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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. It features an abundance of Snowflake hydrangeas – a selected variation of the s …
The Alexander City Sportsplex is an island of green minutes from US-280. Varied habitats promise a worthwhile birding destination. Trees here are home to resident songbirds, and provide a welcome stopover for migrants. Hawks and vultures soar above, Eastern Bluebirds nest throughout, and dense second-growth at the south end of the park is good for Indigo Buntings, sparrows, wrens, and more.
Alligator Creek Nature Trail, in 27-acre Alligator Creek Park, traverses a large forested area of mixed hardwood and pine with substantial understory. The trail, 1 mile in length, offers a boardwalk that hovers over swampy, grassy and bog-like areas, …
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.
The Arcola Boat Ramp is essentially the only public-access area in the region known collectively as the Hale County Bottoms. Look for wetland songbirds, other bottomland and wet-woods birds in the timber, and scour the marsh for American Bitterns (fall-spring) and Least Bitterns (spring through fall) as well as King Rails and Moorhens. Ospreys and eagles nest nearby, and watch for kites over the open areas in late summer. The hammock here would be a fine place to look for Painted Buntings.
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.
Backbone Boat Launch sits the banks of a creek which flows into Lake Demopolis and across from a flooded cypress slough. This small site may be easily birded in less than an hour. Prothonotary Warblers, Redstarts, Northern Parulas, and Yellow-throated Warblers are conspicuous; watch for Anhingas, Purple Gallinules, and Common Moorhens. You may see Painted Buntings here, and expect Wood Ducks, with other waders and waterfowl present in season. In late summer, Wood Storks and Swallow-tailed Kites are possibilities.
Bankhead National Forest (Site # 14, Northwest Loop) encompasses 180,000 acres of public land crisscrossed with hundreds of miles of deep canyons, providing an adventurous environment for hours or days of exploration. Habitats in the national forest ra …
Bankhead National Forest’s Sipsey Wilderness Trail (Site #15, Northwest Loop) takes the birder a step back in time with its tinkling waterfalls and moss-covered stones decorating one of the finest forests Alabama has to offer. Each spring, this verdan …
Exceptional grassland birding awaits at the State Cattle Ranch. Standout birds include Dickcissels, Loggerhead Shrikes, American Kestrels, Grasshopper and Lark sparrows, Northern Bobwhites, and Barn Owls as breeding birds. Summer waders include Wood Storks, and look for Least Bittern on the pond edges. Winter sparrows, including White-crowned, winter waterfowl, and birds of prey make this unique spot well worth a special trip.
Bashi Creek Public Use Area provides the birder with access to the floodplain forests along Bashi Creek. Canoeing/kayaking east up Bashi Creek in the spring and summer lets you immerse yourself in excellent riparian habitat; sycamore, oak, and cypress forest line both sides of the creek for several miles upstream from its confluence with the Tombigbee.
Battleship Park presents the birder with a diversity of habitat to explore and a great variety of birds to observe. Pinto Pass and the mudflats of Mobile Bay filled with waterfowl in winter and shorebirds during migration, short grass lawns for dowitchers and Black-bellied Plover, salt water marsh with herons and egrets. During low tide this area is filled with herons, egrets and occasionally ibis, especially in late summer. Black-necked Stilt may be around any time of the year and in summer, Gull-billed Tern is present.
Look for gulls and terns on the pilings in the bay and shorebirds along the shoreline. From the shoreline, walk the boardwalk to an inland marsh. Look closely for Least Bittern and Clapper Rail. During fall and winter, Virginia Rail and Sora are regular, but secretive.
The entire 900-acre complex is a bird sanctuary and there is an observation tower overlooking the Fowl River and salt marsh. Although good year-round, birding potential for neotropical migrants increases during the spring and fall months. Cruises through the waters of the Fowl River aboard the Southern Belle are available March through November.
Bells Landing Park’s 320 acres contain a variety of habitats, ranging from pine forest atop the uplands at the entrance to river bottom hardwoods along Tallatchee Creek. Continue west 0.4 miles to the parking area at the boat ramp and park.The road to …
Though known for the rare and unusual wildflowers found on the 480-acre preserve, the Bibb Glades are also good for woodland songbirds. The open, rocky glades and scrub combined with light woods makes this a good spot to find towhees, Field Sparrows, wrens, Bluebirds, and thrushes. Situated as they are on bluffs above the Little Cahaba River, the glades are a reasonably good spot for spring and fall migrants. The entrance road is bounded by open, mature pine woods. Look for Brown-headed Nuthatches, Pine Warblers, and possibly a few Bachman’s Sparrows.
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.
Bladon Springs State Park’s well maintained 357 acres are accessed by a single main road, which leads to picnic pavilions, 10 camper hookups, and 4 mineral springs. The central portion of the park is forested in open mature pines and a few hardwoods with a mowed understory, while the park’s periphery features a dense hardwood canopy with a think understory. There are good numbers of songbirds and woodpeckers (including Hairy and Pileated). Expect to see numerous Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated Warblers, Orchard Orioles, Eastern Wood-Pewees, and Summer Tanagers.
Depending on water levels and time of year, the first pond on the right (south) often offers the best conditions for viewing waterfowl like Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, and Northern Shoveler, and various shorebirds, gulls and terns. This is also one of the best places to find White-rumped and Baird’s Sandpipers in late spring.
The Mud Lakes on Blakeley Island are well known to Alabama birders as one of the best spots in South Alabama for shorebirds and waterfowl. The Island, at the western end of the Mobile Causeway, along the east side of US 90A, can be reached from either US 90 or I-10.
At the top of the dike, scan the large ponds in various stages of management; you must stay on the perimeter dikes. Best areas usually are in the northwest and southwest corners of the pond. This is a regular site for Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, where they now breed.
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.
Blue Springs State Park is a quiet, 103-acre park featuring a clear blue underground-fed spring. The natural spring has a sandy bottom, pumps 3,600 US gallons of water per minute, and stays at a constant temperature of 68 °F. The spring is now contained in several concrete pools, and swimming is permitted. Some of the best bird habitat in the park is in the thickly wooded area below the swimming pools where the springs returns to its natural channel and flows along a shallow stream bed to its junction with the Pea River, a short distance away.
Boggy Point Boat Launch, an Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources facility, offers a small beach with an excellent view of Robinson Island, a roosting site for herons and egrets, to the east. Robinson Island offers important habitat for sea birds and because of that many areas are basically off limits to humans. Robinson Island is an important nesting area for Wading Herons and Terns. This vantage point provides a viewing site for birders without disturbing the roosting site. This location also gives an alternate view of Perdido Pass.
Bon Secour Bay is found on the eastern edge of Mobile Bay and provides a protected area for wintering waterfowl and seabirds. Scan the bay and the small canal for gulls and tern. Black-crowned Night-herons may be found roosting in the oaks scattered through the area.
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.
Mobile Street is a paved road leading to the beach, with a parking area for the one-mile (each way) Gator Lake Trail, which connects Mobile Street with the Pine Beach Trail. This narrow trail can be good for winter birding where you may see Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Myrtle Warbler. This is also a good vantage point for shorebirds and waders, as well as loons and other seabirds.
At the Pine Beach trailhead stands an interpretive kiosk with trail maps and bird lists. This is a two-mile trail (each way) southeastward to the beach by way of Little Lagoon and Gator Lake. The hike is an enjoyable walk through a variety of habitats including oak mottes, sand pine scrub, fresh and saltwater marshes, dunes and beaches. The Pine Beach Trail will generally have the best birding on the refuge during migration and can also provide excellent winter birding opportunities.
The BP-Amoco Environmental Trail (Site #18, Central Loop) is situated the middle of the extensive agricultural fields that lie just west of Decatur. BP-Amoco has preserved this corner of prime woodland and marsh habitat for waterfowl and possibly rai …
Brierfield is an attractive, open, well-maintained park with restrooms, staff, a country store, picnic pavilions, rental cabins, and RV spaces. It features open, mature hardwood forest with good access points and sightlines. The park is an excellent spot for migratory songbirds in season, and for breeding and wintering birds. The wet-weather stream and the Furnace Trail are hotspots for birds, as is the edge habitat bordering the road at the far end of the park.
The Brooklyn access is the southernmost take-out for the Sepulga River Canoe Trail and the take-out for paddles from the Iron Bridge, PWBT Site 17. Bird the undergrowth at the boat ramp for Brown Thrashers, Gray Catbirds, and White-eyed Vireos. Norther …
The region around Buck’s Pocket State Park, South Sauty Creek, and Morgan’s Cove (Site # 49, Northeast Loop) provides a number of habitats worthy of exploration. The waters of South Sauty Creek are attractive to numerous migratory waterfowl, as well as …
Bull’s Gap is a ridgetop trailhead on the Pinhoti Trail in the Talladega National Forest. This makes it an excellent site for migrants in spring and fall, as well as for some notable breeding birds. Look for breeding Scarlet Tanagers, Black-throated Green Warblers, Ovenbirds, Worm-eating Warblers, and Black-and-white Warblers. This is an excellent spot for Brown-headed Nuthatches, as well as for Pileated and Hairy Woodpeckers. The ridgeline offers a good vantage point for observing soaring birds. From mid-September through early November, this area is a good hawk-watching site.
Cadillac Square and its complement of old Live Oaks, is a star attraction on Dauphin Island. Migrant warblers and other songbirds may be observed up close and personal. Black-whiskered Vireo has been a visitor in the recent past. The Live Oaks throughout this historic site are all that remain of the home of Governor Cadillac and the capital of the Louisiana Territory. Amenities include picnic tables and restrooms.
Famed for the free-flowing Cahaba River and for the rare wildflowers found here, the Cahaba River NWR is an extraordinarily good birding destination. Expect abundant riparian songbirds – Louisiana Waterthrushes, Acadian Flycatchers, Northern Parulas, Prothonotary and Yellow-throated warblers, and American Redstarts – from early spring through fall. Other woodland songbirds can be found in large numbers in the woods along the road through the refuge.
Nestled in a quiet corner of Heflin, Alabama, Cahulga Creek Park is a 176 acres of East Alabama natural beauty. Winding through the Talladega National Forest, Cahulga Creek, named for the Cane Creek Native American tribe, feeds a 100 acre watershed la …
Central Alabama Community College offers access to an open lake, scattered stands of mature hardwoods and pines, and a forested area as well as open, grassy lawns, all of which will attract their share of birdlife around the year.The lake in the center of campus merits a look for swallows, waders, orioles, and kingbirds. Nearby large pines have Brown-headed Nuthatches, Pine Warblers, and woodpeckers. The woods to the south side of the loop road are often productive, and the open pines and the wooded slope on the backside of campus are worth a look. Combine this site with a stop at nearby Sportplex.
This property is an outstanding example of short-grass habitat. There is no better place in the region to find grass sparrows (including Grasshopper in the warm months), and the fields are patrolled by Northern Harriers in the colder months. This is a prime location for Loggerhead Shrikes and American Kestrels. This is an exceptional place for Eastern Meadowlarks – their songs and calls ring out from the fields in every direction
Chambers County Lake, one of the prettiest public fishing lakes in Alabama, is a 183-acre lake worth surveying for waders, waterfowl, swallows, Ospreys, and Bald Eagles. Within the woods around Chambers County Lake, there is habitat for Prairie Warble …
Chapmans Creek is a quiet, remote public use area on scenic Lake Martin offering primitive camping, a picnic area, and a boat ramp. This is a serene birding stop characterized by mature mid- and upper-story habitat with a well-developed shrub layer, b …
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.
Cherokee Ridge has 11 miles of hiking trails, with one skirting the shoreline of Lake Martin for approximately 4 miles. Other areas of the trails are high rocky ridges and bluffs, some with vistas of six to eight miles overlooking Kowaliga Bay and Chimney Rock. Bald Eagles are regularly spotted over the lake; Wild Turkeys are abundant in the lush hardwood forests that surround the trail, as are other traditional woodland birds.
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.
Chewacla State Park’s 696 scenic acres offer a 26-acre lake, swimming area, playgrounds, hiking trails, a modern campground, picnic areas with tables, grills and shelters, and newly renovated cabins. The woods in the park are good for a variety of woodland songbirds, so be on the alert for such birds as Summer Tanagers, Wood Thrushes, and American Goldfinches. The presence of the lake and streams within the park adds significantly to the number and variety of species one may encounter here year-round.
Chickasaw State Park consists of 520+ acres, of which several acres are open mature mixed pine-oak woodland. The park has a few picnic pavilions, restrooms, a small wading pool, a playground, and several camper hook-ups. The interior of the park is forested in mature, open pines and hardwoods with little midstory and a mowed understory. There is a belt of dense, all-age woods surrounding the developed part of the park. Look for migrants and wintering songbirds, especially canopy species in all but the hottest months.
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.
Choctaw NWR is composed of over 4,000 acres of rivers, sloughs, bottomland hardwood forest, and a small amount of tall-grass cropland. Swallow-tailed and Mississippi kites, Anhingas, Purple Gallinules, Least Bitterns, King Rails, and Common Moorhens nest here, with Painted Buntings as likely breeders, too. Ospreys and Bald Eagles are a common sight, and as many as 10,000 waterfowl winter here most years. There are large numbers of Northern Parulas, American Redstarts, and Acadian Flycatchers.
Claiborne Lake Dam Site East Park’s 500 acres contain a variety of habitats. The area near the entrance is loblolly pine plantation. Park at the Alabama River Museum and bird the edges of the pines. Summer Tanagers, Pine Warblers, Indigo Buntings, and …
Great Crested Flycatchers, White-eyed Vireos, Northern Parulas, Summer Tanagers, Indigo Buntings, and Orchard Orioles are common summer residents. Check the lawn area for Common Ground Doves, and watch for Swallow-tailed and Mississippi kites either foraging just above the tree tops or soaring at high altitude. Spring and fall witness the passage of numerous migrants including Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.
The Clay County Public Fishing Lakes are attractive and open, with waders and Wood Ducks present year-round. Expect waterfowl in winter; look for Ospreys and Bald Eagles over the lakes all year. Fields near the entrance have Northern Bobwhites, Eastern Meadowlarks, Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, and Red-tailed Hawks. All-age woods around the lakes abound with songbirds. Look for swallows and Purple Martins over the water.
Cliff’s Landing is one of the best spots in Alabama (south of I-65) to view Swallow-tailed and Mississippi Kites in the spring and summer. Look for kites and other raptors across the river to the west, with best light in the morning.
Coden Belt Road provides the gull and tern lover excellent close-up views of these species on the pilings. There will be a few sandbars exposed at low tide, which may be good for shorebirds, gulls and terns. Occasionally a large flock of Black Skimmers can be viewed out over the water. Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot and Dunlin may be found in winter on the sandbars.
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.
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.
Confederate Memorial Park is a little-known jewel. The upper portion of the park features open understory and mature canopy trees — outstanding for flycatchers, woodpeckers, bluebirds, warblers, and vireos. The cemetery area affords open views of sky for soaring birds. Walk the nature trail; it is bird-rich. The area near the cistern is an outstanding location for Swainson’s Warblers and Acadian Flycatchers.
Located on the banks of the Tallapoosa River, Coon Creek Nature Preserve and Recreation Area offers access to 320 acres of pine-hardwood creek valley that feeds into Yates Lake. A one-mile Overlook Loop Trail and a four-mile Wood Duck Trail are both g …
The Coosa WMA (Wildlife Management Area) offers outstanding birding opportunities. The Double Bridges location is on Hatchet Creek at Lake Mitchell, and offers access to a trail that is currently approx. 11.0 miles long for a 22.0 mile hike in and out …
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.
Corn Creek Wilderness Park is a heavily wooded park on the banks of Corn Creek and the Coosa River. This beautiful and isolated site offers good birding opportunities. You can walk the overgrown 1+ mile of trails in the mixed pine and hardwood forest …
County Road 95 Park/Arnica Bay is a small public access point maintained by the county. Various species of wintering waterfowl may be seen. Also look for Brown-headed Nuthatch in the surrounding pines.
The Crenshaw County Public Lake is one of the state’s little-known birding jewels with gorgeous pinewood, old field, and deep-water lake habitats. The open, mature pines surrounding the lake are well-suited for Bachman’s Sparrows, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Northern Bobwhites, and Prairie Warblers. The 53-acre lake attracts waterbirds such as Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets, and in late winter, rafts of dabbling ducks may be present. Lush vegetation along the margins of the lake, and the scrubby slope between the road and the woods on the southeast side of the lake are both excellent for birds, and the woods can be extremely productive in all seasons.
The nature trail leading through the densely-forested tract at Crooked Creek Watershed Site #3 is remote and has limited access, but the potential for finding good birds here is quite high. The habitat around the 53-acre lake is hardwood-dominated and …
Cypress Cove Farm shines as an example of a small farm that is being converted from primarily agricultural use, to a site that is being actively managed for wildlife and natural resource education. It is a splendid example of many techniques and practices small rural landowners can use to attract and manage wildlife on their lands. A small spring seeps from under a hill and pools to form a pond containing numerous large, old cypress trees. Existing farm structures have be modified and used as bird blinds and educational facilities.
D’Olive Overlook provides an excellent view of the bay. In winter, check the bay for ducks and pelicans as well as wading birds year around. In addition, Peregrine Falcons are occasionally seen perching on top of the causeway light poles along I-10.
Dallas County’s Public Lake is conveniently located less than 15 minutes from Selma. It presents an excellent opportunity to see waders up close and swallows and bluebirds in large numbers. The wet woods in the back (northwest) portion of the property offer some great looks at woodland songbirds. There is substantial early second-growth habitat bordering the property, which is excellent for Chats, Prairie Warblers, Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, and many more. A good site worth a short half-day’s birding. Call (334) 874-8804 for more information. Note that the lake is closed on Mondays and all of December and January.
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 Decatur Hospitality Nature Park (Site 17, Central Loop), nearby US Highway 31 Causeway, and the Decatur Boat Harbor provide a great opportunity to scan the waters of the Tennessee River for winter waterfowl and shorebirds. This area is one of the …
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 or a family of resident Canada Geese with t …
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.
DeSoto State Park ‘s Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail (previous name-Azalea Cascades Trail) (Site #47, Northeast Loop) allows the birder to enjoy both woodland songsters-Kentucky and Hooded Warblers, Scarlet Tanagers and Yellow-throated Vireos and displ …
Dothan Area Botanical Gardens offers 50 acres of trees, shrubs and flowers in a variety of habitats. Paved paths pass through manicured lawns, a rose garden, open pine woods, mixed hardwoods, and small ponds. The gardens are easy to bird, with excellent access, and very good sight lines in most areas. This is one of the best locations in the immediate Dothan area to see spring and fall migrants, and should attract numbers of wintering songbirds.
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.
A deep-water lake surrounded by Spanish moss–draped woods, this site is a great place to look for songbirds in the surrounding woods and waders in the grassy, marshy inlets. Wetland-loving songbirds are present in the woods, swallows and waders around the lake, and occasionally shorebirds at the small retention pond. The three-mile trail surrounding the lake is well worth a visit for its convenience and the likelihood of finding good birds, especially in migration. The lake is closed Wednesdays, and December and January.
Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge offers some of the best birding to be found in Alabama. The entire refuge is a patchwork of open fields, marshes, and impoundments bounded by Lake Eufaula to one side and mixed woods on the other. Begin your visit with the Wildlife Drive, which winds through pine woods, grassy fields, and marshy areas. Although parts of the Drive are closed in winter, it is good for waterfowl, sparrows, and raptors in winter, and grassland species and some waders in the warm months. The nearby Houston and Kennedy Units, composed of marshes and sloughs and the lake itself, can be accessed by foot or bicycle, and are first-rate for wetland songbirds and waders, including bitterns and waterfowl in winter.
Fairhope Municipal Pier and Beach are good places to check for all manner of water-loving birds-gulls, terns, shorebirds and wintering waterfowl.
The Five Mile Creek Greenway, as it passes through the small historic community of Brookside, provides access to the banks Five Mile Creek for about 3 miles. The Greenway trail begins at the end of the Bensko Park parking lot and winds along via a wide, level, well-maintained path above the creek through alternating groves of mature open-understory hardwoods and more-dense hardwood and second-growth thickets along the banks of the creek.
At 1,152′ Flagg Mountain is one of the southernmost mountains along the eastern seaboard above 1,000′. It’s the symbolic southern terminus of the Appalachian Mountain Trail, stretching north to Cap Gaspe’, Quebec, Canada, and even further north across …
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.
This Corps of Engineers-maintained site is similar to most others along the Black Warrior system: boat ramp, picnic area, deep water, well maintained facilities. Expect the usual complement of riparian woodland songbirds, a few waders, and a few waterfowl in winter. Spend some time birding the pine woods and scrub along the entrance road for Chats, Prairie Warblers, White-eyed Vireos, Bobwhites, Field Sparrows, even a few Bachman’s Sparrows.
Fort Morgan is a classic migrant trap, and a birding paradise when adverse weather during spring migration may cause spectacular “fallouts” of colorful migrants. Many vagrant species find their way to this favorite birding spot, which can equal Dauphin Island in excitement. In fall, hundreds of migrating hawks can be seen moving west over the Fort. Winter produces many waterbirds and sparrows. Summer is the slowest season, but can be good for terns. There are restrooms at the ferry landing and at the museum, plus a snack bar at the ferry landing. Bird checklists are available at the museum.
Fort Toulouse-Jackson National Historic Park is situated where the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers meet to form the headwaters of the Alabama River. The park preserves relics of over 6,000 years of human history within its 165 acres of woodlands and fields bordering the two rivers. The rich riparian habitat makes this especially attractive to birds. After turning off US 231, check the fields for Eastern Meadowlarks and Northern Bobwhites – and Northern Harriers and American Kestrels in winter. The open swamp on the right of the entrance road has Anhingas and Prothonotary Warblers.
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.
Robert Fowler Memorial Park overlooks the junction of the Choctawhatchee and Pea rivers, and is home to the Constitution Oak, a Live Oak believed to be one of the oldest and largest trees in the state. A compact site that houses a surprising variety of habitats, Fowler Park is the best site in the county for woodland songbirds, grassland species, a few waders, and the possibility of Anhingas, Moorhens, and Purple Gallinules. The park includes a small cypress swamp, a number of enormous Live Oaks, and a long fencerow. Fowler Park is a great site for migrants in spring and fall and should prove a very productive site for wintering species. The park is open every day; admission is free.
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.
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 walking trail at Freedom Hills Wildlife Management Area (Site #13, Northwest Loop) is one of numerous gravel and dirt hunter access roads on the 34,500 acre WMA, which leads visitors into a variety of productive habitats ranging from old fields to …
A little bit off the beaten path but well worth the time, Frog Pond Overlook merits a visit for anyone birding in the Anniston-Gadsden area. The Frog Pond itself is situated in the Choccolocco Forest. Bird the foot path to the pond for woodland species, the pond for wetland species, and the adjacent forest for canopy birds. The Frog Pond is compact, and the immediate area can be covered in 90 minutes. Allow a good half day for the surrounding forest.
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.
The Geneva County Public Lakes are twin lakes on opposite sides of Geneva County Road 63. The east lake is very attractive and is surrounded by Longleaf Pine woodlands. This is an excellent spot for Bachman’s Sparrows, Ground Doves, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Pine and Prairie Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chats, and Eastern Towhees. The dense, wet tangles to the south could hold surprises, such as Painted Buntings. Look for nesting Mississippi Kites and Anhingas. Some waterfowl winter here.
Geneva State Forest holds more than 7,000 acres of Longleaf Pine forest with a fire-maintained open under-story. The forest’s three sections are in various stages of growth and maturity, offering a variety of birding opportunities. The open understory is home to numerous Bachman’s Sparrows, and Mississippi Kites are fairly common nesting birds, as are Painted Buntings, Common Ground Doves, Anhingas, Common Moorhens, etc. There is a large fishing lake encircled by a dirt road. Overall, this is an excellent destination for pinewoods birds.
The storied “Goat Trees” of Dauphin Island no longer shelter goats, but harbor the warblers and other songbirds that pay their twice yearly visits during migration. Tanagers, flycatchers, buntings and other songbirds may be observed.
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.
Goose Pond Colony (Site # 38, Northeast Loop) is a public recreational development built on a peninsula on the northern side of Guntersville Lake south of Scottsboro. This location makes for some excellent birding, especially during the winter. Stop a …
Gorham’s Bluff (Site #45, Northeast Loop), a planned community, rises on the southern side of Raccoon Creek, a very scenic arm of Guntersville Reservoir. The Bluff provides an incredible vista of the creek and the surrounding area, as well as exemplif …
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.
There is a small admission for sightseeing, including birding. The end of the pier is an excellent viewing point for seabirds, especially in winter. Previous Christmas Bird Counts have yielded Red Phalarope and all three scoters at this site. Northern Gannet is common offshore during the winter months.
The Gulf State Park Nature Center exhibits plants and animals that are native to the Gulf Coast region. Bird checklists are available and the naturalist on duty can give you the latest information on birds in the park.
Gulf State Park Pavilion is a large, covered picnic pavilion with tables and benches, restrooms and water fountains. The pavilion closes at sunset. This is another great place to look for seabirds, particularly in winter. Northern Gannet is common off shore during migration. Any flock of loons should be carefully studied for Red-throated and Pacific. Walk the beaches for plovers and peeps.
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 north side of Guntersville Dam is similar to the south side and also provides boat access to Painted Bluff a few miles downstream. However, the north side of the dam is usually better for viewing Bald Eagles. Active eagle nests have been seen on the ridge just northeast of the dam and in a small wet area northwest of the dam. Look for adult parents from January through April and for recently fledged juveniles in April and May.
Guntersville Dam (Site #36, Northeast Loop) impounds the 67,900-acre Guntersville Reservoir in northeastern Alabama. The Tennessee Valley Authority manages the dam for electricity production and flood control. The dam makes an excellent vantage point t …
Guntersville Peninsula (Site # 35, Northeast Loop) sits on a peninsula that juts into Guntersville Reservoir. The city has developed walking trails along the shoreline of the peninsula, providing public access to innumerable vantage points to search t …
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.
Haines Island Park’s entrance is located in a pine dominated forest atop the Buhrstone Questa (an escarpment that rises more than 350 feet above the surrounding area and extends from Mississippi across western Alabama); park at the playground and picni …
The Hays Nature Preserve (Site #30, Central Loop) hosts several miles of paved trails that follow the Flint River and its associated oxbow lakes through low riparian habitat, old fields, and a golf course. There are a total of 10 miles of trails that …
Henderson Camp Road provides the birder with opportunities for observing spring migrants. Swallow-tailed Kites have been seen foraging over freshly cut fields and flocks of Whimbrels may be found in the pastures and fallow fields on both sides of the road. Throughout the winter months American Kestrel, Loggerhead Shrike, Field Sparrow and Eastern Meadowlark are regularly encountered. In spring, Painted Bunting is occasional along fence rows.
Historic Blakeley State Park offers opportunities to tour a preserved Civil War Battlefield, visit the site of one of the oldest towns in the state, and learn about the plants and animals that inhabit Mobile Bay and the Mobile/Tensaw River Delta, along with observing wading birds and waterfowl in the Tensaw and woodland species in the mixed hardwood/pine forest.
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 boulder fields of Horse Pens 40 are a fascinating place to visit, at any time of year. The best times for birding are surely during spring and fall migration, when the elevation of the site turns the mountain into a notable migrant trap. The ridges are productive for hawk migration from September through November. Do not neglect to bird the farm and field habitat along US 231 and Ct. Clair County 35 while in the area.
Horseshoe Bend National Military Park commemorates the battle in 1814 between Colonel Andrew Jackson and the Creek Indian nation. The fields, forests, waterways and trails of Horseshoe Bend NMP offer excellent opportunities to observe birds in a variety of habitats. The bluffs overlooking the river offer stands of River Birches, with the nearby understory featuring multitudes of bird-attracting American Beautyberry bushes. Birds found in good numbers in spring and summer include Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated and Hooded Warblers, and American Redstarts, Wood Thrushes, Summer Tanagers, and Yellow-billed Cuckoos.
Blount County is the “Covered Bridge Capital of Alabama” with three bridges: Horton Mill, Swann, and Easley. All of the bridges are set in habitat rich with the three factors that are of ultimate importance to wildlife: food, water, and shelter. Horton Mill is the most accessible of the three and is the only one with a dedicated nature trail. The nature trail follows Calvert Prong and hosts a hundred plant species, including 27 fern species.
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.
Hurricane Creek Park (Site #32, Central Loop) is known for its scenic deep canyon, which is heavily wooded with mature hardwoods. The park offers a number of trails, leading birders through a landscape crisscrossed by streams and waterfalls. As you wal …
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.
This is the put-in for a 7.5-mile paddle down the Sepulga River to the Brooklyn take-out (Piney Woods Birding Trail [PWBT] site 18 and southern terminus of the Sepulga River Canoe Trail). Second growth river bottom hardwood forest with a good bit of cy …
Much of the 84-acre Washington County Public Lake is surrounded by mixed second-growth forest with dense underbrush. Anhingas, wading birds, Ospreys, and Bald Eagles are regular visitors to the lake. Orchard Orioles, Purple Martins, and Barn Swallows nest in the picnic area. Brown-headed Nuthatches, Hooded Warblers, and Eastern Towhees are found in the pines and underbrush.
Purple Gallinules, Snowy and Great egrets, Little Blue Herons, and Wood Ducks are regulars along the dikes separating the ponds. Watch the willows in the western pond for Yellow-crowned Night-Herons. Black Terns and Swallow-tailed Kites may be present in late summer, and American Bitterns are winter residents.
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.
Jennings Ferry is a pleasant island of hospitality on the banks of the Black Warrior River. Mature trees ringing the parking areas are good for songbirds from fall through spring, and there is a well-maintained nature trail loop through the southern end of the reservation. Look for swallows over the river in the warmer months, and waders around the impounded lake to the south.
Joe Wheeler State Park (Site #3, Northwest Loop) is complete with extensive facilities, including a resort lodge, restaurant, and marina. The park provides access to the north side of Wheeler Lake and the associated backwaters, which are often good for …
Jones Bluff Park is an extremely productive and diverse area. Everything from gulls to sparrows can be found here, owing in large part to the highly diverse habitats. The trail bordering the Alabama River is a great place to view riparian birds, from R …
Jones Bluff Powerhouse / Robert F. Henry Dam has surprisingly good birding owing in no small part to the variety of habitats. This is one of the best places in the region to see wading birds, shorebirds, gulls and terns in the wetland areas, with exce …
Key Cave National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) (Site# 9, Northwest Loop) has large open fields managed for warm-season native grasses interspersed with small patches of deciduous woodland and the seasonal sinkhole wetland. The refuge is gradually being conver …
Bird the hardwoods within the RV park and the understory around its margins for Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Downy Woodpeckers, and Great Crested Flycatchers. Then canoe Kimbell Lake and the tupelo and bald cypress swamps that surround it. In spring and early summer, multiple pairs of Red-bellied and Pileated woodpeckers fill the air with a cacophony of calls and drumming. Northern Parulas, Prothonotary Warblers, and Common Yellowthroats announce their presence with their distinctive and easily recognizable songs. Great Egrets and Great Blue and Little Blue herons stalk the swamps. And be sure to listen for the distinctive two-syllable “Na-ha” call of the Fish Crow.
Kudzu Cove is located on Buck Island in Guntersville, AL. It began as a rental cabin property that has several cabins available to rent. Over time amenities have been added to make the property a truly special place. Three fishing ponds are available f …
Kymulga Grist Mill was built around 1860 for grinding both wheat and corn. The covered bridge, spanning Talladega Creek, was built the same year, The park is primarily a wooded area, with walking trails through the woods and along the creek. Protected from disturbance for more than 70 years, over twenty-five varieties of hardwood trees have been identified, including the largest Sugarberry tree in Alabama and the largest cluster of White Oak trees east of the Mississippi River. The park is a migrant magnet in spring and fall. Work the stream and the adjacent woodland trails in the early morning and late afternoon, when bird activity is at its peak and when migrants are arriving or departing.
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 Harris sits at the end of a long, winding dirt road. The early second-growth habitat along Lake Harris Road is far more productive for birds than is the lake itself. Expect to see bluebirds, Bobwhites, turkeys, towhees, goldfinches, Chats, Prairie Warblers, Yellowthroats, Field and Chipping sparrows, and more. The lake could produce long-legged waders, some shorebirds and swallows, and a few wintering waterfowl.
Lake Livingston in Sumter County and the system of nearby trails constitute one of southwest Alabama’s most outstanding birding sites. The 54-acre lake attracts waders, swallows (warmer months) and some waterfowl (colder months). The extensive series of trails pass along the lake’s banks, through mature forest, by second-growth and scrub, and eventually through wonderfully restored Black Belt prairie grasslands. This unmatched variety of habitats provides for a long list of birds. There is potential for a series of lengthy hikes here. A half day is a short visit; it would be easy to spend a full day and never get bored.
A large, well-visited park with staff, Lake Lurleen features a huge deep-water lake, extensive parking areas, and picnic areas under massive pines. Look for migrants in the forested areas in spring and fall, hundreds of swallows – mostly Cliff – and easy-to-find songbirds such as Eastern Bluebirds, Brown-headed Nuthatches, and (from spring through fall) Northern Parulas, Pine and Yellow-throated warblers, kingbirds, and Orchard Orioles. Look for gulls and waterfowl in winter, and a few waders throughout the year.
Lake Nicol is an attractive, easily accessible, well-maintained, and popular wooded park on a substantial lake. It draws many local visitors, so the best birding is achieved on weekdays, early or late in the day, and days when traffic should be less than peak. Look for pine-woods birds all year, a few waders and shorebirds, migrant songbirds in spring and fall, and a few ducks and geese in winter.
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.
Tuskegee City Lake is a delight—a pleasant medium-sized lake located just off a major thoroughfare.Used by locals primarily as a picnic destination and for bank and small-boat fishing, you’ll find lots of swallows and flycatchers and some waterfowl and gulls in winter. There are waders year-round, but they’re most prevalent in summer and fall. Allow a few minutes to simply scan the entire site from near the (abandoned) HQ building, a couple of hours to take the lake loop and bird the site in earnest.
Lakepoint Resort State Park is situated on the shoreline of Lake Eufaula, and offers a marina, lodge, golf course, meadows, pine woods, grassy fields, and water treatment lagoons. You can find birds ranging from Eastern Bluebirds and Dark-eyed Juncos to nesting Ospreys, Bald Eagles, and Brown-headed Nuthatches. There are also waders, shorebirds, and wintering waterfowl. Located a short distance from Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge, Lakepoint Resort State Park is a great place to stay while exploring this key birding area.
A 68-acre lake surrounded by open pine woods, Lamar County Fishing Lake offers birding opportunities around the year. Both woodland species and long-legged waders can usually be found, as well as breeding Barn and Rough-winged swallows and other summer breeders. Spring and fall may offer good opportunities for unusual migrants, and some migratory waterfowl may visit in the winter.
Landmark Park is a 135-acre park built to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of southeast Alabama’s Wiregrass Region. For nature-lovers, walks around the elevated boardwalk and nature trails, planetarium shows, and wildlife exhibits offer ways to explore science and nature. Birding opportunities can be found throughout the park, which has three major sections: the upland farm and village section, a middle ground that contains upland hardwood forest with multiple walking trails, and a lowland section that features an elevated boardwalk around a wetland and through a heavily wooded bottomland.
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.
The Leighton ponds (Site #5, Northwest Loop) sites are a series of sinkholes and semi-flooded agricultural fields that are excellent for waders and shorebirds. Scan the muddier areas for resident Killdeer alongside migrants such as Semipalmated Plovers …
Leon Brooks Hines Lake is a 184-acre man-made lake surrounded by more than 700 acres of long-leaf pine forest that is subjected to regular burns. There are also some small hardwood stands, and a pitcher plant bog is located at the north end of lake. Although there are no hiking trails as such, there are poorly maintained access roads in the forest almost all of the way around the lake that can be birded. A US Forest Service sponsored Red-cockaded Woodpecker restoration project is active around the lake.
Lillian Swamp encompasses nearly 3,000 acres managed for conservation by the ADCNR State Lands Division and hosts a variety of habitats representative of the lower Coastal Plain. At any time of year, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, Brown Thrasher and other resident species are common in the piney uplands and adjacent thickets.
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). A Roseate Spoonbill is sometimes spotted here in summer. The City of Alabaster has recently added a handicapped-accessible Birding Observation Deck overlooking 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 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.
Little Lagoon hosts a fair number of shorebirds, gulls, terns, Brown Pelican and, occasionally, American White Pelican. Chances to see rarities increase during migration. Reddish Egret occurs here regularly. Birding is usually best around low tide.
The Little River Canyon Center, open since 2009, is a Jacksonville State University building located in Northeast Alabama that adjoins the Little River Canyon National Preserve in the city of Fort Payne, AL. The Canyon Center is a good resource to visi …
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.
As you drive along the rim of this incredibly scenic canyon, listen in the open fields for Yellow-breasted Chats and Prairie Warblers. Farther down in the canyon, Yellow-throated Warblers and Red-eyed Vireos can be heard calling from below while Rough-winged Swallows and Chimney Swifts frolic overhead.
Little River State Forest is a 960-acre park that includes 25-acre manmade Blacksher Lake and 4.7 miles of hiking trails. The unpaved 1.5-mile Gazebo Road parallels the Gazebo Trail and offers an alternative to the Gazebo hike. Birding the grounds around the picnic area and lake will produce a number of open woodland species such as Brown-headed Nuthatches, Eastern Bluebirds, Pine Warblers, and Northern Cardinals year-round. Winter brings flocks of American Robins, Chipping Sparrows, and American Goldfinches. Pied-billed Grebes winter on the lake.
Live Oak Cemetery in Selma is a stunning image of the old south with row upon row of massive live oaks draped in Spanish moss. The oaks hold good numbers of breeding birds – from Red-shouldered and Cooper’s hawks to warblers, vireos, Summer Tanagers, and various flycatchers. Winter brings many sparrows to the open understory, and mixed-species feeding flocks of songbirds. A visit here shouldn’t require more than a couple of hours.
This site overlooks the Cahaba River and incorporates a small lake. The area is an excellent location for migrant songbirds, and an great selection of local breeding species. The property boasts an unusually high density of Louisiana Waterthrushes, Acadian Flycatchers, and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.
One of several similar recreation areas along the Black Warrior, Lock 5 is a small park with ample parking, restrooms, a picnic area, boat ramp, and mixed-age hardwood and pine woodlands. The site is good for spring and fall migrants, breeding songbirds – many Prothonotary Warblers and Parulas. The broad walking trail that parallels the river affords very good sight lines.
Logan Martin Dam is notable for being one of the premier locations in the state for viewing wading birds, particularly Black-crowned Night Herons. Waders in large numbers are attracted to the rough water just below the dam, where an abundance of fish are always available near the rocky shoreline. It is also reliable for year-round sightings of Bald Eagles.
The Kreher Preserve and Nature Center (KPNC) is a 120-acre track, comprising seven natural habitats, including special points of interest such as the Longleaf Pine Demonstration Forest, Wildflower Trail, Boulder Ridge, Butterfly and Vegetable Gardens, Hidden Falls, Turtle Pond, and the old Homestead. There are four cover types found on the property including pine, oak/hickory, bottomland hardwood, and mixed pine/hardwood.
Madison County Public Lake (Site # 28, Central Loop) is best known for its fishing, but it also serves as an excellent introduction to northern Alabama’s birdlife. Scan the lake for wintering waterfowl or perhaps a family of resident Canada Geese and t …
Magnolia Springs Landfill is a county landfill–ninety-nine percent of the gulls utilizing the landfill in winter are comprised of Laughing, Ring-billed, and Herring Gulls, but rarities like Franklin’s, Thayer’s, Iceland, Lesser Black-backed, and Glaucous Gulls are all additional possibilities. American Pipits (winter), Fish Crows and both vultures are also regular. In January 2009, a Snow Bunting was seen, accounting for the first state record.
The 1,483-acre Mallard Fox Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) (Site # 1, Northwest Loop) along the southern shore of Wheeler Lake provides access to a number of habitats, including grasslands, agricultural fields, wildlife openings, and hardwood fore …
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 …
A level .4 mile stroll from a small parking lot, the mounds are at the end of a path bounded by open-row crop fields to the east and south, and wooded streams to the east and north. Birds at the mound site are decidedly suburban (cardinals, mockingbirds, Blue Jays, Carolina Wrens) and those found during migration (Summer Tanagers, cuckoos, Catbirds, White-eyed Vireos, Indigo Buntings) are more interesting. This park makes for a pleasant walk and a good partner site to a visit to the public lake 5 minutes away. Look for soaring hawks over the fields, and sparrows, pipits, and perhaps Horned Larks in the fields in winter.
A pleasant way to spend a few hours, the lake is moderate in size, with open, tall pines along its borders. There is considerable dense second-growth bordering the entrance road and all around the margins of the property. This is a good place to find swallows and pine-woods birds, and there is also good dense second-growth for under- and mid-story dwelling birds. Kingfishers, swallows (including Tree), Parulas, and Pine and Yellow-throated warblers are common here. You will see Indigo Buntings; Wood Thrushes; Hooded, Kentucky, and Black-and-white warblers; Summer Tanagers; cuckoos; and several flycatchers and woodpeckers. The lake is closed in December and January.
McDuffie Landing, a 116-acre tract of land owned by the US Corps of Engineers, is currently open only for hunting and bird watching. A written permit is required for entry. Permits are free of charge and are issued annually after September 1. They may …
Meaher State Park’s 1.327 acres are situated in the wetlands of Mobile Bay. There are two boardwalks that offer the visiting birder an extensive view of the Bay. Winter time brings in American White Pelicans and waterfowl, while in other seasons, a wide variety of wading birds, gulls and terns may be observed.
The best viewing at the Mobile Bay Mudflats is during low tide when the mudflats are exposed. This is a good place to look for herons, egrets and Boat-tailed Grackles any time of year. An assortment of sandpipers and plovers are regular during spring and fall migration. During high tide in winter, American Coot and waterfowl are regular.
The Mobile-Tensaw Delta Wildlife Management Area is comprised of a variety of habitats-from flooded hardwood bottoms to freshwater marshes. Red-shouldered Hawk, Prothonotary Warbler and Northern Parula are some of the species seen during the breeding season. During summer months, Swallow-tailed Kites may be observed flying just above treeline.
The Monroe County Lake is a 94-acre man-made lake with an unpaved access road on its east and south sides. Upland loblolly pine forest surrounds the lake on three sides. A hardwood swamp extends north from the lake up its main tributary. Drive (walk) n …
Monte Sano State Park (Site #29, Northeast Loop) 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 hardwo …
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.
Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge protects the largest stand of mature Longleaf Pines north of the state’s coastal plain. Home to the elusive Bachman’s Sparrow, the Refuge is also known for its abundance of Brown-headed Nuthatches, and large coveys of Wild Turkeys. The mountain ridge is great for spring and fall migrants, and an excellent hawk-watching spot in fall.
Mud Creek Wildlife Management Area (Site #42, Northeast Loop) has numerous impoundments that are likely to turn up a great variety of species. Access roads leading into the area also make Mud Creek easy to bird. Check the ponds in fall and winter for d …
The Muddy Creek Wetlands Management Area consists of 200 acres of restored wetlands and adjacent uplands managed by the Alabama State Port Authority to mitigate for construction impacts on the Theodore Channel. In cooperation with the Alabama Department of Corrections, restoration actions included clearing rubbish, removing invasive, non-native plants, replanting over 20,000 native trees and shrubs, erecting 80 nest boxes and building an extensive trail system.
Mullet Point County Park provides an excellent view of the bay from an elevated perspective. This has been a good site in the winter for waterfowl. Surf and Black Scoters have been seen here in the cold weather months.There is ample parking, portable restrooms and picnic facilities.
Murphy Hill was supposed to be developed as a power plant. Fortunately for both birds and birders, these plans fell through and the area now hosts a huge variety of habitats ripe for exploration. As you walk through open areas, listen for Yellow-breast …
Colbert Ferry (Site #12, Northwest Loop) provides access to a number of wooded habitats, including a beaver pond with lots of standing dead timber. Check this area for Red-headed and other woodpeckers. Closer to the shore, search the trees for White-b …
Rock Springs Nature Trail (Site #10, Northwest Loop) winds through an idyllic wooded area from Colbert Creek to Rock Springs (approximate 20-minute walk). The creek is intermittently dammed by beavers, creating an impressive wetland abounding with a va …
Neely Henry Dam on the Coosa River offers great opportunities to observe a variety of water-loving birds. Winter brings gulls (mostly Ring-billed, some Bonaparte’s and Herring, rarely Glaucous, Lesser Black-backed, etc.) and a few Forster’s Terns, primarily over the deep waters above the dam. Colonies of Barn Swallows and Cliff Swallows build their mud nests on the dam structure, and activity is intense from late March to September. This is also a peak time to observe large numbers of wading birds.
North Sauty Creek (Site #39, Northeast Loop) has an excellent display of waterfowl and wading birds that occupy the area. Park on the roadside and scan the creek for waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds, especially during migration or in the winter. …
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.
The Old Cahawba Prairie Preserve in Dallas County adjoins the historic Old Cahawba Archaeological Park, site of the state’s first capitol. The 3,000+ acres preserve substantial black-belt prairie habitat, and include native grasslands and pine-plantation forest. The Old Cahawba Prairie abuts the Cahaba River and includes portions of Big Swamp Creek. Expect a mixture of grassland birds, such as sparrows, buntings, and Blue Grosbeaks, second-growth lovers, such as Chats and Prairie Warblers, and pine forest denizens, such as Brown-headed Nuthatches and Pine Warblers.
Old Creek Town Park, on the shores of Lake Eufaula, is a recreational park featuring a beach area, picnic area and pavilion, a children’s “Playground of Dreams,” ball fields, a fishing pier, and boat landing. This well-wooded 205-acres park is also an interesting mix of easy-to-access habitats and can yield excellent looks at a good number of species in a short time. Loggerhead Shrikes breed here. Ospreys, Anhingas, and good varieties of waders, swallows, and numerous songbirds are generally present and active. Be sure to check out all the habitats – grassy fields, inlets, deep-water lake, and hardwood and pine forests – to maximize your sightings.
Mature cottonwoods cover much of the meander core, while willows and some small cypress occur at the water’s edge. Birding is excellent year-round and spring and fall can bring a wide variety of migrants. Winter brings Bald Eagles, House Wrens, and Orange-crowned Warblers. Ospreys and Caspian Terns frequently fish the waters below the dam during migration.
There are two sections to this recreation area. To the south is a more park-like development with a camping area and a few picnic tables. The northern section is a parking lot overlooking the river and a boat ramp. A general mix of woodland songbirds are found here, most notably many Prothonotary Warblers, Northern Parulas (both sections), and Louisiana Waterthrushes (southern portion). Consider combining this stop with the nearby Eutaw Airport for field and pinewoods birds.
Vastly similar to other such parks along the Black Warrior River, Lock 8 offers deep river, mixed woods along the banks, a picnic shed, and a boat ramp. Good for Northern Parulas and Prothonotary and Yellow-throated warblers. You will find woodland migrants in the thicker woods, and look for Swainson’s Warblers in swamps near the entrance. Vultures and sometimes eagles roost in pines on the riverbank.
Extensive marsh in the east and southwest parts of the old quarry, now lake and cypress swamp southwest of the old quarry will be of particular interest to birders. Shore birds observed on the margins of the lake include Least Bitterns, Soras, Least and Spotted sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs, and Killdeer.
These two riverfront parks offer nesting Anhingas, Common Moorhens, Mississippi Kites, and multiple wetland-loving songbirds. Omussee Creek and the West Bank Dam Recreation Area make a very fine half-day jaunt and couple well with Chattahoochee State Park, just 20 minutes south along AL 95.
The 73-acre Opelika Wood Duck Heritage Preserve and Siddique Nature Park was created from a nutrient-rich intentional wetland owned by the city of Opelika, with an additional 7 acres of land including an old home-site. The park has become home to a sig …
Palisades Park is an outstanding birding destination throughout the year. Its altitude – the highest point for miles in any direction – makes it a good place to see migrant songbirds in spring and fall. Sitting atop a rocky ridge, it overlooks Oneonta …
Birding around the Parker Lake boat ramp can be productive, but a canoe or kayak is needed to fully enjoy this site. Paddling slowly through the twilight of the dense tupelo and bald cypress forest that lines the margins of the lake in spring and summe …
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.
Payne Lake is a productive site for woodland and riparian birds in all but the dead of summer. Open, mature trees near the lake are excellent for riparian songbirds. The pinewoods slopes along the road to the north have Bobwhites and turkeys. Look for Bald Eagles around the lake, and Swainson’s Warblers, Acadian Flycatchers, Louisiana Waterthrushes, and cuckoos along the nature trail to the extreme north.
Check the jetties for shorebirds, gulls and terns. Black- bellied Plover and Ruddy Turnstone are common. Marbled Godwit and Red Knot are fairly regular in spring along the shore. Bobolinks frequent the field and underbrush between the road and the fort during migration.
Perdido Pass/Alabama Point East is part of Gulf State Park and consists of beach and sea oat habitat where there are opportunities for bird observation, fishing, and viewing both Perdido Pass and the Gulf of Mexico. (Formerly Florida Point when the sta …
At Perdido Pass / Alabama Point-West, rock jetties extend a considerable distance out into the Gulf on this side and can be accessed by walking west along the beach. The birder then may observe the winter seabirds that may be in the area, such as scoters, loons and phalarope.
One of Alabama’s premier birding sites, Perry Lakes and the State Fish Hatcheries are worth a visit any day of the year. Alot at least a half day to sample the full site: woodland songbirds abound in the hardwood bottomlands at Perry Lakes, while the hatcheries feature a variety of waders, shorebirds, swallows (spring to fall), and even a smattering of ducks and geese in winter. The landscape is flat and the entire acreage can be easily traversed with minimal effort. Do not miss the opportunity to experience the view from the 100-foot-high birding tower, which offers eye-to-eye views of songbirds, as well as excellent views of soaring raptors. The gated recreation area is open at no charge from sunrise to sunset.
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.
This is an extensive recreation area that stretches from a picnic area and small boardwalk to a campground complex 2.5 miles down the road. Visitors can follow the road a few more miles to reach the west side of the Bevill Lock and Dam. You’ll find many different habitat types here: early second-growth, open park-like pine-oak woodlands, riverbanks, and the lock and dam. The numerous habitats attract a great variety of birds, and some very interesting ones, too, such as Anhingas and Wood Thrushes.
The 45-acre Pike County Public Fishing Lake is quiet and peaceful, with low levels of noise and disturbance to the lake and its encircling woods. There is a wooden fishing pier on the lake’s north bank that seems to be in good repair and what remains of a picnic area on the clay banks above the pier.
Porter’s Gap is an access point to the Pinhoti Trail, a ridge-line trail linking Alabama and Georgia . The trailhead area provides high elevations for viewing unusual breeding birds nearing the southern end of their range (Scarlet Tanagers, Black-throated Green Warblers, and Ovenbirds), as well as for migrant songbirds in spring and fall. A north-easterly walk along the Pinhoti Trail eventually takes the visitor to a riparian habitat where Northern Parula Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrushes, and Yellow-throated Warblers breed.
Prairie Creek Campground is an Army Corps facility that sits along the Alabama River in northern Lowndes County. The entrance road features grassy meadows, while most of the accessible areas of the campground are forested in mature hardwoods hung with Spanish moss. There are several good vantage points for the river along the paved park road, and there are short trails to walk through the woods. Birds here range from warblers, vireos, tanagers, orioles, woodpeckers, and thrushes in the woods to waders along the river’s edge. You’ll also find meadowlarks, bluebirds, kingbirds, and shrikes along the entrance road. A couple of hours should be sufficient to bird the park.
The Oakmulgee Division of the Talladega National Forest contains the state’s largest population of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. The birds nest and forage exclusively in stands of open, mature pines, where they are easiest to find early and late in the day. The best season is spring, when adult birds are near their nests much of the day. Bachman’s Sparrows are found in the same or similar habitat, and numerous songbirds are found here, both in the pine forest and in nearby tracts of hardwoods. This is an extremely productive area – well worth a special trip.
The Henry Dam on the Alabama River in northern Lowndes County is a “must-see” stop for birders in the area, as it provides extensive grasslands, rocky shoals below the dam’s spillway, and a deep-water impoundment above the dam – habitats difficult to find elsewhere in the area. Loggerhead Shrikes are permanent residents, and the fields are exceptionally good for spotting sparrows – expect to see Vesper, Song, and Savannah in winter; Swamp Sparrows nearer the river. Northern Harriers and Kestrels hunt the fields from fall through spring, and look for the occasional Short-eared Owl in winter. Gulls are seen near the dam in the colder months, waders are seen below the dam throughout the year and the scattered shade trees harbor orioles and flycatchers in season. An hour or two at the site should be sufficient to build a good list of birds.
The Rockpile Recreation Area (Site 7, Northeast Loop) sits at the base of Wilson Dam. This area provides basic camping and picnicking facilities in a wooded setting along the edge of Pickwick Reservoir. Woodlands in the park attract numerous songbirds, …
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.
Roland Cooper State Park is a lovely, wooded lakeside park in rural Wilcox County, which gained a measure of fame as one of the state’s first Bald Eagle nesting sites as the species began its comeback. Eagles are still present much of the year. The park is also home to many Wild Turkeys, Pileated Woodpeckers, and numerous species associated with bottomland woods and lakes. After a two-hour visit to Roland Cooper, take the scenic ferry ride across the River to visit Gee’s Bend, and then Chilatchee Park 15 minutes up the road.
Round Island Recreation Area (Site #22, Central Loop) provides access to the north side of the Tennessee River and an excellent vantage point for viewing winter waterfowl as well as cormorants, loons, and grebes. The pine woodland that surrounds the c …
The Roy B. Whitaker Paint Rock River Preserve (Site # 40, Northeast Loop) was a working farm until Mr. Whitaker, wishing that future generations be able to enjoy the farm he loved so much, sold it to The Nature Conservancy who now manages it for conser …
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 Ruffner Mountain Wetlands are a series of small marshes and ponds, traversed by a boardwalk and trail, located on the other side of the mountain from the Ruffner Mountain Nature Center. This new wetland area provides visitors to the steep, hilly terrain of the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve a chance to look for birds in an entirely different type of habitat.
Runaway Branch Park has two segments – called RP I and RP II – that bound the same body of water from the east and west. Expect the water to draw spring and fall migrants and riparian-type breeding birds. Look for both kites and Wood Storks in summer, and waterfowl in winter.
Russell Cave National Monument has been home to wildlife and man for thousands of years. This peaceful setting combines food, water, and shelter with tranquility and beauty. Following the elevated boardwalks and nature trails can lead to eastern woodla …
Located in Homewood along Lakeshore Parkway, the Shades Creek Greenway (Lakeshore Trail) is a three-mile-long multi-use trail offering a scenic oasis just yards away from busy Lakeshore Parkway. Meandering along the floodplain forest by Shades Creek, t …
Gray Kingbird is possible at the Shelby Lake Picnic Grounds during the summer months and large numbers of transient Black Terns are often observed flying along the Lake Shelby’s edge in late summer.
Shell Creek Park and East Bank Park are twin sites that straddle the Dannelly Reservoir along the Alabama River in Wilcox County. Shell Creek is best noted for a large, active Osprey nest and substantial early second-growth woods along the entrance road. East Bank Park is better for waders and waterfowl, and the southwest corner harbors nesting Least Bitterns. The parks are compact, and neither requires more than 90 minutes to survey. Include these sites as stops along a loop that should include Chilatchee Creek, Gee’s Bend, and Roland Cooper State Park.
Explore the trails through the mounds, which are ancient Indian shell middens. The ancient live oaks provide the insects and cover that neotropical migrants depend on at their first landfall. It is not unusual to see 20 species of warblers here on a good day. Check the information box at the north side of the mounds for recent bird sightings and a bird card for the island.
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.
Bobwhites, Eastern Towhees, and Northern Cardinals can be seen year-round, while White-eyed Vireos, Hooded Warblers, and Indigo Buntings are present in the spring and summer. Cerulean Warblers and Scarlet Tanagers may be found during migration, and Yellow-throated Vireos, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Northern Parulas are summer residents.
Skyline Wildlife Management Area (Site # 41, Northeast Loop) is an extensive tract of wild lands in northeastern Alabama, which hosts the state’s only population of Ruffed Grouse. This carefully managed area also supports older hardwood forests utiliz …
Smith Mountain is a prominent hill rising much higher than surrounding terrain. Located on a peninsula extending into Lake Martin, it offers a 270 degree view of the lake. Atop the mountain is a historic fire tower built in the 1930s and used for dec …
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.
The campus of Southern Union Community College is relatively compact, and all areas are easily accessible. The entrance to the college is dominated by massive mature pine trees and tall hardwoods. There is no significant understory and little midstory, …
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.
Staples Bridge (US Highway 84) is the take-out for the most popular paddle on the Sepulga River Canoe Trail. It is also the put-in for the 13.4-mile paddle to the Iron Bridge (PWBT site 17). The paddle to the Iron Bridge is long and without amenities o …
Stevenson Town Park (Site #43, Northeast Loop) sits on the east side of Crow Creek. The park provides an excellent vantage point from which to scan the open water of the reservoir for Common Loons and Horned Grebes, as well as a variety of waterfowl. During times of low water, look for shorebirds and herons […]
Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area (Site # 21, Central Loop) on the Tennessee River is managed for waterfowl and small game, although it supports many more species. Mudflats can be covered with shorebirds, serving as a key attraction to this area in t …
Swift Creek Park on Lake Woodruff offers access to 225 acres of bottomland hardwood forest and wetlands along the banks of Swift Creek, where it joins the Alabama River. This is a low-traffic site, used primarily as a boat ramp. Forest trails lead t …
The Talladega Mountains Natural Resource Center (a partnership between Jacksonville State University, the Cleburne County Commission and the Talladega National Forest) opened in November, 2012. The Mountain Center houses the JSU Field Schools and acts …
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 Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Reservation (Site #8, Northwest Loop) hosts a number of walking trails that meander through woodlands, fields, and along the Tennessee River. The Tennessee Valley Authority Reservation is one of the few reliable are …
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 Pines provide the best open view of Bon Secour Bay to the north. If it is a good winter for ducks (cold enough in the North to force them south) there can be large rafts of waterfowl and grebes. Long-tailed Duck and scoters have been observed from this point.
The Yates Lake Forever Wild Tract offers excellent woodland birding along the shores of the Tallapoosa River. Visitors can access a variety of woodland and riparian habitats via several miles of hiking trails. Spring and Fall seasons offer great oppo …
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.
Town Creek Marsh (Site #4, Northwest Loop) is a small marsh in the bend of Fosters Mill Road overlooking Town Creek. It is an excellent place to see rails feeding on the mudflats during appropriate times of year. The marsh also supports a variety of wa …
This site is the northernmost put-in for the 29-mile-long Sepulga River Canoe Trail and the starting point for an 8-mile paddle down the Sepulga River to Staples Bridge on US Highway 84 (PWBT Site 16). Under normal conditions, this paddle is classified …
Abundant water and vegetation define Turkey Creek Nature Preserve. An excellent site for songbirds and raptors, the preserve is worth a visit in all times of the year, except for weekends during the summer, when it is likely to be crowded. The park teems with flycatchers, warblers, vireos, tanagers, and more. Watch for mixed-species feeding flocks in winter.
Located in the Talladega National Forest, Turnipseed Camp is an excellent addition to birding in nearby Cheaha State Park. It provides a nice stop for woodland songbirds, and is easily reached via the Talladega Scenic Byway. This small, rustic campg …
Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds are attracted year-round to the diamond leaf and water oak, tupelo, and bald cypress that grow in the wetlands. Brewer’s Blackbirds join them in the winter. Belted Kingfishers are a common sight on Big Escambia Creek as are Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, and Green Herons. Mississippi Kites forage just above the tree tops in spring and summer, and the occasional Osprey may be seen during spring and fall migration.
Tuskegee National Forest is the nation’s smallest in the national forest system. At 11,252 acres, it is small enough to survey in a day, yet large enough to contain a remarkable variety of habitats. Much of the land is in various stages of early to late second-growth forest, cut through with good roads and extensive trails. Look for scrub and grassland birds in the cutovers, riparian birds in the flood plains, and woodland species along the trails.
The single best location in Tuscaloosa for songbirds, the arboretum is a “must-see” for birders. Best in spring and fall migration, it is also a valuable resource for wintering birds. Easily accessed and compact enough to cover in less than half a day, this is the spot to find warblers, vireos, tanagers, orioles, woodpeckers, and sparrows on all but the hottest days of summer.
French Lake is located on the Clearwater Forever Wild Tract and features an access point into the vast Mobile-Tensaw Delta system via the Bartram Canoe Trail managed by the ADCNR State Lands Division. Several featured trails start from this launch offering great opportunities to experience the natural wonders of the Delta.
Village Point Park (70 acres) is the largest park in the city of Daphne and provides the birder with a mixture of habitats-marsh, salt water bay, woodlands and several ways to observe them- a 3,000- foot main trail that takes visitors westward toward Mobile Bay and an extensive boardwalk and pier. Waders, ducks, and woodland species may be observed and Bald Eagle is not uncommon.
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.
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.
The Walter F. George Lock and Dam is a vast reservation offering a sampler of southeast Alabama birding habitats at several different locations. There is the Lock and Dam complex at the Georgia state line, with deep water for winter birds and a sod farm next door for shorebirds – the best such site in the Wiregrass region. Then there are four additional recreation areas, all open woods with water frontage, for woodland songbirds and a few waders. Add in the farm and field habitat along the drive from Eufaula and this adds up to over 25 miles of interesting and diverse birding through 3+ seasons.
The town of Waterloo (Site #11, Northwest Loop) sits a few miles west of the Natchez Trace Parkway in northwestern Alabama. The area is renowned for the concentration of Bald Eagles that congregate here in the winter months. Sightings of half a dozen …
Wedowee Kiwanis Park offers several distinctly different habitats in a relatively compact site. The park is heavily wooded, predominately in hardwoods. The entrance road, lined in mid-sized hardwoods may produce a few songbirds, particularly in migrat …
The Visitor Center is only a short distance from the highway and provides restrooms, bird checklists and other informative material. Inquire here about recent sightings. Explore along the boardwalk leading to an observation platform viewing Weeks Bay.
The Wehle Forever Wild Tract offers excellent bird diversity with over 170 species currently documented on the property. Two hiking trail loops provides easy access to multiple habitats including fire-maintained open pine-grassland savanna, a forested pond, and expansive bottomland hardwood forest corridors along a creek floodplain.
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.
Easily surveyed in a couple of hours, Coke Ovens Park is a worthwhile stop near the Cahaba National Wildlife Reserve, the Bibb Glades, and Living River. In addition to customary woodland canopy birds and open county species such as Eastern Kingbirds and Bluebirds, the major attraction is the small stream that parallels the park’s primary N-S road; which provides opportunities to see Swainson’s Warblers and Acadian Flycatchers up close.
The West End of Dauphin Island is a birder’s paradise, particularly for shorebirds and other waterbirds. Least Tern, Snowy and Wilson’s Plover use the area close to the parking lot as nesting habitat. Large numbers of gulls, terns, shorebirds and waders fill the sand flats at low tide. Occasionally, a Peregrine Falcon will swoop in for a meal and loons and bay ducks may be seen floating in the Sound.
Completed in 1936, Wheeler Dam (Site #2, Northwest Loop) was the first Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) hydroelectric dam on the Tennessee River. This dam impounds the 67,100-acre Wheeler Lake, creating an enormous habitat for waterfowl, wading birds, …
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 …
A visit to the Beaverdam Peninsula Tower (Site #24, Northeast Loop) in the summer may make visitors wonder why the tower is even mentioned. This broad observation platform sits in wheat and corn fields dotted with a few Red-winged Blackbirds. While a …
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 swa …
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge’s Blackwell Swamp’s flooded woodland and marsh (Site # 26, Central Loop) can be explored by car, on foot, or by canoe. This extensive area hosts a variety of wetland species including Great Blue and Green herons and Gr …
The Cave Springs Cave (Site # 31, Central Loop) has been popular for thousands of years. The combination of shelter, fresh water, and abundant food has attracted humans and other wildlife to its safety. The cave’s current residents include several tho …
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 …
White Springs Dike (Site #20, Central Loop) on Wheeler NWR is one of the premier birding sites of the Tennessee River Valley in Alabama. The dike runs between a de-watering area on the north side and the Tennessee River on the south. Intrepid birders c …
The trails at William Brooks Park pass through a variety of habitats ranging from mixed pine-hardwood uplands to forested bottomlands. Look for migrants during the spring and fall. Prothonotary Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Summer Tanager, and Red- winged Blackbird are regular summer residents.
Wilson Dam and Visitor Center (Site #6, Northwest Loop) is where the Tennessee Vally Authority’s hydroelectric dam impounds the 15,500-acre Wilson Reservoir. This was the first dam constructed on the Tennessee River in Alabama. Construction began on th …
Wind Creek State Park is situated on a wooded promontory overlooking Lake Martin. Ospreys and Bald Eagles nest on the lake and both species may be seen throughout the year. The lake may attract rafts of wintering ducks, most numerous from late November through February. Very good for riparian warblers in warm months, and Red-headed Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, all year. Numerous picnic pavilions, good lake access for swimming, fishing, and boating.
Alabama A&M’s Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station (Site #27, Central Loop) consists of 900 acres of grasslands and agricultural fields, providing a rare area of open country filled with native birds. Bird the area by making frequent stops …
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.