The 83,000 acres of the Conecuh National Forest house scores of Red-cockaded Woodpecker colonies and hundreds of Bachman’s Sparrows in the pine forests. You’ll find breeding Anhingas, Purple Gallinules, Common Moorhens, King Rails, and Least Bitterns in its wetlands, and Swallow-tailed Kites and Painted Buntings thinly scattered throughout the forest. Packed with breeding birds and a haven for wintering songbirds and waterfowl, the Conecuh deserves to be listed in the highest echelon of birding sites 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.
Frank Jackson State Park is a 2,050-acre park centered on 1,000-acre Lake Frank Jackson, and offers boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, camping, and picnicking. There are also a number of nature trails and boardwalks providing access to islands and marshy areas which hold substantial promise as for birding. Woodlands bordering the lake are mostly mature mixed hardwoods. Trails give access to songbird areas, while the forest edges attract migrants. Expect to see waterfowl and gulls on the lake in the colder months.
The Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center in the Conecuh National Forest is operated by Auburn University and hosts classes and conducts research projects throughout the year. The 5,300-acre tract offers a tremendous diversity of plants, many of which provide food and cover for birds.This is an excellent birding site. There are multitudes of pinewoods birds, including numerous Bachman’s Sparrows, and good numbers of wetland birds. Swallow-tailed Kites breed nearby. Visitors should make it a point to call ahead (334-222-7779) or stop by the HQ to secure permission before venturing out onto the acreage.