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New North Alabama Stop on the Alabama Birding Trail

July 11, 2024
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Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve in Huntsville is now a stop on the Alabama Birding Trail. This 740-acre property, one of ten Land Trust of North Alabama nature preserves, includes a diverse forest, dense vegetation, and spring-fed water source attracting a broad range of both resident and migrating birds. The 4.6-mile system of well-maintained trails provides an exceptional recreation destination just minutes from the city center and is now recognized among 280 sites across the state as one of the best public locations for watching birds year-round.

Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve is located only minutes from downtown Huntsville off of Hwy 72

“We’re thrilled to expand awareness of this fantastic space in North Alabama for not just avid birders but any residents and visitors looking for unique ways to enjoy the outdoors and highlight the vibrancy and importance the natural assets of our region” said Marie Bostick, Land Trust of North Alabama Executive Director.

Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve opened to the public in 2017 providing a convenient recreation space for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding with trail access to both high and low elevation forest ecosystems. An open-air pavilion serves as an ideal spot for gatherings and the 18-hole disc golf course presents one more way to play outside.

Group of young hikers gather with their parents at the Bird Blind and Habitat, photo by Herb Lewis

The property gained increased visibility among the birding community as a diverse range of avian visitors were identified at the location. In 2022, the Land Trust collaborated with local birding enthusiasts to enhance the environment with the addition of a Bird Blind and Habitat alongside Moonshine Trail with grant funding from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This birding area, just a short walk from the trailhead, centers around a bubbling water feature and natural space with a viewing blind along one side to serve as a buffer between observers and wildlife. The blind accommodates protected viewing positions for over 20 birders and photographers. This space has quickly become a destination for birders, attracting local and regional visitors and a variety of bird species throughout all seasons. Another key feature for bird watchers is the one-mile long and primarily level Driskell Trail that transverses four diverse habitats – dense hardwood forest, open understory pine forest, spring-fed creek, and wet-weather marsh.

Pine forest surrounding Chapman Mountain’s Driskell Trail

Land Trust volunteer Herb Lewis, who helped to create the bird observation area, frequently visits to assist with maintenance and also brings along his camera. Lewis says “Birding at Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve provides a safe and rewarding bird filled environment throughout all seasons. I find this location a most exciting and productive birding site to visit.”

The preserve hosts multiple neotropical migrating birds on their fall and spring migrations. Mixed flocks of warblers, vireos, thrushes, flycatchers, buntings, orioles, and cuckoos can be observed drinking and bathing in the rock water pools. During the spring and summer breeding seasons the forest hosts Kentucky warblers, Pine warblers, White-eyed vireos, Great Crested Flycatchers, Yellow-breasted chats, Pileated Woodpeckers and Eastern bluebirds. Signature migrating bird species that birders and photographers seek include Black-throated Blue, Golden-winged and Chestnut-sided warblers along with Yellow-billed and Black-billed cuckoos, water thrushes, and wood thrushes.

Yellow-breasted Chat, photo by Herb Lewis

The Land Trust hosts a range of educational events at Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve throughout the year, such as guided hikes and workshops, for all ages to strengthen awareness of our area’s exceptional natural habitats and the plants and animals that rely on these spaces.

Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve is open dawn to dusk daily and free to access but donations are encouraged. Visitors can find a trail map and other helpful information at

Learn more about the Alabama Birding Trail and locate more North Alabama stops at