This material was provided to us by the folks with the Alabama Birding Trails. All photos are courtesy of Lew Scharpf of Auburn, Alabama. Thank you, Joanne Ninesling and ABT!
The Alabama Birding Trails
With over 430 bird species documented in Alabama, there’s more to see here than you can imagine. There is the opportunity to watch a Bald Eagle feeding its young in the nest near Guntersville State Park; or sitting quietly as dozens of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks literally crash-land into the nearest tree on Dauphin Island. These watching moments abound on the Alabama Birding Trails.
Over 10 years in the making, the system of eight trails highlights the best public locations available to watch birds year-round. Alabama provides critical habitat for hundreds of bird species, from the Endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker to the now flourishing Bald Eagle. Interest in wildlife observation continues to grow, and more and more people want to explore our amazing biodiversity, which makes us second only to Florida in the Eastern U.S. in total number of species of plants and animals. The Birding Trails project provides a major attraction for nature-loving tourists, while offering exciting birding opportunities for Alabama’s school groups, families, and seasoned birders.
The eight Alabama Birding Trails unify over 270 existing and potential birding sites into a series of cohesive trails and loops as part of a state-wide system. These regions were carefully selected, in part based on the physiographic characteristics of each region. The chain of eight geographic regions known as the following: North Alabama, West Alabama, Appalachian Highlands, Piedmont Plateau, Black Belt Nature and Heritage, Pineywoods, Wiregrass, and Alabama Coastal Birding Trails.
Creating the Alabama Birding Trails has many partners: The Alabama Tourism Department has provided much of the funding for this project; The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development is providing the leadership role of facilitation and project scope; The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is providing their depth of knowledge relative to wildlife habitat, birding and previous birding trails experience; The Birmingham Audubon Society has provided experience that only deeply knowledgeable birders could. Local member organizations across the state have taken great pride in the project, as have our Federal partners, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Forest Service and others.
The Alabama Birding Trails would like to coordinate with the science teachers of Alabama to offer the opportunity for K-12 students to learn not just about the birds, but about the habitat, nourishment, familial life, restoration and preservation for the future. The annual migration is an enormous undertaking for the birds, as they travel thousands of miles twice a year to get to their summer breeding grounds or their winter homes. How is this logistically accomplished? How do they know where and when to go?
For more information, please see the Alabama Birding Trails website here: http://alabamabirdingtrails.com/