For those of you new to us, the North Alabama Birdwatchers Society (NABS) is an informal group that focuses on birding in northern Alabama. We have been around since 1976 and are the only birding group in our area to offer a set of regularly scheduled trips each year. We visit a variety of areas across this part of the state, most of which are included on the North Alabama Birding Trail (NABT; www.northalabamabirdingtrail.com). Each summer, NABS trip leaders get together and come up with a schedule like you see here. NABS is open to everyone, including beginners, and especially young folks with an interest in birds; there are no membership dues. If you show up for an outing, you can consider yourself a member.
Our ultimate goal for any NABS outing is to give everyone an opportunity to observe (and hopefully hear) every bird species we encounter. That seldom happens, but we usually get pretty close. Our rules of etiquette are few but the ones we do have are important:
1. Be reasonably restrained, as to making noise (no dogs or unruly children);
2. While cameras are most welcome, please don’t let pic-taking disrupt the birding (see ultimate goal above);
3. Don’t get out in front of the group (flushing the birds before others can see them is not very nice);
4. Be reasonably constrained in the use of birdsong apps, pishing, etc. to attract birds, especially breeders;
5. Above all, follow the guidance of the trip leader.
By birding with NABS, you’ll have the opportunity to go out with experienced people who are familiar with the places we visit and who love to share their knowledge. NABS can also provide greater access to certain areas where it’s restricted, e.g., driving behind locked refuge gates at Wheeler NWR or visiting the privately-owned Jones’ ‘Hawk Farm’.
Although the focus is on birds, NABS outings also offer opportunities to become more generally familiar with many of the beautiful and diverse natural areas characteristic of northern Alabama. The places we’ll visit provide excellent opportunities to observe, study and appreciate a variety of flora and fauna, including wildflowers, trees, insects, reptiles/amphibians and mammals. Some NABS regulars have considerable knowledge of these other groups and would be glad to answer questions and provide information during trips.
Most of our trips are on Saturdays, although we have a few Sunday outings during the spring, when migration is in full swing. Please note that we’ve decided to change the meeting time for some of our trips: Aug-Oct and late MarchMay will meet at our usual 7 am, while Nov-early March trips will meet at 8 am. Half-day trips are the norm, although some may include extended birding into the afternoon, for those interested. Please note that, although it’s usually easy to leave early, there are a few trips behind locked gates that involve a 2- to 3-hour time commitment (see Wheeler NWR trip descriptions). Bring your binoculars, spotting scopes, field guides, refreshments, bug repellent and rain gear. We seldom officially cancel trips; if the weather is bad (heavy rain) or dangerous (icy roads, severe storms) enough to warrant cancellation, we will send out an email notice.
If we don’t already have your email address, please consider sending it to us to add to the NABS mailing list. We can then email you this schedule, as well as trip reminders, and a few other items of interest.
Send your comments, questions and suggestions to Rufina or Ken Ward (256-837-5646; firstname.lastname@example.org).
In addition, here is a copy of the schedule.