5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Georgia

By Alli Hill

5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Georgia

In Georgia, it’s not uncommon to see several different species of birds on a daily basis. The Peach State is brimming with hundreds of bird species at various times of the year. Birdwatching is more than simply spotting birds as they fly overhead, it takes the right timing, knowledge, patience, and planning if you want to catch sight of something spectacular. For many travelers and locals in Georgia, birdwatching is the real sport of champions. Head to one of these five best birdwatching spots and test your skills! 

1. Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Townsend, GA

With nearly 350 species of birds coming to nest and roost, your chances of sighting one of Georgia’s most diverse bird populations is pretty high here. Woody Pond is home to the endangered wood stork. The refuge itself contains a variety of salt marshes, wetlands, freshwater ponds, hardwood forests and fields that continually attract birds to the area. Bonus points: their website offers an eBird tracker that can notify you about recent bird sightings.

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2. Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, Round Oak, GA

Home to nearly 200 species of birds, this 35,000-acre wildlife refuge offers plenty of viewing opportunities for serious birdwatchers. Inside the refuge, you’ll find a network of several hiking trails, along with the six-mile Wildlife Drive and 45 miles of gravel roadways that take you through the area for prime viewing. Most commonly seen here are varieties of warblers, woodpeckers, wood ducks, herons, hawks, chickadees, flycatchers, and wild turkey, to name a few. Neotropical songbirds are in abundance in April and May, while winter waterfowl are most likely seen during the cooler months.

3. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Folkston, GA

The Owl’s Roost Tower gives visitors a 360-degree view of the swamp and surrounding areas, perfect for bird spotting. Wading birds are no strangers to the area, and you’ll likely find plenty of sandhill cranes, egrets, herons, and the endangered wood stork. Kingfishers, woodpeckers, and bobwhites are also heard in abundance here.

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4. Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs, GA

Situated on the outskirts of Atlanta, Sweetwater Creek is a hidden gem in this major metro. The reservoir in the park is a prime fishing spot, which also makes it attractive to ducks. The park’s trail system takes visitors up rocky bluffs above the rapids and through fields and forests teeming with birdsongs. Over 300 species have been spotted here, including bald eagles, ruby throated hummingbirds, wood storks, and egrets. Migratory birds rely on this park as a resting and refueling spot, so prime viewing is in full swing in the spring and fall months. 

5. Fort Pulaski, Savannah, GA

Located on Cockspur Island, this park is home to much more than a national monument. During your visit, you have a strong chance of sighting one or more of its bird species, including bald eagles, wood stork, or terns. Pelicans and other wading birds and waterfowl are regular visitors here, as well as raptors, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and finches. The park plays an important role to painted buntings, whose neotropical homes have largely been lost. If you catch sight of this beautiful gem, consider it a treat.

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