Georgia's Top Birding Spots Are Found Near the Atlantic Shore

Posted by Christy Caplan
Georgia Birds

Georgia has tons of protected land in the Southeast, especially along its coastline, making for great birding. This list of Georgia birds is categorized by the most popular birding spots.

According to the Audubon, "a high percentage of Georgia's coastline remains undeveloped, free of beach houses and hotels, still home to shorebirds and songbirds." Many of the state's top birding sites are found on or near the Atlantic shore.

Birding in the Peach State has ten important birding spots. These are all from the Audubon resource about Georgia birds. 

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge

The main breeding area at Woody Pond host Anhinga, Least Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Black-Crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, and Glossy Ibis.

Jekyll Island

The southern tip is one of most famous birding sites in Georgia, with possibilities such as sea ducks (winter), Northern Gannet (winter), shorebirds including American Avocet and American Oystercatcher, jaegers (winter), gulls, and terns. Many rarities have appeared here over the years, including Common Eider and Great Shearwater.

Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge

"One notable refuge resident is Red-cockaded Woodpecker, an endangered species that nests in mature pine forest with open understory. The refuge manages pinewoods for the benefit of this woodpecker. Brown-headed Nuthatch and Bachman's Sparrow can also be found in this habitat."

Nesting birds here include Wood Duck, Northern Bobwhite, Wild Turkey, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-headed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Wood Thrush, Kentucky Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, and Orchard Oriole.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

"18 miles of trails wind through the 2,965-acre park, the usual birding strategy is very simple: walk up the 1.2-mile paved road and back down again, watching the trees for vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, orioles, and other songbirds. Though seeing, for instance, a Blackburnian Warbler usually involves a neck-straining look up into treetop, the terrain here means that treetops beside the road are often at eye level, offering a unique vantage that makes it easier to locate the birds."

E. L. Huie Land Application Facility and Newman Wetlands Center

Most of the ducks are dabblers such as Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, and Green-winged Teal, but, over the years, unusual species such as Black-bellied Whistling-Duck and White-winged Scoter have shown up.

"Summer breeders and residents include Wood Duck, Green Heron, Red-shouldered Hawk, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Red-headed Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Wood Thrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Prothonotary Warbler, Eastern Towhee, and Summer Tanager."

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

"Visit the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area southwest of Folkston, and be sure to enjoy the excellent exhibits in the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center. The endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker nests in this area in mature longleaf pines. Keep a close look out for it on the Swamp Island Drive here; nest trees are often marked with white rings. In the pines you might also find Brown-headed Nuthatch, Pine Warbler, and Bachman's Sparrow."

Altamaha Wildlife Management Area

A few of the birds that might be found here are Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, Wood Stork, Anhinga, American Bittern (winter), Least Bittern (summer), Roseate Spoonbill (summer), Osprey, Bald Eagle, four species of rails, Purple Gallinule (summer), Black-necked Stilt (summer), Gull-billed Tern (summer), Marsh Wren, and Painted Bunting.

Brasstown Bald

Around the parking area, trails, and visitor center at the top are Ruffed Grouse, Blue-headed Vireo, Common Raven, Winter Wren, Veery, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Canada Warbler, and Dark-eyed Junco.

"The three-mile road up to the summit from Highway 180 has several roadside pullouts where birders can stop. Along the way as well as at the top might be found Broad-winged Hawk, Pileated Woodpecker, Wood Thrush, Ovenbird, Worm-eating Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak."

Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge--Bradley Unit

Winter is the most popular birding time here. Twenty-two waterfowl species are listed in the Bradley Unit, including Greater White-fronted Goose (occasional) and Canvasback. Other winter possibilities include American Bittern, Bald Eagle, King Rail, Virginia Rail, Sora, Sandhill Crane, Barn Owl, and many sparrows including Le Conte's.

Species seen in breeding season or throughout the year include Wood Duck, Northern Bobwhite, Wood Stork (late summer and fall), Anhinga, Least Bittern, many wading birds including Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and White Ibis, Osprey, Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, Common Ground-Dove, Prothonotary Warbler, Eastern Towhee, and Blue Grosbeak.

Tybee Island

Some noteworthy possible birds: all three scoters, Long-tailed Duck, Red-throated Loon, Northern Gannet, Osprey, Bald Eagle, American Oystercatcher, Piping Plover, Red Knot, Great Black-backed Gull, and Black Skimmer. Tybee is the best place in Georgia to find wintering Purple Sandpiper, on rock jetties at North Beach. Tybee is also known as a place to find Painted Bunting in spring and summer.

The marshes west of Tybee Island and on Cockspur Island, where Fort Pulaski National Monument is located, can host many wading birds, Clapper Rail, shorebirds, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Nelson's Sparrow, Saltmarsh Sparrow, and Seaside Sparrow.

Other birds of Georgia that belong on this list?

Hairy Woodpecker, Common Grackle, Pine Siskin, Meadowlark, Sapsucker, Barn Swallow, Gray Catbird, Starling, Purple Finch, Cowbird, Mourning Dove, House Sparrow, Vultures, Chipping Sparrows, Kingfisher, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Flycatcher, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Mockingbird, Indigo Bunting, Carolina Chickadee, American Robin, Downy Woodpecker, and American Goldfinch.

Have you ever seen or heard of these wild birds? Please leave us a comment below!

WATCH NOW: Budgerigars Are Little Birds!

recommended for you

Georgia's Top Birding Spots Are Found Near the Atlantic Shore