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.
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.