Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park is an attractive, open park with a friendly staff. The terrain is primarily open and level, with a small wet-weather stream and a covered bridge not far from the park entrance. There are gently rolling hills toward the rear (north) end of the acreage. The forest is mostly mature hardwoods, with scattered pines on the higher elevations. There are multiple “period” buildings dotting the landscape, and several rustic cabins and a group lodge on the north end of the park. The center of the park is dominated by parking areas and picnic pavilions.
The entrance road and the front (south) end of the park should be productive for migrants. The central, more open area is more the province of typical “suburban backyard” songbirds – Blue Jay, American Robins, Brown Thrashers, etc. The canopy birds found throughout the park (Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern Wood-Pewees, Orchard Orioles, and even Northern Parulas and Yellow-throated Warblers) are interesting and worth investigating. Winter brings roving flocks of Cedar Waxwings, and mixed-species feeding flocks to follow the resident Carolina Chickadees, and Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers around the park.
The shrubs and small trees near the cabins and other park buildings host Brown Thrashers, Carolina Wrens, and Chipping Sparrows. The edges along the roadway produce White-eyed Vireos, Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, and Eastern Kingbirds in the warmer months, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, White-throated and Song Sparrows, and perhaps Palm and a few Orange-crowned Warblers in milder winters.
All in all, Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park is attractive and easy to reach and explore. Much of the birding can be accomplished on a point-to-point basis, where one drives from one part of the Park to another, surveying different habitats in order to see the greatest number of species in the least amount of time. There is a swimming pool and a playground for smaller children, and the store and picnic areas can provide a welcome respite.
Directions: From I-65 in Shelby County, take exit 228 (Calera/Saginaw) and proceed right (SW) on AL 25. There is food, fuel, and lodging available at the exit, less in Calera. Remain on AL 25 for 14.3 miles, turning left (east) on Bibb County 62 (Furnace Parkway). At .4 mile, turn left (north) to enter the park.
GPS: 33.0394444 -86.9488888
Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park
240 Furnace Parkway Brierfield, AL 35035