The ‘Can’t-Miss’ Spots for Birding in Alabama

Many sites on the Alabama Birding Trail are on Alabama Power lakes. We picked a few scattered across the state and asked Ken Hare, an avid birder based in Montgomery, to share a few of his “can’t-miss” spots.

LOGAN MARTIN DAM

Birding Trail: Appalachian Highlands
Look for: black-crowned night herons (on the shoals below the dam) and bald eagles, as well as hawks in the sky above the dam.

CHEROKEE RIDGE AT LAKE MARTIN

Birding Trail: Piedmont Plateau
Look for: bald eagles over the water and turkeys in the forest, as well as many other small woodland birds.

WIND CREEK STATE PARK AT LAKE MARTIN

Birding Trail: Piedmont Plateau
Look for: ospreys, gulls and terns on and near the water, plus red-headed woodpeckers in the trees. In open areas, keep your eyes peeled for American goldfinches and eastern bluebirds.

WEISS LAKE OVERLOOK

Birding Trail: Appalachian Highlands
Look for: gulls, including the rare glaucous or lesser black-backed, American white pelicans in winter, and great blue herons and great egrets year-round.

COOSA WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA DOUBLE BRIDGES AT LAKE MITCHELL

Birding Trail: Piedmont Plateau
Look for: high numbers of songbirds, raptors and game birds as well as one of the few remaining populations of red-cockaded woodpeckers.

“Any of the state’s large lakes are great places to bird. There is something about lakes and birds that go together,” Hare said. “At Lake Martin, Wind Creek State Park is a favorite place of mine. It is an especially good spot to photograph woodpeckers – red-headed woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, northern flickers, even an occasional pileated woodpecker.

“I have also seen bald eagles flying over Lake Martin, Lake Jordan and Lay Lake. And don’t forget to look below the dams in the spillway areas for birds,” he said. “Cormorants, anhingas, ospreys, herons and egrets, even on rare occasions white pelicans, are often attracted to the fish below a dam.”

BASIC BIRDING

If you’re thinking about joining the large flock of birders who frequent Alabama’s lakes to scan the surface, shores and skies, Suzanne Langley, executive director of the Birmingham Audubon Society, said, “Go for it. Birders are the most generous group of people you will ever engage with. Most are so excited to find others who share their passion.”

They quickly take newcomers under their wings, and Alabama’s multiple Audubon chapters are a great way to connect. They offer free field trips, which are an easy way for beginners to learn the ropes, and free programs that teach how to best use birding equipment like binoculars.

Birmingham Audubon is one of 21 staffed chapters (of more than 400) in the country and is a valuable resource. Visit birminghamaudubon.org to find events and a “beginner’s guide” with advice and tips.

Receive lake conditions and schedules by email.

What do you wish Shorelines would add?

Loading ... Loading ...
X
- Enter Your Location -
- or -