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.

search houses search condos

Related Articles

Explore the paved pathway of Coyote Crossing in Gulf State Park.

Explore Coyote Crossing in the Backcountry Trail system

The latest trail opening in the Gulf Shores area is Coyote Crossing, a 2-mile route that connects to the expansive network of paths in Gulf State Park. This route is ideal for checking out the wildlife and gorgeous natural beauty of the coastal area.

Take the road less traveled at the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Take the road less traveled at the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

From the butterfly gardens to the coastal hardwood swamps, the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is just waiting to be explored by families staying at Orange Beach area vacation rentals. With more than 10 miles of trails to choose from, you can easily spend a few hours discovering nature.

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!

Bird watching is a favorite pastime of travelers who head to the Gulf Coast in the fall.

Fall is prime for bird watching in Gulf Shores

Bird watching is a popular pastime in Gulf Shores, and it becomes widely practiced in the fall when birds migrate south for the winter. Many of these winged creatures stop in the region before continuing on their journey, providing visitors with a unique look at many amazing birds.

Walking the Backcountry Trail in Orange Beach is a great family vacation activity.

Backcountry Trail is a perfect route to explore

Orange Beach's Backcountry Trail is a great route for visitors who want to explore the natural beauty of the area. Located in Gulf State Park, the path is home to some beautiful and diverse wildlife that is sure to please vacationers who are looking for a place to hike.

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?

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.

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.

The Great Crested Flycatcher spends its summers on the warm Gulf Coast.

Birds you can spot at Bon Secour this summer

If you are staying in Fort Morgan rentals this summer, you have easy access to one of the best birding spots on the coast: Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. While hundreds of birds fly through this region each year, here are a few species you're sure to see there during the summer.

The neotropic cormorant is one waterbird species you may see on Dauphin Island, which is home to sev

Dauphin Island: A bird watching paradise

Dauphin Island, a short day trip from Fort Morgan rentals on the beach, offers one of the best birding experiences in the nation. With seven protected sanctuaries on the island, birding enthusiasts have the chance to spot more than 347 bird species.

Newest Articles

Perdido Key Adopts Clean Beach Ordinance

New Perdido Key beach conservation practices are designed to minimize impact on wildlife.

June 28, 2017 - Perdido Key | Nature & Trails

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


Gulf Shores Map

Upcoming Events

  • Jul 26
    Alligator Adventures
  • Jul 26
    Discovering Sea Turtles
  • Jul 26
    Justin Yawn
  • Jul 26
    New, Better, Yours: Plant the Newest, Best Plants at Bellingrath Gardens and Home
  • Jul 26
    Rhythm Intervention @ The Hangout
  • Jul 27
    2017 USSSA Softball Summer Show Case and Tournament
  • Jul 27
    Hippy Jim
  • Jul 27
    Lefty Collins

Local Weather

weather icon 77ยบ Conditions: Partly Cloudy
Humidity: 99
Wind: ENE 0 mph

Weather information provided by

Last Updated on July 25, 7:45 AM CDT

Latest Video