North Alabama, Northeast Loop | Jackson | Best Seasons: Fall | Spring
Skyline Wildlife Management Area (Site # 41, Northeast Loop) is an extensive tract of wild lands in northeastern Alabama, which hosts the state’s only population of Ruffed Grouse. This carefully managed area also supports older hardwood forests utilized by nesting Cerulean Warblers.
A visit to the Skyline Wildlife Management Area is most rewarding in spring when Yellow-breasted Chats, Field Sparrows, Indigo Buntings, and Prairie Warblers can be heard singing throughout. With careful exploration and a little luck, spring visitors might also hear the drumming of the male Ruffed Grouse, although Wild Turkeys and Northern Bobwhites are much easier to find. This mosaic of regenerating habitats provides a tremendous diversity of bird species making it a special treat for birders.
GPS: N 34.8534, W 86.1310
Amenities: Parking, Hiking
ADCNR: Area Biologist
37 County Road 243
Scottsboro, AL 35768
The directions and GPS below guide visitors to the Skyline Wildlife Management Area birding drive, however birding may be done throughout this extensive WMA. From the intersection of US Highway 72 and AL Highway 65, between the towns of Gurley and Paint Rock, drive north through the Paint Rock Valley 17.6 miles to AL Highway 146. Turn right onto Highway 146 and drive 4.7 miles. This will take visitors into the western side of the WMA and to the south entrance (gravel road) of the approximately 3-mile birding drive. For directions to other parts of the WMA, visitors should consult the area's permit map - available from the area biologist and from various WMA self-serve stations.
ACES-Graham Farm & Nature Center
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 …
Goose Pond Colony
Goose Pond Colony (Site # 38, Northeast Loop) is a public recreational development built on a peninsula on the northern side of Guntersville Lake south of Scottsboro. This location makes for some excellent birding, especially during the winter. Stop …
Gorham’s Bluff / Coon Gulf
Gorham’s Bluff (Site #45, Northeast Loop), a planned community, rises on the southern side of Raccoon Creek, a very scenic arm of Guntersville Reservoir. The Bluff provides an incredible vista of the creek and the surrounding area, as well as exempl …
Mud Creek Wildlife Management Area
Mud Creek Wildlife Management Area (Site #42, Northeast Loop) has numerous impoundments that are likely to turn up a great variety of species. Access roads leading into the area also make Mud Creek easy to bird. Check the ponds in fall and winter for …
North Sauty Creek WMA / Sauta Cave NWR
North Sauty Creek (Site #39, Northeast Loop) has an excellent display of waterfowl and wading birds that occupy the area. Park on the roadside and scan the creek for waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds, especially during migration or in the winte …
Roy B. Whitaker Paint Rock River Preserve
The Roy B. Whitaker Paint Rock River Preserve (Site # 40, Northeast Loop) was a working farm until Mr. Whitaker, wishing that future generations be able to enjoy the farm he loved so much, sold it to The Nature Conservancy who now manages it for cons …