Trip Schedule, Winter 2022-2023

Ring-necked Duck

10. Wheeler NWR Audubon Christmas Bird Count (NABT) – 17 December, 2022 (SATURDAY) 5:30 am

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the oldest and largest citizen science event in the worlThe Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the oldest and largest citizen science event in the world. For over a hundred years, people have gathered during the winter holiday season to identify and count birds. In the process, they have created a vast pool of bird data that is a valuable source of information on the status and distribution of early winter bird populations. Parties of birders are assigned to different parts of a count circle, 15 miles in diameter, to identify and count all birds seen or heard from dawn to dusk. There are currently 14 active count circles in Alabama and over 2000 nationwide. Wheeler is one of the more productive inland count areas around, usually yielding 115-120 species, and always including some unusual birds. Birders of all skill levels are welcome and needed; we go in all types of weather. If you can’t do the whole day but would still like to participate, we should be able to connect you with a party leader to arrange that (contact Dwight by 1 December). To join a party, meet at the Wheeler NWR Interpretive Nature (Visitor) Center, south off Hwy 67, east of Decatur. From I-65 take exit 334 and head toward Decatur; after crossing the water, the road to the Visitor Center will be on the left (watch for a sign on the right). We’ll regroup there at sundown for the tally (compilation), which is a lot of fun. Bring binoculars, a spotting scope, if you have one, your camera, if you wish and lunch. (34.547406 -86.951136). – Dwight Cooley, Leader/Compiler (256-565-6239;

11. Cullman Audubon Christmas Bird Count – 18 December, 2022 (SUNDAY) 6:30 am

Another Christmas Count that sometimes gets overlooked in northern Alabama is held in the Cullman area. Counters meet at Culpepper Real Estate (601 7th Ave SW, Cullman, AL 35055, close to the Post Office) to assign areas to be covered. This count is frequently short-handed, so we hope some of you will consider helping out. Those who want to help for part of the day (morning or afternoon) can also participate. -Vince Meleski, Leader/Compiler (256-962-3688;

12. Waterloo AL Audubon Christmas Bird Count – 19 December 2022 (MONDAY)

Coordination with compiler is required before the count. This date is a change from historically first Saturday count, hoping to increase participation by folks involved in other first Saturday counts (Hint, Hint, Wheeler NWR Participants!) If anyone wants to join, I will gladly cut a “piece of the pie” for a separate party; this count already has a few pieces vacant. Additional participants are needed, please contact the compiler if you’re interested. – Damien Simbeck, Leader/Compiler (256-856-3079;

13. Guntersville Area Audubon Christmas Bird Count (NABT) – 26 December, 2022 (MONDAY) 5:00-6:00 am (meeting time varies by count group)

This Count, in another well-known birding area in northern Alabama, yields a wide variety of songbird, raptor and waterfowl species. The format is the same as that of the Wheeler Count. As with all our counts, Guntersville could also use more participants – please consider helping out, even if for only part of the day. Unlike the Wheeler Christmas Count, there is no single gathering spot for folks to meet and join a group. For this reason, please contact Linda Reynolds if you are interested in joining one of the eight parties of counters; meeting times for different parties may vary. The meeting spot for compilation is the Guntersville Public Library (address here). Look for the sign along Hwy 431 in Guntersville (past 227), to your right, if coming from the direction of Huntsville. – Linda Reynolds, Leader/Compiler (256-298-1810;

14. Wheeler Dam, AL Audubon Christmas Bird Count – 2 January, 2023 (MONDAY)

Coordination with compiler is required before the count. If anyone wants to join, I will gladly cut a “piece of the pie” for a separate party; this count already has a few pieces vacant. Additional participants are needed, please contact the compiler if you are interested.Damien Simbeck, Leader/Compiler (256-856-3079,

15. Wheeler NWR –Beaverdam Peninsula Tower/Limestone Bay/Arrowhead Landing/White Springs Dike (NABT #20, 23, 24) – 7 January, 2023 (SATURDAY) 8:00 am (NOTE LATER MEETING TIME)

Join us for another trip to one of our favorite birding areas, as we look for waterfowl, raptors, cranes, a variety of songbirds, etc. Expect to be behind locked refuge gates for 2-3 hours. Take the Mooresville exit off I-565, go south on Mooresville Road and meet at the parking area near where it intersects with old Highway 20 (34.627442-86.880186). – Tom Ress, Leader (256-233-3057;

EVENT OF INTEREST: Wheeler NWR Festival of the Cranes, 14-15 January, 2023)

16. Town Creek Embayment, Wheeler Dam, Joe Wheeler State Park (NABT #2, 3, 4) – 21 January, 2023 (SATURDAY) 8:00 am (NOTE LATER MEETING TIME)

This trip primarily targets waterfowl and other water birds, but also includes some productive songbird areas, especially in the state park. We’ll meet at the WalMart parking lot off Hwy 72 W in Athens (34.786933 -86.958486). – Harry Dean, Leader (256-541-0842;

EVENT OF INTEREST: Winter Meeting, Alabama Ornithological Society, 27-29 January, 2023, Guntersville State Park, AL

17. Guntersville Waterfront/Peninsula, Guntersville Dam South (NABT #35, 36) – 4 February, 2023 (SATURDAY) 8:00 am (NOTE LATER MEETING TIME)

This trip starts on Sunset Parkway along the west side of Guntersville. We should see a great variety of ducks, many loons and grebes, possibly some odd terns and gulls, eagles, etc. Meet in Guntersville at the Chamber of Commerce parking lot on the south end of the Hwy 431 bridge. From there, we’ll go west on the Lake Loop Road and bird the waterfront. The tour will then go south and across the Hwy 69 Causeway to the south end of Guntersville Dam (34.363686 -86.29116). – Linda Reynolds/Matt Morrow/Ken Ward, Co-Leaders (256-298-1810;

18. Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area/Round Island Recreation Area (NABT #21, 22) – 11 February, 2023 (SATURDAY) 8:00 am(NOTE LATER MEETING TIME)

We’ll start along Dairy Road in Swan Creek WMA and work our way west, searching for water birds, sparrows and other winter residents or early migrants. Mid- to late-February is a transition period for waterfowl and other birds, and weather will play a key role in what we see. We will meet at the southernmost parking lot of Calhoun Community College. From Huntsville, take I-565 W/Hwy 20 toward Decatur. Just before the river, take the Hwy 31 exit north, then turn right at the first traffic light past the Subway. – Dwight Cooley, Leader (256-565-6239;

Fall Schedule

Spring Schedule