Alabama A&M’s Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station (Site #27, Central Loop) consists of 900 acres of grasslands and agricultural fields, providing a rare area of open country filled with native birds. Bird the area by making frequent stops, and look for Grasshopper Sparrows, Dickcissels, and Eastern Meadowlarks. Scan the open agriculture fields for other sparrows such as Chipping and Field. In winter, these fields host Northern Harriers and Short-eared Owls, which can be seen patrolling over the extensive grasslands. The star attraction at the research station are the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, which can be found in spring and early summer perched on small trees and fences across the area.
GPS: N 34.9025, W 86.5596
Amenities: Driving Trail
Alabama A&M Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station
372 Walker Lane
Hazel Green, AL 35762
photos courtesy of Kenneth Ward
From the intersection of I-565 and US 231/431 (Memorial Parkway) in Huntsville, take exit 19B onto US 231/431 and drive 12.5 miles north. Turn right (east) onto Walker Lane and go 0.6 mile to the ARS sign and gate on the right. Visitors should note that the gate into the field station is periodically closed, at which time only walk-in birding is allowed.
The Hays Nature Preserve (Site #30, Central Loop) hosts several miles of paved trails that follow the Flint River and its associated oxbow lakes through low riparian habitat, old fields, and a golf course. There are a total of 10 miles of trails th …
Madison County Public Lake (Site # 28, Central Loop) is best known for its fishing, but it also serves as an excellent introduction to northern Alabama’s birdlife. Scan the lake for wintering waterfowl or perhaps a family of resident Canada Geese and …
Monte Sano State Park (Site #29, Northeast Loop) sits atop a remnant ridge of the Cumberland Plateau, giving a fantastic view of the surrounding valleys and plateaus that cover northeastern Alabama. These islands in the sky are covered in thick hard …
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge’s Blackwell Swamp’s flooded woodland and marsh (Site # 26, Central Loop) can be explored by car, on foot, or by canoe. This extensive area hosts a variety of wetland species including Great Blue and Green herons and …