Birding in Gulf Shores, Alabama – Trails, Conservation, and Migrations

The Fort Morgan and Gulf Shores areas bring tourists from far and wide year after year. You’ll find everything in coastal Alabama from incredible white sand beaches to fresh seafood, fun shopping, and family friendly attractions. No matter what you and your family are interested in, you can find it in the Gulf Shores area!

While there are certainly attractions for every interest, one of the most popular free things to do in coastal Alabama is birdwatching, as there are plenty of native and migratory species throughout the year. Even if you’ve never been birdwatching before, you’ll come to love this unique hobby on our shores. Best of all, you can easily spot an infinite variety of birds near any of our Gulf Shores rentals. Here is our complete guide to making the most of your birding experience in coastal Alabama.

One of the most popular things to do in coastal Alabama is birdwatching, as there are plenty of species to see. You'll love this unique hobby on our shores.

Best Birding Locations Near Gulf Shores

There are plenty of incredible nature preserves in Gulf Shores where you can watch birds to your heart’s content. The Coastal Birding Trail that winds through Baldwin and Mobile Counties gives visitors over 200 miles of terrain to spot any species you may desire. Each loop covers different ecological regions that are home to various species, so you’ll find a new variety anywhere you turn! There’s truly something new to discover around each loop, and all of the trails are easy to navigate for any age and skill level.

Another great location for bird watching in Gulf Shores is the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. You can spend the day strolling along the nature trails and peeking into the trees to spot the various species, and you can take advantage of their educational resources to learn more about the birds you discover. There are also plenty more attractions here to get the whole family involved, even if they’re not as interested in bird watching. The Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge is located at 12295 AL-180. They are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., and entrance is free of charge.

Finally, it’s worth the trip to nearby Dauphin Island to visit the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. This is a particularly great place to be during the spring migrations, but any time of year, you can explore the 137 acres of forest, marshes, and dunes. The three-mile trail system is perfect for viewing any of the 420 species of birds that have been observed on the island! The Audubon Bird Sanctuary is located at 211 Bienville Boulevard on Dauphin Island. They are open daily, and there is no admission fee.

Conservation and History

As of now, there have been 445 species of birds documented throughout the state of Alabama. With such a wide number of species throughout the state, it is important to protect the various ecosystems that these birds call home.

These conservation efforts have led to the creation of wildlife refuges like Bon Secour, as well as establishments like the Alabama Wildlife Center and the Alabama Wildlife Federation.

The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail is one of the most popular conservation efforts in the area and has been a staple of the area since the late 1990s. The various ecological regions covered by the trails give birders opportunities to spot incredible species while providing the birds themselves with a comfortable and secure place to rest on their travels.

Book Your Visit

Our Gulf view rentals provide the perfect place for you to rest your head on your Alabama vacation, and they’re all conveniently located near some incredible bird-watching opportunities, so you’re never far from the spectacular nature of Alabama. Our friendly staff is dedicated to assisting you throughout the entire booking process and during your stay. Ready to plan your Gulf Shores vacation? Contact us today to learn more about our properties!

About the Fall Migration

In the fall, birdwatchers are likely to see varieties of shorebirds as they make a pit stop in Alabama on their journey towards warmer Southern climates. Warblers are common during September, and they are easiest to spot after a fall shower. You’re also likely to find Philadelphia vireos in September, as well as tree swallows and bank swallows. Ruby-crowned kinglets arrive in early October, and you may even see larger species like raptors. The breeding American Kestrel is relatively easy to spot in the fall, and you may even catch a merlin or a peregrine falcon.

About the Spring Migration

In the spring, visitors to Alabama will spot varieties of birds coming home from their winter migration. The shore birds return to Alabama in early March, with even more species to be found throughout the months of April and May. This migration is the best time to see warbler varieties like the Canada, Cape May, Bay breasted, black throated blue, and more. You’re also likely to see the arrival of hummingbirds, as well as wrens, mockingbirds, and flycatchers building their nests.

Visit Gulf Shores Nature Preserves For Bird Watching

Bird Species to Look For

There is never a bad day for bird watching in Alabama, but there are a few specific species to look out for. Some of the most common species throughout the year include the red-winged blackbird, the great blue heron, the northern mockingbird, the Northern Cardinal, and the European starling. You should also be on the lookout for varieties like the eastern meadowlark, the killdeer, and the rufous-sided towhee. There are also tons of varieties of warblers throughout the year, so though these little birds may be a bit harder to spot, it’s worth it to search for the majestic creatures and see how many different species you can find!

Learn More about Birding

Birdwatching is a great activity for visitors of all ages, and there’s plenty to be learned whether you are just starting out in the hobby or you’ve been doing it for years. If you’re in the area in the fall, the Alabama Coastal Birdfest is not to be missed. This weekend-long event is a great opportunity to learn more about the birds you can spot throughout Alabama, where you can meet with fellow bird-watching enthusiasts and get up-close-and-personal with local species, as well as other native wildlife to the area.

The Gulf State Park Nature Center and Education Center is another great place to get more information about the birds of Alabama. The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails also offers plenty of learning opportunities and a rich education center to educate you on everything you see. Additionally, you may opt to go on a nature or wildlife tour. This is a great option if you’d like an experienced guide to take you through the most gorgeous ecosystems of coastal Alabama and tell you about all the birds you might spot.

Choose Your Beach Vacation Rental

Since Alabama has so many incredible birds passing through all year round, you’re likely to even spot a few varieties near our Gulf Shores vacation rentals! Simply look out your window or step onto your balcony to see which species you can spot flying right past you. After a long day of sightseeing, our Gulf Shores rentals are the perfect place to return to for some extra quality time with your family or to get ready for a night on the town.