The green heron is one of many birds visitors to Gulf State Park will see.

The Gulf Shores area offers many opportunities for bird watching. One of the best places to see the region's magnificent birds is at Gulf State Park. Hike or walk along the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails, and you're likely to spot these three species.

Birds of the backcountry: Species to spot in Gulf State Park

From waterbirds like the heron and white ibis to plovers, gulls and seabirds, there are many ornithological wonders in the Gulf Shores area that are sure to please bird-watching enthusiasts who book Gulf Shores vacation home rentals

Although you can see this fascinating wildlife all across the region on beaches, in bayous and on canals, one great place to spot birds is Gulf State Park. Nature enthusiasts can explore the park's Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails to find a peaceful atmosphere that's perfect for bird watching. 

As you walk or hike through the park, challenge yourself to keep an eye out for these three birds: 

Pileated woodpecker

You'll instantly recognize the sound of these birds when you set out on the Bobcat Branch Trail. This trail is a haven for woodpeckers, as it is filled with trees perfect for this species. Look and listen as you follow the trail, and your senses might lead you to a woodpecker pecking away to get at the insects inside. The pileated woodpecker will be easy to spot - about the size of a crow, it's the biggest woodpecker found
in the area.

Green heron

Strolling along the Tallow Trail, you may see the green heron fishing in the creek for dinner. Unlike other herons, this bird is small, measuring just 25 to 48 inches. Its glossy green cap and back along with its reddish, chestnut brown neck make it one of the most recognizable wetland birds in America. Although these birds can be relatively inconspicuous, you may hear one squawking loudly if you approach quietly. 

Yellow rail

This migratory waterbird is elusive, but you might spot one floating along as you traverse the Holly Trail. With its buffy yellow plumage that is mottled with black and brown, the yellow rail blends in well with marshes and dune grass. It prefers weaving through the grasses to flying, so keep your eyes low to spot this species.

You'll find numerous varieties of feathered neighbors along the coastal area. In fact, the eight miles of paved paths in the Backcountry Trails are part of the two-county Alabama Coastal Birding Trail. Make birding a priority during your next visit to the Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast, and you'll become fascinated by the different perspective of the natural beauty here.

Related Articles

Orange Beach's best-kept hiking secrets.

Orange Beach's best-kept hiking secrets

Many people head to Orange Beach for the fabulous beaches, but there are more natural gems in this region to enjoy. Immerse yourself in nature by heading out on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, where you can see a wide variety of plant and animal life.

Go birding in Gulf Shores

Go birding in Gulf Shores

With some of the best golf courses in the world and more seafood to catch than you could possibly eat, the Gulf Coast is truly an outdoorsman's paradise. But did you know that one of the most popular area attractions is the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail?

What you can do at Gulf State Park

What you can do at Gulf State Park

Gulf State Park is a stunning oasis where seashells and white-sand beaches greet you the moment you arrive. With more than 6,000 acres, you can easily spend more than a day exploring this spectacular reserve. From bird watching to fishing, there's so much to do!

The roseate spoonbill is one of the most sought-after species by Florida's bird enthusiasts.

Perdido Key: Unique habitat draws birders

It's never hard for bird lovers to find something fascinating to do when they book vacation condos and beach houses in Perdido Key. The destination is a dream come true for birders. Here are three birds you should look for while you're there.

When you stay in Fort Morgan beach houses, you might spot ruby-throated hummingbirds at the Fort Mor

Observe Bird Banding operations at Historic Fort Morgan

Fort Morgan beach house rentals are a good option for bird lovers all year long, but those who are renting this spring may be in for a special treat - the Hummer/Bird Study Group is holding its bi-annual Bird Banding Session, where they capture and band dozens of species of migratory birds on their way south.

Newest Articles

Visit Big Lagoon State Park when in Perdido Key

Travelers in Perdido Key should head to the nearby Big Lagoon State Park.

October 20, 2014 - Perdido Key | Nature & Trails

Travel across the Alabama Scenic River Trail

The Alabama Scenic River Trail can provide the perfect activity for travelers in Fort Morgan.

October 10, 2014 - Fort Morgan | Nature & Trails

Explore Coyote Crossing in the Backcountry Trail system

Coyote Crossing provides a welcome trail for visitors to explore.

September 12, 2014 - Nature & Trails


Gulf Shores Map

Upcoming Events

  • Feb 12
    Take a Number, Darling
  • Feb 13
    10th Annual Trivia Night
  • Feb 13
    8th Annual Tropical Re-Union Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony
  • Feb 13
    Snowbird Pancake Breakfast
  • Feb 13
    Take a Number, Darling
  • Feb 14
    Take a Number, Darling
  • Feb 17
    Take a Number, Darling
  • Feb 18
    2016 Island Cup Soccer (Boys and Girls)

Local Weather

weather icon 61ยบ Conditions: Clear
Humidity: 93%
Wind: WSW 15 mph

Weather information provided by

Last Updated on February 11, 9:35 PM CST

Latest Video