Birdwatching in the National Heritage Area

Birdwatching is a great way to get outside and enjoy the National Heritage Area while also practicing social distancing. Here are some tips for getting outside and enjoying the NHA’s beautiful bird life: 

  1. Start a list. Many birders like to keep a list of the birds they have seen – it’s a fun way to learn more about the bird life in and around the National Heritage Area. The Atlanta Audubon Society has lists (pictured here) that you can download and print. How many of the birds have you already seen?
  2. Get up early. Two of the best times of day to see birds are in the morning and the evening (at dawn and dusk). Get up early and you’ll see a variety of bird activity that you might otherwise miss. 
  3. Stake out your spot. Spots with a variety of habitats – for example, mature trees, underbrush and a clearing – offer the opportunity to see more kinds of birds in a small space. Parking lots are in fact a great spot for birding, as they offer that mix of open space and forest cover. 
  4. Grab a guide. Having a bird guide with you is very helpful when identifying the birds you see. You can call your local bookstore and order classic guides like Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds of North America and The Sibley Guide to Birds. These guides have helped generations of birders as they identify birds in the field. You can also download an app, such as the Merlin birding app from Cornell University’s ornithology lab. Whether print or digital, a guide is an important tool as you explore the natural world. 

It’s also helpful to have tools such as binoculars, but the main things you need are your eyes and your ears. With your eyes peeled and your bird guide at hand, you’ll be ready to get outside and enjoy our avian relatives.