The Tom Bevill Lock and Dam Visitors Center is an authentic reproduction of a mid-nineteenth Century plantation house surrounded by extensive lawns with scattered rows of shade trees. The trees house numerous Eastern Bluebirds, as well as many other “suburban” songbird species, such as Northern Cardinals and Blue Jays. Common Grackles, American Robins and blackbirds forage with the Killdeer on the short-grass lawns.
From April to July, the shade trees along the entrance road and the parking lot here are home to Orchard Orioles. In summer, Purple Martins and other swallows are abundant here. The Visitors Center abuts the lock and dam complex and Aliceville Lake. A short walk to the right of the visitors center leads to a well-maintained boardwalk that overlooks the lake. Note the paddle-wheel river work boat, the MV Montgomery, docked here. There is a shelter that offers a good vantage point to scan the water and riprap below for waders (especially in late summer) and waterfowl and eagles (most prevalent in winter).
Expect to find Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets throughout the year and a few Green Herons in spring and summer. The common winter gull is the Ring-billed. There may be a few Forster’s Terns present, and “interesting” gulls are always a possibility. Bald Eagles nest at many points along the river. The eagles may appear here throughout the year, though they are more numerous in the colder months. The deep water of the lake may attract a variety of deep-water waterfowl. Look for loons, Horned Grebes, and any of the diving ducks here.
Across the lock and dam road from the Visitors Center entrance is a stand of second-growth foliage. Look for Common Yellowthroats, Yellow-breasted Chats, Prairie Warblers, and Field and Chipping sparrows in the scrubbier areas. Wood Thrushes, Hooded, Black-and-white, Pine, and Kentucky Warblers, Brown-headed nuthatches and other songbirds abound in the more mature stands.
The Visitors Center offers hospitality, along with informational brochures and maps.
Leaving the Visitors Center, follow Lock and Dam Road, heading north toward AL 14. Along the road, the taller grass patches can be productive for Bobwhites and Wild Turkeys. After a short distance, turn left to visit Pirates Cove Marina. A highly successful Purple Martin colony is located here, and visitors can get close looks at these birds. The grasses and woodlands here should be good for sparrows and winter feeding flocks in the colder months.
Spend time along the roadsides all the way from the Visitors Center to AL 14. Birding these woodlands should be productive throughout the year. The intersection of AL 14 and Lock and Dam Road is a good place to find Blue Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, Yellow-breasted Chats, Prairie Warblers, Field Sparrows, and more.
The adjacent Lock and Dam is closed to the public, but organized groups may visit with an appointment.
GPS: 33.2124955 -88.2823793
Tom Bevill Lock and Dam Visitors Center
1382 Lock & Dam Rd.
Pickensville, AL 35447
Amenities: Parking, restrooms
The Visitor Center is open 9-5, Wednesday-Saturday year-round
This small park can be birded primarily by car. The parking area is paved and offers access to view the river as well, where deep water ducks, particularly in winter, can be seen.
From I-59/20 in Greene County, take exit 40 toward Eutaw/Aliceville. Fuel and limited food and lodging are available in Eutaw. Merge right to AL 14W and follow AL 14 for 33.5 miles, through Aliceville to Pickensville. In Pickensville, turn left (south) onto Lock and Dam road, and in 1.4 miles, turn right into the Tom Bevill Lock and Dam Visitor Center complex.