Moss Rock Preserve and Shades Creek Greenway added to the Alabama Birding Trails

Birmingham Alabama
Birmingham Alabama
The Moss Rock Prairie/Meadow with Goldfinches in the golden Eared Coreopsis. Photo from the Friends of Moss Rock Preserve Facebook page.

Earlier this year, the Alabama Birding Trails program announced the addition of 10 new birding trail sites across Alabama, including two in the Birmingham area, the Moss Rock Preserve in Hoover and the Shades Creek Greenway in Homewood.

The other eight sites across the state include, Heflin’s Cahulga Creek Park; Coosa County’s Flagg Mountain, near Weogufka; the Lee County Public Fishing Lake, near Opelika; the Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve and Nature Center, in Auburn; Minooka Park, in Jemison; Smith Mountain Fire Tower, near Dadeville; the Wehle Forever Wild Tract, near Midway; and the Yates Lake Forever Wild Tract, near Tallassee.

The new additions bring the total number of birding trail locations in the state to 280 in 65 counties.

Over 430 bird species  have been documented in Alabama, from Bald Eagles to Painted Buntings.

Birmingham Alabama
Painted Bunting – photo by Ken Hare

The Alabama Birding Trails system is divided up into eight separate regional trails. The Moss Rock Preserve and Shades Creek Greenway join the Appalachian Highlands Trail which starts in Jefferson and Shelby counties and moves north and east along the Interstate 59 and Interstate 20 corridors toward  Little River Canyon in the north and  Talladega National Forest in the east.  Portions of the Black Warrior, Cahaba,  Coosa, and the Tallapoosa watersheds are also contained in this region.

Screenshot from the Alabama Birding Trails website of birding sites in the Appalachian Highlands Birding Trail

Here are the locations and links with descriptions to the local Birmingham area birding trail sites:

Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Birmingham Zoo
East Lake Park
Ebenezer Swamp
Five Mile Creek Greenway – Brookside
Horse Pens 40
Lake Purdy
Limestone Park
Oak Mountain State Park
Ruffner Mountain Nature Center
Ruffner Mountain Wetlands
Shades Creek Greenway (Lakeshore)
Tannehill State Historical Park
Turkey Creek Nature Preserve

Adding Moss Rock Preserve and the Shades Creek Greenway will introduce thousands of local residents who use these popular public areas to the joy of birding.

Photo by Greg Harber

According to the Alabama Birding Trail announcement about the 10 new designated sites, “These sites add a depth and richness to already popular locations across Alabama, helping visitors and residents find places that offer outstanding opportunities for bird watching. These spots enhance the fabric of Alabama’s many sites by providing nearby opportunities for visitors and residents alike to participate in the popular pastime of watching birds.”

Birmingham Alabama
Photo by Greg Harber at Railroad Park

The Alabama Birding Trails is a partnership of the Alabama Birding Trails, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, and Birmingham Audubon. The project is made possible in part by the Alabama Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils, the Alabama Tourism Department and many volunteers across Alabama.

Learn more about the Alabama Birding Trails program at www.alabamabirdingtrails.com.

Author: Pat Byington

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.