Heron on Alabama's Beaches

3 Birdwatching Spots on Alabama’s Beaches

This is part two in a series of three blogs on birdwatching on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Birding is a popular pastime on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Both newbies and seasoned birdwatchers search for new and different areas to spy their feathered friends in native environments or migratory fashion.

If you’re new to birdwatching, no worries. It is a fun hobby where only limited equipment is needed to get started. Comfortable shoes are a must, as is a good set of binoculars (preferably one with eight to 10 times magnified vision). Some birdwatchers use their smartphonessmart phones to look up different species, but a field guide is also usefulalso a useful for quickly identifying specific birds.

The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail offers six loops in Baldwin and Mobile counties with numerous birding spots available on each loop. Three of the most popular spots and events include Fort Morgan, Audubon Bird Sanctuary and the John L. Borom Alabama Birdfest.

3 Spots for Birdwatching Near Gulf Shores

Fort Morgan Birding

Designated as one of “One Hundred Globally Important Bird Areas” by the American Bird Conservancy, Fort Morgan is vitally important in the both the spring and fall migration periods. Birds use this site for “fuel” replenishment prior to beginning the long journey over the Gulf of Mexico. Both location and habitat availability play important roles in attracting herons, seagulls and pelicans to the area.

In 1988, nearby Dauphin Island (both the town and the island) were designated a bird sanctuary and today the Audubon Bird Sanctuary is one of the top four places in North America to view spring migrations. The Sanctuary is the largest area of protected forest on the island and the first landfall opportunity for neo-tropical migrant birds following their lengthy flight across the Gulf from Central and South America every spring.  Around 420 species of birds have been observed on the island including Great Horned Owls and Bald Eagles.

John L. Borom Alabama Birdfest

The John L. Borom Alabama Birdfest is always the first full weekend of October and is a can’t-miss event for birders. With fall being one of the best times to experience migration season, Birdfest has been attracting birding enthusiasts since 2004. Birdfest is great for those new to birding, but also experienced birdwatchers flock to the Gulf Coast each October to participate, many returning multiple times. Expect more than 30 guided tours, evening dinner events, workshops and a free, family-friendly Bird & Conservation Expo. Registration for 2019 will be open from August 13 at 9 a.m. to September 21 at 4 p.m.


Find more spots for birdwatching by checking out the Alabama Coastal Connection and browse the Nature Calendar of Events to find options and opportunities for birding adventures!

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