With its remarkable history alone, Georgia is a popular destination for tourists. Besides its fascinating sights and tourist spots, this state is famous for its wildlife. This state’s landscapes greatly vary, including mountains, coastal plains, rivers, forests, and marshes. Same as the variety of wildlife in this place’s habitat.
The number of wildlife in Georgia is in good numbers, as it is one of the many states in the country to have the highest number of ecosystems suitable for different species of animals: There are over 90 species of mammals, 84 species of reptiles, 80 species of amphibians, 265 species of fish, and about 347 species of birds. With the wildlife present in this place, it is no surprise that this is also an excellent spot for those who love to wander around nature and meet different types of animals.
About Birds and Bird-watching in Georgia
If you are an avid fan of birds and are a bird-watcher, then this place is a must-go-to. Thanks to its national wildlife refuges serving the purpose of protecting various habitats from woodlands to wetlands, there are so many easy ways to explore wildlife areas and various birding sites with hiking trails, guided tours, and much more.
Are you planning to feast your eyes on beautiful, rare, and fascinating birds? Then this place is just for you. Today, we are looking at Georgia’s five best bird-watching spots to feed your bird-lover heart and explore superb places simultaneously in this state.
1. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
|Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park|
|Number of bird species spotted||208 bird species|
|Birds to spot||Bald eagle, Peregrine falcon, Red-headed woodpecker, Olive-sided flycatcher|
Preserving a once civil war battleground of the Atlanta Campaign, the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is an excellent place for history buffs and wildlife lovers at the same time. If you are neither of the two, then this place is still great for other recreational activities such as biking on paved roadways, hiking more than 18 miles of interpretive trails, picnicking, and running.
For people who want to do bird-watching, this battlefield park is also an excellent bird habitat as it is considered Georgia’s best location for spotting native and migrating land birds. The best times to spot birds here are from mid-April to mid-May and mid-August to mid-October, as these are the migration seasons of some bird species. From mid-April to mid-May, finding 15 to 20 species of warblers on an ordinary morning is a ubiquitous sight. Try walking up the park’s 1.2-mile paved road and watch the treetops for birds such as thrushes, warblers, orioles, tanagers, and even songbirds. If you also want to spot the uncommon Cerulean Warbler, going to this park in late April is the best time. This species has declined in recent decades, and it is considered rare to spot one these days. Other bird species are the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, red-headed woodpecker, olive-sided flycatcher, Canada warbler, and a hundred more.
2. Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
|Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge|
|Number of bird species spotted||342 species|
|Birds to spot||white pelican, Great egret, Wood stork, White ibis|
Considered the home to the largest wood stork colony in Georgia, the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge is also one of the top birding sites in the state. Its many impoundments are an excellent habitat for a dozen species of nesting wading birds. Its central breeding area at Woody Pond fosters birds such as the great blue heron, great egret, snowy egret, cattle egret, green heron, and white ibis.
This park offers a four-mile auto tour to observe more bird species such as the osprey, red-headed woodpecker, brown pelican, and wood duck. This tour goes through some maritime forests as this place was a former military airfield back then, now a breeding, nesting, and migrating site for many bird species. The most prominent songbird spotted here is the Painted Bunting, a bird with very bright and vivid colors, making it a favorite among both birders and non-birders.
3. Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge
|Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge|
|Number of bird species spotted||Over 200 bird species|
|Birds to spot||Red-cockaded woodpecker, Wild turkey, Prairie warbler, Sparrow|
Want to explore vast wildlife and recreational areas? The Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge is the place for you. This 35,000-acre wildlife refuge mainly consists of a pine and hardwood forest with wetland areas and ponds that add to its diversity. This place has a 50-mile gravel road for tourists, which can also serve as a viewing spot for various animal species.
For birders out there, you might not want to miss a chance to visit this park, as it is home to over 200 bird species. The most notable and famous among birders is the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, which nests in pine forests. The refuge’s abundant pine trees provide a safe habitat for these endangered birds. Other bird species that can be spotted here are the wild turkey, prairie warbler, red-shouldered hawk, red-headed woodpecker, orchard oriole, hooded warbler, and other species of migrant songbirds.
4. Jekyll Island
|Number of bird species spotted||300 bird species|
|Birds to spot||Osprey, Clapper rail, White pelican, American avocet|
Once called the Jekyll Island Club, where wealthy families built vacation houses, Jekyll Island is now managed by the state of Georgia to provide a wide array of vacation facilities, including hotels and campgrounds, and many recreational opportunities.
This is also one of Georgia’s places with the highest number of bird species, making it a popular spot for birders. This place is rich in marshes, beaches, and mudflats, making it a perfect area for waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds. There are also designated birding observation areas here, allowing birders to spot various bird species, such as the American avocet, osprey, clapper rail, white pelican, peregrine falcon, common eider, and more.
5. St. Simons Island
|St. Simons Island|
|Number of bird species spotted||Over 250 bird species|
|Birds to spot||American oystercatcher, Reddish egret, Gray kingbird, Whimbrel|
Next to Jekyll Island is the bigger St. Simons Island, which has great beaches for recreational opportunities such as swimming and picnicking but can also serve as an excellent spot for birding.
The southeast part of the island, Gould’s Inlet, is the best beach viewing in the state of Georgia for gulls, shorebirds, and terns. During the low tide, spotting the reddish egret will not be as hard as you think it might be here. Whenever it is summer or even winter, there are still birds to be spotted here, such as the American oystercatcher, gray kingbird, whimbrel, piping plover, woodpeckers, and ospreys.
Summary of Georgia’s 5 Best Bird-Watching Spots
Here’s a summary of the 5 best bird-watching spots in Georgia, how many species you can find, and which birds to especially spot while there:
|Number||Spot||# of birds||birds to spot|
|1||Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park||208 bird species||Bald eagle, Peregrine falcon, Red-headed woodpecker, Olive-sided flycatcher|
|2||Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge||342 bird species||White pelican, Great egret, Wood stork, White ibis|
|3||Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge||Over 200 bird species||Red-cockaded woodpecker, Wild turkey, Prairie warbler, Sparrow|
|4||Jekyll Island||300 bird species||Osprey, Clapper rail, White pelican, American avocet|
|5||St. Simons Island||Over 250 bird species||American oystercatcher, Reddish egret, Gray kingbird, Whimbrel|
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