Turkey Creek Nature Preserve consists of wooded acreage surrounding a fast-flowing stream that features rapids and a series of falls. There is great botanical diversity within the preserve, which in turn presents a great diversity of habitat types for birds and other wildlife.
Expect to encounter a good number of species here. Many birds breed here, including Scarlet and Summer Tanagers, a full complement of warblers (particularly common are Hooded, Black-and-white, Kentucky, and Pine), and Red-eyed, Yellow-throated, White-eyed, and Blue-headed Vireos. This is a good spot to see Pileated and Hairy Woodpeckers and Wild Turkeys. Near the water, look for Louisiana Waterthrushes and Acadian Flycatchers in the warmer months, and Belted Kingfishers and Great Blue Herons throughout the year. There is a paved road that traverses the preserve. Most of the road has narrow shoulders, so it is best to park in one of the three major parking areas and bird while walking along the shoulder of the road or along one of the four well-maintained trails.
Turkey Creek is a popular spot for family recreation, and in the warmer months, especially when school is out, the stream is full of visitors swimming, splashing, and diving. At times, parking spots may be scarce. From May to early September, plan to visit on weekdays rather than weekends, and be sure to arrive early (park opens at 8 a.m.) to beat the crowds. The area near the interpretive trail can be productive for birds, particularly for the roving feeding flocks that occupy the park in winter. Prominent among the winter visitors are Cedar Waxwings in the fruit-bearing trees and shrubs. Be sure to look to the wooded area to the west – the woodlands here boast many plants that provide excellent foraging habitat, and the all-age forest ensures good sightlines to see the birds as they seek food in this area. Also watch for Winter Wrens along the stream, especially near exposed tree roots.
Be sure to go past the falls and stacked boulders that serve as the visual high point of the preserve because this quiet, wooded portion of the park may be the best part in terms of bird density. This is the place to look for sparrows, American Goldfinches, Blue Grosbeaks and more. Plan to spend significant time here. Parking is much easier to come by, and there are few disturbances, making this the place to bird by ear.
Directions: From I-59/20 in Birmingham (Jefferson County), take exit 128 (Tallapoosa Street) and proceed north. The road changes names several times (Tallapoosa Street, Vanderbilt Road, Pinson Valley Parkway, AL Highway 79) but remain on this major thoroughfare for 12.7 miles, eventually turning left on Narrows Road. The well-marked entrance to the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is .25 mile on the right.
GPS: 33.700684 -86.690295
Turkey Creek Nature Preserve
3906 Turkey Creek Road
Pinson, AL 35126