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A Nature and Travel Magazine specific to the Southern and mid-Atlantic United States.

Birding Resources

Joe Kegley

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch - Robert Kemmerlin

Where and when to bird ... everywhere and every day, at least for the serious birder.

The ubiquitous distribution of the scientific class "Aves" within the southeastern United States ensures a birder can observe some form of this biological classification during every season and at most locations. That is not to imply that every species found within the Southeast can be found anywhere at any time.

A specific bird species distribution is subject to location, habitat, and season. Other factors such as weather, disease, food source, and human disturbance, can also play a part in this distribution.

  • Where to bird ...

    As mentioned previously in the "Bird Identification" page, habitat can be used as a method of narrowing down your list of potential species during the identification process.

    Habitat can also be used as criteria for targeting specific birds to observe and add to your life list including birds that are not normally found in your backyard or even your local area. A good field guide will explain the prefered habitat a specific species requires, even better is published birding information that is specific to a distinct region.

  • When to bird ...

    While many species of birds are resident year round, many are also migratory and can only be observed during a particular season or month.

    For instance, most warbler species only inhabitat the eastern United States during the breeding season (spring and summer). Some species of warblers just pass through the southeastern region during the spring migration to inhabit and breed in areas farther north, only to reappear during the fall migration back to their wintering grounds farther south.

    Many (but not all) sparrows reside in the Southeast during the winter and return to their nesting grounds farther north during the spring and summer nesting season.

    The time of day can also be important for birding. Generally songbirds (with some exceptions) are most active in the morning and evening, while most long legged waders are active during the day. Some species like the nightjars and many owls are mainly active at night.

Birding Resources

The following are a few online birding resources a birder in the Southeast may find useful. The websites below in the "General" section contain information and tools pertaining to North America. While the websites listed under individual states contain information and tools specific to their region. Many of the regional sites list favorite birding locations within their respective boundaries.

Realize there are also very good printed publications which can be purchased that list top birding spots specific to a region .

Note: There are many government agencies and non-profit groups that manage protected lands. Many provide birding checklists available online of species found within their specific boundaries. Examples include the National Wildlife Refuge system, The Nature Conservancy, and the Audubon. These checklists usually include seasonal information on each species. If you plan to visit a specific locale managed by one of these organizations, I strongly suggest you do some searching on the internet and see if they provide a birding checklist.

  • General

    All About Birds - A website maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University. This is a free online bird guide that allows the user to search for a particular species by common name, taxonomy, or shape. The site includes information on identification, range maps, life history (habitat, food, nesting, and behavior), sounds, and video when available.

    The Birds of North America Online - An online pay subscription service hosted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The information on individual species is much more in-depth than the "All About Birds" website. Unlike the original 18 volume (18,000 pages) "Birds of North America", this online version is a living document and updated frequently.

    The home page allows access to a few sample species. This allows one to determine if the in-depth information provided is necessary or useful for their particular needs. Individual and institutional subscriptions are available.

    This website is probably more than the birding hobbyist would need. The site is more applicable to students and researchers.

  • eBirds - A tool developed by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.

    From an individual standpoint - eBird allows a person to enter and track their individual sighting and location information. Various listings of their observations can be generated automatically including a person's life list, major geographic regions, and state or county lists.

    From a birding community standpoint - One can use this tool to view compiled data on bird abundance during a specific year for a region, state, or county.

    Christmas Bird Count - Similar to the information one can retrieve from eBirds but specific to the Christmas Bird Count data for a particular region. This Christmas Bird Count is sponsored by the Audubon Society.

  • Alabama

    Alabama Coastal Birding Trail - There is a downloadable pdf guide on this site specific birding the two coastal counties in Alabama. The document describes birding spots most frequented by Alabama birders on the coast.

    North Alabama Birding Trail - There is a downloadable pdf guide to birding in Northern Alabama. See the "More Information" section for the down load.

    Alabama Ornithological Society - This website contains information on places to bird in Alabama, including pelagic birding and a Yahoo discussion group.

  • Georgia

    Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding Trail - This website provides hotspots for birding along Georgia's coast. No downloadable pdf is available.

    Georgia Ornithological Society - The "From The Field" section chronicles the seasonal occurrence and abundance of Georgia birdlife.

    Georgia Online Birders - This is a listserv application for receiving recent sighting information on Georgia birds.

  • Florida

    Great Florida Birding Trail - Four downloadable regional guides specific to the Great Florida Birding Trail are available on this website.

    Florida Ornithology Society - The "Sightings" page (look for a link to it in the left frame) has links to various compiled listserv information specific to Florida, many of these links point to information contained on 'birdingonthe.net'. The "Sightings" page also contains a link to data from the North American Migration Count for Florida.

    Florida Breeding Bird Atlas - This site has a list of breeding bird locations within Florida. From the Florida Ornithological Society website but can be hard to locate from within its main page.

    Bald Eagle Nest Locator - Lists of Bald Eagle nest locations located throughout Florida. Maintained by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

  • Kentucky

    Kentucky Ornithological Society - birding sites - This page contains popular locations for birding found in Kentucky.

    Kentucky Ornithological Society Listserv - This page allows one to subscribe and receive recent sighting information about Kentucky birds.

    Kentucky Ornithological Society - This is the home page for the Kentucky Ornithological Society and contains various information associated with birds and birding in Kentucky.

  • North Carolina

    North Carolina Birding Trail - Information on birding locations specific to the 3 regional areas of North Carolina (Coast, Piedmont, and the Mountains). The 3 regions are broken down into a series of individual pdfs for download. You'll need to click on the "Trails" link in the left frame and select a region you are interested in, then select the "group maps and site information" link available on each separate regional page to access the information.

    Carolina Bird Club - North Carolina Sites - This page includes popular North Carolina birding sites. Not much detailed information, just locations. Basically an ad for the Birding North Carolina book (which is a very worthy publication if you intend to bird in North Carolina).

    Carolina Birds Listserv - Allows one to subscribe and receive recent sighting information on birds in North and South Carolina.

  • South Carolina

    Carolina Bird Club - South Carolina Sites - This page includes popular South Carolina birding sites. Unlike the North Carolina birding sites from the same website, this one has detailed information about each birding location. You will need to click one of the balloons to be directed to this information.

    South Carolina Birder's Calendar and Birding Spots (MidNet) - This site contains information sponsored by Columbia's Audubon Society chapter. Places to bird in South Carolina are listed based on the month of the year.

    Carolina Birds Listserv - Allows one to subscribe and receive recent sighting information on birds in North and South Carolina.

  • Tennesee

    Tennessee Ornithological Society birding sites - This web page divides Tennessee into 3 sections (East, Middle, and West) and list popular birding sites for each.

    TN-Bird - The page lets one access something like a listserv application. It allows one to subscribe to an email discussion group about Tennessee birds.

  • Virginia

    Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail - Sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries the site divides Virginia into 3 sections: Coastal Trail, Piedmont Trail, and the Mountain Trail. Besides birding information, the trail descriptions also include information on mammals, reptiles, amphibians where appropriate.

    Virginia Society of Ornithology Listserv - Lets one subscribe and receive information on recent bird sightings in Virginia.

  • West Virginia

    The Brooks Bird Club - The Brooks Bird Club website offers a West Virginia listserv one can subscribe to if interested in recent bird sightings within West Virginia.

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