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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This 176 acre park features a large watershed lake bordering Talladega National Forest. Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Kingfishers are among the year-round birds. Northern Parula, Indigo Buntings and many other migrants can be seen here each spring and fall.
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 location is temporarily c …
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.
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.
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.
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 Ta …
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.
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.
DeKalb County Lake (Site #46, …
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.
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.
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.