Flock to the River Valley, North Alabama Birding Trail
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Fifty Bird Watching
Sites in Twelve
Alabama Counties

 

Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries

 

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE NABT?

The North Alabama Birding Trail is not a "trail" in the traditional sense, but a series of mostly roadside stops throughout north Alabama selected for their birdwatching characteristics. While all of the sites can be accessed from a vehicle, many of the sites also have traditional walking trails associated with them; and a few sites contain extensive areas that are best explored by boat or canoe. Indeed, some of the best birding at many sites is achieved by exploring areas away from your vehicle!

HOW MANY SITES ARE ON THE NABT?

The North Alabama Birding Trail is comprised of 50 sites throughout north Alabama.

WHAT PRODUCTS ARE AVAILABLE TO SHOW SITE LOCATIONS AND GIVE INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRAIL?

A 32-page Visitor Guide is available that details site locations and descriptions, bird photos, and specific site characteristics related to birdwatching and habitat. A link to the Visitor Guide can be found under the MORE INFORMATION section on the HOME PAGE and can be used to download a copy of the Visitor Guide or to order a hardcopy.

HOW WERE SITES ON THE NABT SELECTED?

The NABT sites were selected by a committee of wildlife biologists, bird enthusiasts, and conservation organizations. Some sites were selected because they offer the opportunity to see a large number of birds; other sites because of the opportunity to see many different species of birds (diversity); while some sites were selected because of the presence - and opportunity to view - extremely rare or endangered birds. Several sites have been selected because they offer the opportunity to readily see bald eagles, sand hill cranes, hummingbirds, or large concentrations of migratory waterfowl.

WHAT TYPES OF HABITATS ARE ON THE NABT?

A variety of habitat types were selected as sites. These include wetlands, grasslands, rivers, and a variety of forest types and ages. Many individual NABT sites contain several habitats. A diversity of habitats creates a diversity of bird species.

WHAT WERE THE CRITERIA USED TO SELECTED SPECIFIC SITES?

The following seven criteria were evaluated and used in selecting sites for the NABT.

  • Birdwatching characteristics — probability of seeing birds.
  • Ecological significance- high quality areas of significant habitat types.
  • Site resiliency- able to withstand continual public use without damage to environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Physical and legal access- guaranteed public access, both private and public lands.
  • Economic significance-support for site from local Chamber of Commerce or CVB.
  • Maintenance support-landowner support for maintenance of site, particularly any private land sites.
  • Parking Availability-vehicular access without endangerment.

HOW WAS THE NABT FUNDED?

The NABT was funded by a $280,000, 3:1 federal matching grant through the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program, where funding was earmarked to provide recreation and education about Alabama’s nongame wildlife species. The 25% match ($70,000) is being provided by 11 north Alabama Chambers of Commerce/Convention and Visitors Bureaus, by the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Association, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and by several cooperate sponsors including BP Amoco Company, 3-M Company and Nucor Steel Corporation.

WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?

Dress comfortably for the season, as you would for any extended outdoor activity. Comfortable footwear would be advisable for extensive exploration. Though not required to tour the trail - many visitors also find binoculars and birding field guides useful. At some sites, insect spray and sunscreen are of value.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT THE NABT?

While excellent birding can be done year-round on the NABT, many sites are best explored seasonally — such as when viewing wintering waterfowl or bald eagles, spring migrating songbirds, or fall migrating hummingbirds. Check the Visitor Guide for the best season to tour particular sites.

WHAT TYPE OF BIRDS CAN I SEE ON THE NABT?

North Alabama has a wide variety of birds of many types that can be seen along the trail including shorebirds, wading birds, songbirds, birds of prey and waterfowl. Check the Visitor Guide for a guide as to which individual sites are best for particular birds. For more comprehensive information on the types of birds found in Alabama check this link: Birds in Alabama

ARE THERE OTHER BIRDING TRAILS IN ALABAMA?

The NABT is the second extensive birding trail in the state that includes interpretive panel displays and highway directional signs. The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail was completed in 2000. For information on other birding trails in Alabama check this link: Alabama Birding Trails

IS THERE ANYONE AVAILABLE AT NABT SITES TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE OR LIVE INTERPRETATION?

Some sites are associated with various "visitor centers," and some have no on-site assistance or personal interpretation. Visitors are "on their own" to create and enjoy a personal outdoor experience.

WHAT TYPES OF SERVICE FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE ON NABT SITES?

Facilities vary by site. Some sites provide extensive public facilities such as lodges, restrooms, or food services. However - on most sites - facilities are limited or nonexistent. Check the Visitor Guide icons for facilities at particular sites.