Enjoy bird watching at OMSP

Oak Mountian State Park is a great location for birdwatching. (Contributed)

Oak Mountian State Park is a great location for birdwatching. (Contributed)

By EMILY COOK / Community Columnist

Are you a bird watcher? If so, make a trip to Oak Mountain State Park because we are a favorite place for birds to live, as well as stop by on their migration south for the winter and north for the summer. We have approximately 400 to 450 different species of birds that call Alabama home or visit during migration. We are in a migratory flyway and because of our relatively mild winters & great habitats; we support a great diversity of birds, as well as animals in general.

Some of the birds that you might find throughout the park are northern cardinals, eastern bluebirds, red-tailed hawks, tufted titmice, and eastern phoebes, just to name a few. You can find the eastern bluebirds along John Findley Drive, where they like to visit the golf course and the open areas surrounding it. Red-tailed hawks soar above the park looking for food to eat, which is plentiful here. Tufted titmice and Eastern Phoebes can be heard practicing their songs in the woods, especially near Treetop Nature Trail.

With four lakes at Oak Mountain State Park, we are the perfect place for watching for water birds. Some water birds that you might see are belted kingfishers, great blue herons, mallards, Canada geese, green herons and wood ducks. The great blue heron is a large bird that often can be seen walking the edges of the water in search of fish to eat.

Migratory birds that can be found visiting Oak Mountain are cedar waxwings, dark-eyed juncos, scarlet and summer tanagers, as well as broad-winged hawks. Cedar waxwings and dark-eyed juncos can be found along Terrace Drive. The scarlet tanagers, summer tanagers and broad-winged hawks can be found frequently at the top of Double Oak Mountain.

As you can tell, we are a great place for bird-watching. Oak Mountain State Park is part of the Alabama Birding Trail, along with several other locations in Shelby County. To learn more about the trail, visit Alabamabirdingtrails.com/.

Please remember that you keep Alabama State Parks open by visiting them. For more information on Oak Mountain, visit Alapark.com/oak-mountain-state-park.