in Shelby County
Are you on the lookout for your next big adventure? If you’re a fan of our feathered friends, then Shelby County is the place to be! We’re so lucky to have a diverse landscape and tons of wildlife, which makes our county a total birdwatcher’s paradise. There are so many different species of birds to spot here, it’s pretty darn exciting! Check out all the best spots to go birding in Shelby County.
Ready to head out on your adventure? We have a birding itinerary to make it easier to plan your trip.
Shelby County is a total gem when it comes to natural beauty. That’s why it’s the perfect place to do some bird-watching! It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned pro or new to the game – Shelby County has covered you. There are so many sweet spots to explore, you’re bound to find the perfect spot to bird watch, no matter your experience level. With four parks listed on Alabama’s Birding Trails (link to https://alabamabirdingtrails.com/counties/shelby/ get ready to be blown away by the bird scene in Shelby County!
Oak Mountain State Park
One of the most popular spots for birding is Oak Mountain State Park. Spanning over 9,000 acres, the park is home to many bird species, including hawks, owls, and falcons. In fact, the park is home to a falconry program, where visitors can see these majestic birds up close. With over 50 miles of trails, Oak Mountain State Park offers plenty of opportunities for bird watchers to explore the park’s diverse landscape.
You can spot so many birds here, including American goldfinches, red-headed woodpeckers, and great blue herons. Some predatory birds you may see include Cooper’s hawks, red-tailed hawks, and American kestrels.
Oak Mountain State Park is also open to falconry during rabbit and squirrel season. This is one of the oldest forms of hunting, and participants must check in and be properly licensed.
Limestone Park in Alabaster has always been a preferred birding spot. Limestone Park boasts a fascinating blend of wetlands, grasslands, and the Tupelo Gum swamp, which provides a conducive environment for wading birds, swamp and marsh birds, grassland species, and certain waterfowl during winter. In migration, visitors can also spot songbirds and shorebirds. The park’s key attractions include Anhinga, which breeds here, and Bobolinks, Dickcissels, and Grasshopper Sparrows, which are usually spotted in late spring. A Roseate Spoonbill can sometimes be seen in the park in the summer.
The City of Alabaster has constructed a Birding Observation Deck that is accessible to people with disabilities, offering an excellent view of the wetlands on the northwestern side of the park, along with adjacent parking for all. This park, located in a rural industrial area in southern Shelby County, is a vital preservation of the habitat mosaic, making it an especially enticing location for bird enthusiasts.
Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve
Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve is just about six miles from the University of Montevallo campus and is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species. As you stroll through the lush surroundings filled with sycamore and Tupelo gum trees, keep an eye out for beavers and turkeys, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a rare species of coneflower.
Here’s a fun fact – “The Swamp” is a popular destination for biology and environmental science classes, offering an exciting hands-on experience to supplement your education.
What’s more, tucked away among the natural flora, you’ll find an array of abstract animal sculptures made from recycled steel that were created by UM art students. It’s a unique and creative addition to the already stunning natural surroundings.
Cahaba River Park
Cahaba River Park is a great place to go birding. The park is located along the Cahaba River, which is a major flyway for migratory birds. The park has a variety of habitats, including forests, wetlands, and meadows, which attract a variety of bird species. The best time to go birding at Cahaba River Park is during the spring and fall when the birds are migrating. However, you can see birds at the park year-round.
The park has a number of trails that are good for birding. The trails are well-maintained and easy to walk. There are also a number of benches along the trails where you can sit and watch the birds.
Buck Creek Park
Buck Creek Park, located in Alabaster, has become a popular spot for bird watching in Shelby County. Often quiet and serene, the park has a one-mile trail so you can meander and search for local feathered friends. This is also a great spot to take a picnic and count how many different birds you see.
Shoal Creek Park
Don’t miss out on the birding scene at Shoal Creek Park! This 167 acre park has plentiful species to enjoy viewing year round. Blue Grosbeaks, Summer Tanagers and Indigo Buntings are more common in the spring and summer, with Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks soaring overhead year round. The park features multiple trails adjacent to Shoal Creek, making the views amazing for bird watchers and hikers alike. There are also several bridges to make crossing the creek easy and safe.
Go Birding in Shelby County
As part of the Appalachian Highlands Birding Trail, Shelby County is a must-visit destination that offers a wide range of bird habitats, from the forested hills of the Ridge and Valley region to the lush pastures and farmlands of its river-carved valleys. In fact, you might even spot the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker while you’re there!
One of the most exciting features of this trail is the many rivers that flow through the region, including the Cahaba and the Coosa. These rivers offer plenty of opportunities for bird-watching and appreciating the area’s natural beauty. Whether you are into bird watching or birding (yes, there is a slight distinction), you will spot some rare finds in Shelby County, Alabama.
Explore more of Shelby County with Discover Shelby! Check out outdoor adventures for a day trip, weekend getaway, or even a lunch break from work!