According to the Audubon Society, some of the best birding hotspots are right here in Georgia, so gear up and get ready for your best bird watching experience. From Augusta to Savannah to Atlanta, here are the best places to bird watch in the Peach State.
Georgia Audubon, an independent chapter of the National Audubon Society, suggests a number of different sites for avid bird watchers. Having been around since 1926, the chapter and its 2,000 members help birders have the best possible experience by providing the latest in information on Georgia’s most popular bird watching sites, often offering birding field trips for interested visitors.
2941 Hwy. 180 Spur, Hiawassee, GA 30546
Located in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, Brasstown Bald is north Georgia’s premier bird watching hotspot.
Expect to see: Ruffed grouse, blue-headed vireo, common raven, winter wren, veery, chestnut-sided warbler, black-throated blue warbler, black-throated green warbler, Canada warbler, dark-eyed junco, broad-winged hawk, pileated woodpecker, wood thrush, ovenbird, worm-eating warbler, hooded warbler, scarlet tanager and rose-breasted grosbeak
Georgia’s Colonial Coast Birding Trail
Varies by site, but follows the Georgia coastline
Georgia’s Colonial Coast Birding Trail is perfect for beach goers and historians alike. Brush up on Georgia’s rich colonial history as you explore sandy beaches in search of everything from clapper rails to florid pink roseate spoonbills.
Expect to see: Over 300 species of birds, accounting for roughly 75% of the total species found in Georgia
900 Kennesaw Mountain Dr., Kennesaw, GA 30152
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is a migrant stepover worth visiting, especially for those looking to spot raptors and Cerulean Warblers. It was also the first location in Georgia to be recognized by the Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area.
Expect to see: Warblers, vireos, thrushes and tanagers
Newman Wetlands Center and E.L. Huie Ponds
2755 Freeman Rd., Hampton, GA 30228
The Newman Wetlands Center and the nearby E.L. Huie Ponds are perfect spots for birders that appreciate variety, especially shorebirds and waterfowl.
Expect to see: Prothonotary and Kentucky warblers, Louisiana waterthrush, various shorebirds and waterfowl
Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve
2580 Pine Bluff Dr., Decatur, GA 30033
Decatur’s Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve features wetlands, beaver ponds, pine groves, floodplain and more worth exploring. While checking out the local birds, get ready to run into beavers, foxes, turtles, snakes, frogs, rabbits and more.
Expect to see: warblers, hawks, woodpeckers, flycatchers, sedge wren, marsh wren, hooded merganser, blue-winged teal, ring-necked duck and great-horned owl
Phinizy Swamp Nature Park
1858 Lock and Dam Rd., Augusta, GA 30906
Phinizy Swamp Nature Park is Augusta’s bird watching crown jewel. Filled with ducks, summer birds and waders, the swamp offers great sites year around.
Expect to see: moorhen, purple gallinule, least bittern, great egret, little blue heron, Virginia, king and sora
Chattahoochee Nature Center
9135 Willeo Road, Roswell, GA 30075
Chattahoochee Nature Center, located just off the Chattahoochee River, is perfect for spotting spring and fall migrants, as well as common yard birds.
Expect to see: Warblers, swallows, ruby-throated hummingbird, kinglets, sandhill crane, bald eagle, osprey, belted kingfisher, herons and wood duck
Altamaha Waterfowl Management Area
2613 US Highway 17, Darien, GA 31305
Altamaha Waterfowl Management Area, located in Darien, is one of the best bird watching hotspots in the state, especially during the winter.
Expect to see: herons and egrets, glossy ibis, common moorhen, blue- and green-winged teal, northern shoveler, mottled duck, least bittern, purple gallinule and painted bunting
Murphey Candler Park
1551 West Nancy Creek Drive, Brookhaven, GA 30319
Murphey Candler Park is Brookhaven’s haven for a wide range of bird species. It’s a year-round home for hawks, great blue herons, Canada geese, mallards and more.
Expect to see: Great blue herons, hawks, belted kingfishers, eastern bluebirds, song sparrows, Canada geese, mallards, green herons, gray catbirds, barn and northern rough-winged swallows, migrating warblers, hooded mergansers and sandpipers
Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
5000 Wildlife Drive, Townsend, GA 31331-9625
Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, located 30 miles south of Savannah, is a wonderful year-round birding spot. The big draw is the site’s reputation as the largest colony of wood storks in the entire state.
Expect to see: wood storks, ducks, waders and painted buntings
Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area
5872 Highway 53 W, Dawsonville, GA 30534
Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area, near Dawsonville’s Etowah River, is a marshy wetland filled with Georgia vireos, sparrows, warblers and much more.
Expect to see: common yellowthroat, indigo bunting, blue grosbeak, orchard oriole, yellow-breasted chat, several varieties of vireos, wood thrush, great crested flycatcher, scarlet tanager, blue-gray gnatcatcher, ovenbird, yellow-throated warbler, pine warbler, yellow-billed cuckoo, brown creeper, winter wren, golden-crowned kinglet, ruby-crowned kinglet, hermit thrush and yellow-rumped warblers.
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