusiasm with others? We’ve selected bird lovers from around the state to serve as volunteer Alabama Birding Trails Ambassadors. A Birding Ambassador is someone who is passionate about birds, and who loves sharing that passion with others. They might be distributing birding materials throughout their region, leading bird tours and walks, educating about birds, talking with journalists about the birding opportunities in this beautiful state, writing for the birding trails program, posting on social media about birds, or attending birding events. When it comes to all things birds, our ambassadors have it covered.
Through a grant from the Alabama Tourism Department, The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development is launching the ambassador program in 2023-2024 to promote the Year of Alabama Birding.
We’d love to have an ambassador from each region in our program. Know someone who would be perfect? Tell them to apply.
Please coordinate all ambassador questions and requests through Erin Hackenmueller at email@example.com.
Elmore County, Piedmont Plateau
With over 15 years of wildlife education experience, I found that birds, especially birds of prey, were my favorites. We are fortunate to have a vast variety of habitats that attract over 400 different species of birds. As an Alabama Birding Trails Ambassador, I hope to share my passion for birds and encourage others to develop an appreciation for the vast biodiversity Alabama has to offer.
Lee County, Piedmont Plateau
Birding has been a big part of my life for over forty years. It was a black-crowned night heron with red eyes and a headdress, looking down on me while fishing in a Tennessee creek, that hooked me. Since then, I’ve served as president, bird records committee member and life member of the Alabama Ornithological Society. I serve on the board of directors of Alabama Audubon. I’m a founding member and current board member of Wood Duck Nature Preserve of Opelika, which is a premiere location on the Piedmont Birding Trail. I especially enjoy leading bird walks in my region of the state and introducing new birders to the wonders of birds and their place in ecology.
Etowah County, Appalachian Highlands
I am retired from the military and spend as much of my free time as possible outside. I love traveling, kayaking, gardening, hiking, birding and photography. Much of my photography is of birds – from house sparrows to Eagles, I love taking pictures of them all. One of the fabulous things about Alabama is that we see so many migratory birds!
Madison County, North Alabama
Ever since I was born, I always looked skyward. My first interest in airborne items came in the shape of rockets and planes that I saw while growing up in south Florida. Naturally, I had an innate interest in birds, but my passion really ignited when I certified as a wildlife rehabilitator in Virginia. My primary focus was raptors, and I worked with numerous birds of prey including a variety of hawks, owls, and falcons. Through my stints in various states, my captivation for birds heightened as I got to appreciate the diversity of species across the country. Now that I have moved to Alabama, I have transitioned to being an education ambassador for one of our local raptor programs. In addition, I am expanding my world to all types of birding and hope to share my passion and appreciation with others.
Tuscaloosa County, West Alabama
I have been enjoying nature and watching birds and wildlife since I was a little girl. There is just something about nature! Always a joy to see hummingbirds, cardinals, chickadees, doves, bluebirds, blue jays, and woodpeckers to name just a few at my feeders. I served Tuscaloosa and the surrounding areas for several years as a Wild Birds Unlimited store owner. I was trying to get interest up and going to get folks out on the trails to see the beauty of the many birds around us.
Limestone County, North Alabama
I’m a volunteer naturalist at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and on the board of Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association and lead birding and kayak tours on the refuge. I am a writer and the author of “Images of America: Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.” An avid adventure traveler, I have visited all seven continents, dozens of countries and all 50 states. I am a well-known local public speaker and often provide talks to Learning Quest, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and area groups and organizations.
I like birds and I like to meet people and Wheeler has plenty of both! Our Visitor Center is a busy place during the winter season when waterfowl are here in large numbers. A steady stream of visitors keeps the place lively, and I get to meet and talk with lots of people from all over the world. I enjoy introducing people to the outdoors. It’s always a thrill to me when I am leading a tour and I point out a bird they’ve never seen before. I love the delight on their faces when they see a bald eagle or an endangered whooping crane for the first time!
Jefferson County, Appalachian Highlands
I’m a law librarian that teaches several law and tech courses to law students. Birding is therapy to me. There is nothing better than being outdoors while watching and listening to birds. I love all that Alabama has to offer – there are so many beautiful places close by.
Montgomery County, Black Belt Nature and Heritage
I am the Natural Resource Supervisor for Alabama State Parks and one of my roles is protecting the forest and wildlife resources of our beautiful parks. I have been with the park system for about seven years and going on my third year in my current position. Almost all of our Alabama State Parks are stops along Alabama Birding Trail. I have been a lifelong birder and advocate for protecting our native ecosystems and was one of the original members of the River Region Bird Club.
Geneva County, Wiregrass
I love birds. I always have. No one told me to love them; I just do. I participate in Cornell Lab’s Project Feeder Watch and Nest Watch. I’m a member of the Lab, Audubon, PMCA and NABS. I’ve assisted in red-cockaded woodpecker management. I’ll be retiring in December and desire to be more involved in birding by volunteering to be an ambassador.
Tuscaloosa County, West Alabama
I have lived in Alabama my whole life, born and raised in Clay County. I have always loved the outdoors, nature, and wildlife. I started “formally” birding in the spring of 2020 but some of my earliest memories of appreciating birds are of my dad taking me outside at night to hear the barred owls and teaching me how to identify the call of a northern bobwhite. I love birding and I love Alabama’s impressive biodiversity, something many Alabama residents do not realize we have. Being an Alabama Birding Trails Ambassador is exciting because it will give me the opportunity to share my love of Alabama wildlife in hopes that more people will take the time to appreciate it.
Jefferson County, Appalachian Highlands
Birding has become one of my favorite ways to spend time in nature. It offers the opportunity to learn about birds and the specific ecosystems that they depend on. In addition, birding has been a path to meeting and interacting with new people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.