Indian Shell Mound Park has abundant giant moss-draped live oaks throughout. The Shell Mounds and Dauphin Island in general are renowned “hot-spots” for observing neotropical migrant birds, and attract birders from around the U.S. each spring and fall. Dauphin Island is the first point of land encountered by migrants during their spring migration across the Gulf of Mexico. The entire Island is a bird sanctuary.
Indian Shell Mound Park, located on the northern shore of Dauphin Island, is maintained and administered by Alabama Marine Resources Division. This eleven acres of subtropical natural wonder represents a botanical treasure-trove found on no other Gulf barrier island. Several plant species occurring here are representatives of families found as far inland as the Appalachian Mountains and from as far south as Yucatan state, Mexico. Many were probably transported here by Indian groups hundreds of years ago for medicinal and culinary purposes.
Directions: If following directions provided in the Coastal Birding Trail booklet, from the water tower, drive east on Bienville Boulevard to Iberville Street [0.3], turn left (north) and you will see Shell Mound Park straight ahead. Park on the shoulder and explore the trails through the mounds, which are ancient Indian shell middens.
Shell Mound Park is managed by the ADCNR Marine Resources Division, whose offices are on the back side (northeast corner) of the park. Check in the office for a tide table as it will be an invaluable resource if birding for waders and shorebirds. The ancient live oaks provide the insects and cover that neotropical migrants depend on at their first landfall. It is not unusual to see 20 species of warblers here on a good day.
Check the information box at the north side of the mounds for recent bird sightings and a bird card for the island. Look northward from here across the field to the feeders on the edge of the lawn. Check for both Shiny and Bronzed Cowbirds that may show up occasionally.
GPS: N30.25586 W-88.10752
Alabama Marine Resources Division