We know there are lots of excellent birding spots in the metro area other than the "big four" locations. We've listed here some of the other birding spots where birding can be seasonally rewarding. Let us know about good local birding sites in your area of town, and we'll include them in our list. Email your suggestions to the AAS Field Trip Director.
Check the Field Trips schedule for occasional bird walks at these sites.
Roswell, Fulton County
127 acres of woodlands, ponds, wetlands, and river: migrants, residents
I-20 Exit 44, Douglas County
Creekside and upland trail system, lake: Migrants, Waterfowl.
Multiple access points along 13.5 miles of a path along Big Creek in Fulton and Forsyth Counties.
Migrants and residents.
Dunwoody, DeKalb County
135-acre multi-use park with a lake and woodland trails: waterfowl, migrants, residents.
Midtown Atlanta, Fulton County
Open parkland, woodlands, wetlands, lake: migrants, residents, woodpeckers, waterfowl, and waders
East of Atlanta, DeKalb County
World's largest exposed granite monolith: migrants, residents.
I-20 Exit 68, Rockdale County
Creekside and upland trail system, lake: migrants, waterfowl.
Dawsonville (north of Atlanta), Dawson County
Old fields, wetlands, freshwater ponds, and mixed pine/hardwood forests: migrants, residents, waterfowl.
Kennesaw, Cobb County.
Woodland, meadow, and creek: migrants, residents
Kennesaw, Cobb County.
Wetlands and woodlands: migrants, residents
The Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC) sits on 127 acres adjacent to the Chattahoochee River and includes forest, wetland, and river habitats. The facility also includes a Wildlife Walk which showcases native raptors including bald eagles. CNC is a private, non-profit with 2.5 miles of trails, an interpretive center, and gardens. There is an admission fee to access the grounds, and the facility is open daily 10am-5pm Monday-Saturday and 12-5pm Sundays. Free parking, restroom, and snacks available. Consider a visit to CNC for first-time birders and birding with children.
CNC is a great spot to view not only common yard birds in a beautiful and natural setting, but also great to view spring and fall migrants along the trails, and wading birds and winter ducks in the wetlands. Seasonal highlights include warblers, swallows, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, kinglets, Sandhill Crane, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Belted Kingfisher, herons, Wood Duck, and more. Many visitors also enjoy getting a chance to view and photograph native raptors in the Wildlife Walk.
CNC offers seasonal canoe trips to get visitors onto the river and gives birders a chance to bird on the river.
For more recent sightings, see eBird posts http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L668713?yr=all&m=&rank=mrec&hs_sortBy=date&hs_o=desc
From GA 400: Exit 6 Northridge. Turn onto Dunwoody Place, continuing to the intersection of Roswell Road. Turn right. Cross over the Chattahoochee River and turn left onto Azalea Drive. At 2nd traffic light, turn left onto Willeo Road. We are located ½ mile on right.
From Marietta & West: Take GA 120 (also called Marietta Highway) east towards Roswell. Cross Johnson Ferry Road and travel about 4 miles to traffic light at the intersection of Willeo Road. Turn right at light. We are located 1 mile on right..
Sweetwater Creek State Park is the Georgia State Park closest to the metro Atlanta area. Seven miles of trails, shaded streams, and a lake, support some interesting species during migration and in the winter, including Red-breasted Merganser, Common Goldeneye, and Greater Scaup, for the rarer species. Occasionally, Bald Eagles and Ospreys are seen there.
An access trail leads to Sweetwater Creek itself and traverses a hardwood forest, leading to the creekside trail with its shoals area, extended trail system, and the ruins of an old Civil War mill. Birding is slower here in the summer since the main attraction at Sweetwater is the lake, bringing in the migratory and overwintering waterfowl.
For more information, see Birding Georgia by Giff Beaton (Falcon Publishing, 2000).
Directions: From Atlanta, take I-20 west to Exit #44 at Thornton Road, which is the third exit west of I-285. Turn left onto Thornton Road and go 1/4 mile. Turn right on Blair’s Bridge Road, and after 2.1 miles at a 4-way stop, turn left on Mount Vernon Road. Go 1.3 miles on Mount Vernon Rd then take a left onto Factory Shoals Road. Go 0.6 miles to the end of Factory Shoals to the parking lot at the Office/Interpretive Center. A map detailing the seven miles of woodland trails around the area is available at the office. Alternatively, you can purchase a $50 annual parking pass good at all State Parks. If you have a library card to any Georgia public library, you can "check out" a ParkPass ahead of time, exempting you from parking fees.
Big Creek Greenway is a linear park in the city limits of Roswell and Alpharetta and into Forsyth County. The paved paths make handicapped access easy. The greenway follows Big Creek, a tributary of the Chattahoochee River. The southern section of the greenway in Roswell/Alpharetta is good for flycatchers, vireos, raptors, woodpeckers, migrating warblers and tanagers, and common breeders like Indigo Bunting and Common Yellowthroat. The wetland areas in this section are good for some waterfowl (Mallard, teals, Hooded Mergansers) and waders (Great Blue Herons, Green Herons, and night-herons).
The northern section in Forsyth County is primarily bottomland hardwood forest, punctuated in several places by small pastures, seasonal ponds, permanent swamps, and successional scrub. This habitat is productive during spring and fall migration with an excellent diversity of neotropical migrants including over 20 species of warblers. Breeding birds include Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Barred Owl, Red-headed Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Acadian Flycatcher, Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky Warbler, and Indigo Bunting. Winter residents include Hooded Merganser, Hermit Thrush, Winter Wren, Brown Creeper, Rusty Blackbird as well as Fox, Field, and Swamp Sparrows.
The Roswell/Alpharetta section runs 7.2 miles between Big Creek Park in Roswell to Webb Bridge Rd. The Forsyth section runs 6.8 miles from McFarland Pkwy to Bethelview Rd. You can park at the start and finish of the trail as well as at Fowler Park. The two sections of the trail are not contiguous with each other. There are several entry points for the western section that have parking and restrooms. McFarland and Bethelview parking areas for the eastern section are gravel and only have portable toilets; parking area at Fowler Park has full restrooms and water fountains. Refer to the map in the link below for further information.
Directions: There are multiple ways to access the greenway. For information, check the Big Creek Greenway map.
Murphey Candler Park is a 135-acre multi-use park in northern DeKalb County. Multiple habitats (a lake, wetlands, hardwoods, pines) plus sports fields provide species diversity. It is a good site for Great Blue Herons, hawks, Belted Kingfishers, Eastern Bluebirds, Song Sparrows, Canada Geese, and Mallards year round; and Green Herons, Gray Catbirds, and Barn and Northern Rough-winged Swallows in summer. While it is not a hotspot for migrating warblers, but some are seen.
Occasionally there are additional waterfowl species like Hooded Mergansers in winter, and sandpipers or other shorebirds in migration. Some of the trail is level, but there are several steep spots and a number of stretches where the surface is uneven and has exposed tree roots. Many parts of the trail are muddy and/or slippery after rains; plan your footwear accordingly. Restrooms are available.
Directions: From I-285 on the N side of Atlanta, take exit 29. Go south on Ashford Dunwoody Rd. about 0.95 mile, then turn left onto W Nancy Creek Drive NE. Drive 0.6 mile to the second parking area on your left, across the dam and at the SE corner of the lake.
For more information, see the Murphey Candler Park Conservancy Website.
Piedmont Park is located approximately 2 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta in midtown Atlanta. Habitats here include open parkland, woodlands, wetland, a lake and a creek. The site is reliable for Red-Headed Woodpeckers in any season. Hawks are often seen in the open areas and in the woodlands. The lake is good for waterfowl in winter. A new boardwalk leads through the Six Springs Wetland and is good for Red-winged Blackbirds, woodpeckers, and sparrows. Dark-eyed Juncos are plentiful in winter. The park is a good place to see resident birds.
Directions: The park runs along 10th Street (a block west of 10th & Monroe Avenue to a block east of 10th & Piedmont Avenue) and Piedmont Avenue (12th & Piedmont to just before 15th & Piedmont).
For more information, see the Piedmont Park Conservancy Website.
Stone Mountain is the world's largest exposed granite monolith. The Songbird Trail is on the site of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games venue for Archery and Cycling. The Songbird Habitat is managed in an early successional stage & is an excellent spot for Indigo Buntings, Yellow-breasted Chats, Sparrows, Blue Grosbeaks, and others. During migration many of the wood warblers and other migrants will be here, too.
Directions: Atlanta go east on Hwy US-78 to exit #8 (Stone Mountain Park entrance). There is a $10 daily parking fee to enter Stone Mountain Park. The annual parking pass is $35.
For more information, see Stone Mountain Songbird Habitat Trail.
Panola Mountain is a small, pristine 100-acre granite outcrop similar to Stone Mountain. Its rare ecosystem has not changed for centuries. Habitats include a lake, forest, and grassland (Power of Flight area). The lake is good for waterfowl in winter and spring. The grassland is good for sparrows, especially in winter.
Directions: For directions, please visit the Panola Mountain Park map. If you intend to visit the Power of Flight area, please let the park office know you plan to go there when you enter the park. Bring $5 cash for the daily parking fee. Alternatively, you can purchase a $50 annual parking pass good at all State Parks. If you have a library card to any Georgia public library, you can "check out" a ParkPass ahead of time, exempting you from parking fees. For full details go to Things to Know about Georgia State Parks.
Dawson Forest WMA is a large area of varied habitat near the Etowah River in Dawson County. The marshy wetlands hosts breeding species including Common Yellowthroat, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Orchard Oriole, and Yellow-breasted Chat. The forest edges is host all four common Georgia vireos - Red-eyed, White-eyed, Blue-headed, and Yellow-throated as well as Wood Thrush, Great Crested Flycatcher, Scarlet Tanager, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Ovenbird, Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo. In late fall and winter, a selection of sparrows including Chipping, Field, Savannah, Fox, Swamp, Song, White-throated, and White-crowned are all possible in the fields. There is a nice blind with a bench overlooking the pond where you can look for waterfowl and waders. Winter residents include Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, and plenty of Yellow-rumped Warblers.
Directions: Head north from Atlanta on GA 400 for approximately 37 miles north of I-285 until you see the North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall on your left. Turn left at a light just before the outlet mall, onto Dawson Forest Road. Go west on Dawson Forest Road for a total of 4.0 miles, where you will come to a stop sign at GA Hwy 9. Continue straight across GA Hwy 9 for another 1.5 miles until you reach the main gate for Dawson Forest WMA Atlanta Tract.
For more information, see Birding Georgia by Giff Beaton (Falcon Publishing, 2000).
Leone Hall Price Park is a passive park in Cobb County park that spans 126 acres. The site offers a variety of habitats including a forest, meadows, and Allatoona Creek.
Directions: From exit 277 on I-75, go south on Cowan Road for 1.5 miles to intersection with Old Georgia 293/S Main St. Turn left and go 1 mile to intersection with Nance Road. Turn right and go south on this road for 4 miles. Along the way its name will change to Acworth Due West Road NW. At the intersection with Stilesboro Road NW, turn right onto Stilesboro Rd. The parking lot will be in 0.8 miles on your left.
For more information, see the Friends of Price Park website.
The Noonday Creek Trail is a multi-use trail in Cobb County. Habitats include woodlands and wetlands. Easy trail for beginning birders. Birds are mostly residents and breeding species.
Directions: From I-75 take exit 269. Drive west on Ernest W Barrett Pkwy for 1.4 miles. Turn right and drive 0.3 miles on Cobb Pkwy NW to the KFC parking lot on your right. The trailhead is 180 feet west of the KFC parking lot entrance on Cobb Pkwy NW.