Wilson Dam and Visitor Center (Site #6, Northwest Loop) is where the Tennessee Vally Authority’s hydroelectric dam impounds the 15,500-acre Wilson Reservoir. This was the first dam constructed on the Tennessee River in Alabama. Construction began on the dam in 1918 and was completed in 1924. The dam was acquired by the TVA in 1933. Together with Pickwick and Wheeler reservoirs, this dam made the treacherous Muscle Shoals navigable for river trade and transport. As with the other dams in northern Alabama, this site is excellent for gulls, as thousands of Ring-billed, Herring, and Bonaparte’s gulls are found regularly. Birders should study these gulls carefully and look for a surprise or two, such as a Laughing or Greater Black-backed gull, or even a Black-legged Kittiwake. In late summer, scan the wooded islands for Black-crowned Night and Yellow-crowned Night herons among the more common Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets.
Directions: TVA’s Wilson Dam crosses the Tennessee River between Florence and Muscle Shoals, AL. The Wilson Dam Visitor Center is on the Muscle Shoals side of the river at the dam’s southern end. The kiosk at the Visitor Center will orient and guide visitors to nearby trails and sites available for birding.
GPS: N 34.7934, W 87.6262
Amenities: Hiking, Parking, Visitor Center
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
TVA, SB 1H, PO Box 1010
Muscle Shoals, AL 35662-1010