Spillway Falls Park lies below the Demopolis Lock and Dam and affords one a bird’s eye view of the broad spillway and extensive rocky shoals and shallows from its wide observation deck. The mixed all-age woodlands that the paved road passes through boast a solid array of resident songbirds. Flocks of spring and fall migrants can be quite numerous.
Despite the park’s small size, Hermit Thrushes, Winter Wrens, Blue-headed Vireos, Orange-crowned Warblers, Palm Warblers and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are regularly seen here in winter. Wild Turkeys, Red-shouldered Hawks and Barred Owls are also common. The most interesting birds are found on and around the water.
A spotting scope is helpful and almost necessary due to the distance from both the observation platform and the walkway along the bluff over the water to the shallows and shoals below. Shorebirds are found in and around pools and puddles, primarily in migration and a few birds in winter. You can find gulls (mostly Ring-billed) and a few Forster’s Terns near the dam and over the shallows, as well as many species of herons and egrets on the riprap, on the rocks, and in the shallow water. In late summer, anticipate roosting Wood Storks on the far side of the river. Double-crested Cormorants are present except in late spring and early summer; look for Anhingas from spring through fall. Ospreys and Bald Eagles are a common sight near the dam.
Look for a trail on the right-hand side of the parking area. It is a level path through a patch of bottomland hardwoods. Check for woodland residents here-Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated Warblers, tanagers, woodpeckers, etc.
Spillway Falls Park is a unique spot; a stop here should be included in any birding route through the Demopolis area. Allow at least 90 minutes to adequately survey the bird-life at the park. The paved road to the observation deck passes a covered picnic/shelter (available by reservation), a small prairie plot with native grasses and wildflowers to the left.
Directions: From the intersection of US-80 and US-43 in Demopolis, take US-43 (S Walnut Avenue) north for .6 miles. Turn left (west) onto West Jackson Street, and follow 1.1 miles. Bear right on Lock & Dam Road and follow on for 1.4 miles. Bear left onto Gandy Ferry Road. Turn right onto Lower Pool Road at the sign for Spillway Falls Park and follow to the parking area.
GPS: N 32.52032 W -87.884865
Spillway Falls Park
Lock and Dam Road
Demopolis, AL 36732
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) (Mailing address)
Black Warrior and Tombigbee Lakes
34 Resource Management Dr.
Demopolis, AL 36732-1546