Almost 20 years in the making, the system of eight trails highlights the best public locations available to watch birds year-round. Alabama provides critical habitat for hundreds of bird species, from the Endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker to the now flourishing Bald Eagle. Interest in wildlife observation continues to grow, and more and more people want to explore our amazing biodiversity, which makes us second only to Florida in the Eastern U.S. in total number of species of plants and animals. The Birding Trails project provides a major attraction for nature-loving tourists, while offering exciting birding opportunities for Alabama’s school groups, families, and seasoned birders.
The eight Alabama Birding Trails unify existing and potential birding sites into a series of cohesive trails and loops that are collectively marketed as part of a state-wide system. Many of the sites along the various trails are already being used by thousands of birders and other visitors annually.
➢ Documented physical and legal access to site (either public land or private land that is open to the public; and if private land, then nomination must be submitted by owner or the owner must concur with the possible inclusion in the trail).
➢ Site resiliency: must be able to withstand continual use without unacceptable levels of damage.
➢ The site has the potential for visitors to readily observe one or more species in at least one season; or the site offers the opportunity for visitors to view a single species that is of special interest.
➢ Accessibility and safety; the site has vehicular access that provides established parking area(s) and safe environment. Sites that require visitors to park on shoulder of highways are discouraged.
➢ Maintenance support: site owner or manager should be willing to provide support for maintenance of site.
➢ Within a region, sites as a collection need to possess a representative diversity of habitats typical of the region; and be distributed relatively evenly across the region geographically.