The beauty of the Alabama Gulf Coast is no secret. Residents and guests alike enjoy the natural elements Alabama’s beaches offer. However, humans aren’t the only ones who love to explore Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, as you can find plenty of stunning coastal birds here. When you’re on the hunt for the perfect piece of paradise to watch these beautiful birds, consider these five places perfect for birders.
Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
In nearby Fairhope, the Weeks Bay Estuarine Research Reserve public research and education facility includes some 9,000 acres of protected habitats bordering Weeks Bay and Fish and Magnolia Rivers. Complete with an interpretive center, indoor displays, live animals, and forested boardwalk nature trails, the Reserve is part of a national network of coastal reserves established as living laboratories for long-term research projects. Well-known for birdwatching, Weeks Bay also participates in the Alabama Coastal BirdFest held each year during early fall. This event is a great way to see and learn about the area’s birds and their habitats, and no previous birding experience is required.
Meaher State Park
The Mobile Delta wetlands in Spanish Fort are where you’ll discover Meaher State Park. There are many things to do in this 1,327-acre park, including a self-guided walk on two nature trails with a lovely view of the Mobile Delta. Birders can expect to see herons, red-tailed hawks, egrets, and even bald eagles. It’s a great place to bring the kids and get them hooked on birding.
Graham Creek Nature Preserve
Home to boundless plant and wildlife species, the 500-acre Graham Creek Nature Preserve in Foley offers many recreational opportunities and educational programs. There are many pet-friendly areas, multiple walking and hiking trails, and a handicap-accessible boardwalk. Enjoy the interpretive center, and don’t miss the chance for birdwatching. The preserve also hosts events throughout the year, including Feathered Friends Day and eco-educational activities.
But you don’t have to leave the island to get a glimpse of magnificent birds. During spring and fall migration, dozens of migrant species flock to Fort Morgan on their journeys to escape the cold. One of Fort Morgan’s best spots to view birds is the Stables, located near the eastern sea wall. Here you’ll find a variety of passerine migrants enjoying the comfortable coastal weather. During spring and fall, The Audubon Birding Society hosts a banding station event that visitors are welcome to attend.
Fishing & Education Pier
For those looking to watch seabirds, Gulf State Park’s Fishing and Education Pier is the place for you. Located on the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores, this pier offers a prime viewing spot for gulls and terns as well as ruddy turnstone, sanderlings, and herons. For $2, guests can walk along the pier and enjoy the incredible view. You may also spot a variety of sea life, as the pier is a popular fishing spot.
Fall and spring along the Gulf Coast of Alabama provide ideal opportunities for birdwatching. Learn more about this popular hobby, pack your binoculars for your next beach vacation, and visit the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Book a place to stay nearby!