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.
Baldwin County, Coastal Alabama
Hello! My name is Leslie and I am from Fairhope, AL. I am a wife and mother of three teens, as well as the Director of Communications for an Episcopal church. My family and friends call me a bird nerd, and I am 100% ok with that. I actually love it. I am by no means a birding expert, but I have studied, listened, observed, and photographed my way to a “fairly well-educated, passionate amateur status.” During the height of the pandemic in 2020, I created a Facebook group called Feathered Fairhope. I had so enjoyed regional birding groups but realized there was not a group (at least not on social media) for my local area. My little group now boasts over 700 members! It’s a place to learn and a place to share, regardless of one’s level of knowledge. Whether it’s pointing someone to the nearest rehabber, helping to ID a bird, or sharing in the unique excitement of a male Painted Bunting arriving at my feeder for the first time, the birding community has been quite fulfilling. I love birding for so many reasons; birds are everywhere, and adding a new one to my life list is such a thrill. I love that it’s a hobby that is generally accessible to all, whether you’re hiking local trails or looking through your kitchen windows, which I often am. The colors, the sounds, the patterns of breeding and migration—they are all fascinating and provide a calming, peaceful respite from the chaos of our human lives. I would love to continue to help others discover the joyful world of birding as an Alabama Birding Trails Ambassador.
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!
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.