5 ways to celebrate National Bird Day in “BIRDingham” (15 photos)

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Alabama Audubon on the Black Belt Birding Tour summer 2019. Photo from Alabama Audubon Facebook page

Hey BIRDingham! January 5th is National Bird Day.

According to the Alabama Ornithological Society via the Encyclopedia of Alabama, 433 species of birds have been seen in the state.

Red Shoulder Hawk. Photo courtesy of David Frings

From that list, about 158 are considered regular breeders within Alabama’s borders, around 80 species are migrants, and another 175 or so are classified as winter residents.

Birds are fun!

Want to learn more about our feathered friends?

In honor of National Bird Day, here are 5 ways you can support birds and become a birder.

1) Go on a Field Trip

Members from Alabama Audubon on a field trip around 3 of Birmingham’s parks. Photo from Alabama Audubon’s Facebook page

There are a number of birdwatching groups that offer field trips throughout the year. In most cases you do not have to be a birder to participate – but of  course spending a morning or full day with experienced birders is the best way to learn the craft. Here are some of the best Field Trip links:

Alabama Audubon
Alabama Birding Trail

2) Attend the Festival of Cranes, Eagle Watch Weekends or Alabama Coastal Bird Fest

Whooping crane surrounded by sandhill cranes - photo by George Lee
Whooping crane surrounded by sandhill cranes – photo by George Lee

Birding is a social activity.  Alabama has three big events that draw locals and tourist from around the country.  They are:

January 11-12 – Festival of Cranes – Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge near Decatur, Alabama – See thousands of waterfowl, sandhill cranes and  whooping cranes.

Photo of Greg Harber teaching birding at Caldwell Park to a young student. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

January-February –  Eagle Watch Weekends – Lake Guntersville State Park – Events every weekend  beginning on January 24 and lasting till February 16.

October 7-10 – Alabama Coastal Bird Fest – Various places throughout Coastal Alabama – Established in 2004, this event attracts birders nationwide. to the coast.

3) Take a Class

Red Headed Woodpecker in the Highland Park area of Birmingham. Photo courtesy of Joe Watts

Birmingham has some of the best birding instructors in the south. This winter Alabama Audubon has organized two classes taught by Greg Harber and Paul Franklin.  Both are fantastic teachers.

Get the details –

Harber’s class on mastering Winter Water Birds – Register HERE
Paul’s class on Winter Songbirds & Raptors – Register HERE

Also, don’t forget to attend the Audubon Mountain Workshop May 7-10 in Mentone.

Summer Tanager. Photo courtesy of Tom Gordon

4) Plant Native Plants

Ruby Throated Hummingbird. Photo by Doug Oliver with permission

Last month, Bham Now published an informative story about supporting birds by the planting of native plants and removing invasive.

Check out our story –

6 ways to become an Alabama native plant champion like Julia Tutwiler

5) Visit Alabama Birding Trails

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

Last, but not least, explore Alabama’s Birding Trails.  We presently have a system  of 8 trails statewide, with over 280 stops. Quite frankly, its awesome.   Check it ALL out  – HERE

Photos, Photos, Photos

Eastern Phoebe discovered on Birmingham’s Southside. Photo by Joe Watts

So, Happy Bird Day to all your family and friends!  Celebrate by making a commitment to go on a field trip, take a workshop, visit the birding trails and festivals or plant some bird attracting native plants in your backyard.

Or just sit back and enjoy their beauty.

Red-Tailed Hawk. Photo by Tom Gordon
Green Heron at Railroad Park. Photo by Tom Gordon
Painted Bunting. Photo courtesy of Ken Hare
Prothonotary warbler. Photo courtesy of David Frings
Bobwhite Quail. Photo by Julie Hailey Clark
Photo from Melissa Headrick Bailey
Eastern Wild Turkey. Photo by John Bakkegard
Bald Eagle. Photo by Craig Applegarth


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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.
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