A special visitor at Railroad Park – a beautiful Osprey (photos)

Birmingham Alabama
Osprey spotted at Railroad Park – photo by Greg Harber

 

This weekend, a special bird visited Railroad Park.  An Osprey!

Birmingham Audubon’s Greg Harber made the discovery and took photos of the bird that has been called “the river hawk or fish eagle.”

Here is Harbor’s posting on Facebook about his discovery:

Birmingham Alabama
An Osprey at Railroad Park – photo by Greg Harber

“Well, well, well, look who made an appearance at Railroad Park late this afternoon… an Osprey! This represents the first recorded instance of this species at the park, to my knowledge.”

Bham Now caught up with Harber this Monday morning and asked him why it is rare and significant to see an Osprey in downtown Birmingham:

Harber replied:

“It’s unusual to see it downtown because of our general lack of water, but they do migrate through this area this time of year. We usually see them along the state’s larger rivers during migration. The fact that the bird was actively fishing at these parks does emphasize the fact that these green (and open water!) spaces provide resources for migrating birds and other wildlife. This time of year migrating swifts and swallows can be seen drinking water from the ponds as they dip down into the water while flying on the wing.”

So who exactly is our visiting Osprey?

Birmingham Alabama
Osprey hovering over Railroad Park – photo by Greg Harber

“This is an immature female, most likely, based on its field marks – back feathers tipped in white and faint breast band – that is migrating south. They winter in the southern US and northern South America. The All About Birds website has a searchable database if you want further info about this species,” concluded Harber.

Birmingham Alabama
Photo by Birmingham Audubon’s Greg Harber
How to become a birder

Are you interested in birding? The Birmingham Audubon holds weekly events starting in September.  The Alabama Birding Trails also contains 270 “birding sites” from the mountains to the gulf.  Over 430 different bird species have been spotted in Alabama.

Try “birding” out. It is great way to enjoy nature and develop lifelong friendships.


  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.