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 wind through bottomlands, swamps, and sloughs, suitable for hiking or mountain biking. This is an incredible area, easily accessible for birders near the large metropolitan area of Huntsville. Species to look for along the river include Great Blue and Green Herons, Belted Kingfishers, and in winter, Wilson’s Snipe. The edges of woodland host Eastern Bluebirds, Song Sparrows, and numerous other resident and migrant species.
GPS: N 34.6420, W -86.4706
Amenities: Hiking, Handicap Access, Parking, Restrooms, Biking, Picnic Area, Viewing Area
City of Huntsville Recreational Services
308 Fountain Circle
Huntsville, AL 35801
In Huntsville from the intersection of I-565 and US Highway 431/231 (Memorial Parkway), take Highway 431 south for 10.7 miles. The Hays Preserve is on the left (north) side of the road just after mile marker #324. Turn off just before crossing the Flint River.
7153 Hwy 431 S Owens Cross Roads, Huntsville, AL 35763
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 …
Monte Sano State Park 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 hardwood forest, which is home t …
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 …
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 sto …