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.
Fantastic birding opportunities abound at the 491 acre Nature Center. Sightings of Cerulean Warblers, American Redstarts, and Worm-eating Warblers have all been reported. Flycatchers are typically seen during summer months. Loggerhead Shrikes can be spotted hunting along fence rows and Eastern Bluebirds nest on the property.
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.
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.
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.
Habitats in the national forest range from old fields to mature pine and hardwood forests. The area is renowned for its breeding Cerulean Warblers, which can be found in several of the heavily wooded canyon bottoms.
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.
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.
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.
This area is worth stopping to check for marshland residents such as Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Yellowthroats during spring and summer months. At other times of the year, the marsh could produce a variety of waterfowl including Wood Ducks and American Coots.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …
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.
Demopolis’ River Walk is an open, paved, level, handicap-accessible stroll along the river in downtown Demopolis. The pathway is immediately adjacent to the river bank, and there are scattered patches of planted shrubs and small hardwood trees along its course. Expect to see swallows from spring through late summer, waders year-round — though more in late summer and fall, and some gulls and small numbers of waterfowl in winter. The River Walk can be adequately birded in 60 to 90 minutes. Consider the River Walk as a late morning-early afternoon stop on a birding loop that covers the Demopolis area.
Enjoy both woodland songsters-Kentucky and Hooded Warblers, Scarlet Tanagers and Yellow-throated Vireos and displays of native wildflowers and blooming shrubs. The boardwalk is 360 yards long through wooded slopes and moist forest floor.
East Lake Park is one of the best places in the Birmingham area to see birds, because it has a variety of natural features that provide food, water and shelter for a wide range of species. Using water from Roebuck Springs and Village Creek, this 45-acre lake is sheltered from the surrounding urban area by a 100-acre park. The mature hardwoods are home to many resident songbirds, as well as winter feeding flocks led by Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, as well as the usual winter finches.
Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve is an upland hardwood swamp on Spring Creek, made accessible for nature-lovers by a boardwalk built and maintained by the University of Montevallo. The dominant tree is the Tupelo Gum, with a rich mixture of other hardwoods and Loblolly Pine. The birding begins as you approach the boardwalk from the parking area.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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 …
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 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.
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.
Live Oak Landing consists of 175 acres of beautiful land with highway access and a half-mile of waterfront. The property is surrounded by county, state, and Forever Wild conservation land encompassing a total area of approximately 1,500 acres on the eastern side of the Tensaw River.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
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 and much of Blount County.