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Tag Archives: National Wildlife Refuge

Key Cave National Wildlife Refuge

Key Cave National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) (Site# 9, Northwest Loop) has large open fields managed for warm-season native grasses interspersed with small patches of deciduous woodland and the seasonal sinkhole wetland. The refuge is gradually being conver …

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Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge’s (NWR’s) showpiece Visitor Center (Site #16, Central Loop) serves as the gateway to the North Alabama Birding Trail. The Visitor Center hosts a series of interpretive exhibits that explain the refuge’s numerous residen …

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Wheeler NWR – Beaverdam Swamp Boardwalk

The Beaverdam Swamp Boardwalk  (Site #25, Central Loop) leads the visitor into the heart of the largest Tupelo Swamp in Alabama. While exploring the boardwalk, watch the canopy for active flocks of Tufted Titmice, Red-eyed Vireos, and warblers. The swa …

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Wheeler NWR – Dancy Bottoms Nature Trail

Dancy Bottoms ( Site #33, Central Loop) is an excellent area  in the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge to visit during spring migration when dozens of warblers, vireos, tanagers, thrushes, orioles, and grosbeaks fill the trees. The area is also good for …

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Wheeler NWR – Arrowhead Landing

Arrowhead Landing  (Site # 23, Central Loop) is located on Limestone Bay, another corner of the fertile Wheeler Reservoir and the Tennessee River. There is an outstanding view of the bay and the wooded areas on Beaverdam Peninsula. Watch the open water …

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Wheeler NWR – Beaverdam Peninsula Tower

A visit to the Beaverdam Peninsula Tower  (Site #24, Northeast Loop) in the summer may make visitors wonder why the tower is even mentioned. This broad observation platform sits in wheat and corn fields dotted with a few Red-winged Blackbirds. While a …

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Wheeler NWR – Blackwell Swamp

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 Gr …

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Wheeler NWR – Cave Springs

The Cave Springs Cave (Site # 31, Central Loop)  has been popular for thousands of years. The combination of shelter, fresh water, and abundant food has attracted humans and other wildlife to its safety. The cave’s current residents include several tho …

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Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge

West Alabama | Bibb | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring

Famed for the free-flowing Cahaba River and for the rare wildflowers found here, the Cahaba River NWR is an extraordinarily good birding destination. Expect abundant riparian songbirds – Louisiana Waterthrushes, Acadian Flycatchers, Northern Parulas, Prothonotary and Yellow-throated warblers, and American Redstarts – from early spring through fall. Other woodland songbirds can be found in large numbers in the woods along the road through the refuge.

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Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge

Wiregrass | Barbour | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter

Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge offers some of the best birding to be found in Alabama. The entire refuge is a patchwork of open fields, marshes, and impoundments bounded by Lake Eufaula to one side and mixed woods on the other. Begin your visit with the Wildlife Drive, which winds through pine woods, grassy fields, and marshy areas. Although parts of the Drive are closed in winter, it is good for waterfowl, sparrows, and raptors in winter, and grassland species and some waders in the warm months. The nearby Houston and Kennedy Units, composed of marshes and sloughs and the lake itself, can be accessed by foot or bicycle, and are first-rate for wetland songbirds and waders, including bitterns and waterfowl in winter.

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Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge

Black Belt | Choctaw | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter

Choctaw NWR is composed of over 4,000 acres of rivers, sloughs, bottomland hardwood forest, and a small amount of tall-grass cropland. Swallow-tailed and Mississippi kites, Anhingas, Purple Gallinules, Least Bitterns, King Rails, and Common Moorhens nest here, with Painted Buntings as likely breeders, too. Ospreys and Bald Eagles are a common sight, and as many as 10,000 waterfowl winter here most years. There are large numbers of Northern Parulas, American Redstarts, and Acadian Flycatchers.

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Bon Secour NWR – Pine Beach Trail

At the Pine Beach trailhead stands an interpretive kiosk with trail maps and bird lists. This is a two-mile trail (each way) southeastward to the beach by way of Little Lagoon and Gator Lake. The hike is an enjoyable walk through a variety of habitats including oak mottes, sand pine scrub, fresh and saltwater marshes, dunes and beaches. The Pine Beach Trail will generally have the best birding on the refuge during migration and can also provide excellent winter birding opportunities.

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Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge – Jeff Friend Trail

The Jeff Friend Trail is a one-mile loop to Little Lagoon. Habitats include maritime forest, freshwater marsh and open water along the north shore of Little Lagoon. A variety of species are possible-waterbirds, raptors, songbirds and other passerines. A small observation deck midway down the trail at Little Lagoon is a great place to set up a spotting scope and scan the water.

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Bon Secour NWR – Mobile Street

Mobile Street is a paved road leading to the beach, with a parking area for the one-mile (each way) Gator Lake Trail, which connects Mobile Street with the Pine Beach Trail. This narrow trail can be good for winter birding where you may see Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Myrtle Warbler. This is also a good vantage point for shorebirds and waders, as well as loons and other seabirds.

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