DO IT: Birding & Wildlife

Take a photo safari of Georgia’s wildlife and birds

Georgia’s thousands of acres of forest land, open fields and coastal marshes mean birds and wildlife are in abundance.

Nearly every part of Georgia except for the downtown areas report seeing deer, one of the most populous animals statewide and the primary game animal. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) establishes hunting seasons and limits for various game animals, including deer, bear, turkey, squirrel, alligator, fox, bobcat, opossum, raccoon, rabbit, quail, grouse, crows, dove, woodcock, snipe, marsh hens, and waterfowl.

Hiking in the Georgia mountains, you may spot black bears, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, and possums, among others. Along the coast, add feral pigs and alligators to the list. Take a photo of the elusive critters if you can, but don’t get too close. They are wild animals and can be quite dangerous. Never approach a young animal; it’s mother is likely to be close by and she may attack.

Georgia is heaven for bird watchers, with hundreds of species sighted regularly, both nesting and migrating, so get out the binoculars and start looking. The state has several national wildlife refuges that protect a variety of habitats, from woodlands to wetlands.

Bird Seasons

Additionally, if you’re an avid bird watcher, set out for one of Georgia’s many birding trails listed at left.

Other Georgia locations that offer great birding include Brasstown Bald, the state’s tallest mountain, where you’re likely to see ruffed grouse, common ravens, veery, Canada warblers, and rose-breasted grosbeaks. Burrell’s Ford near Clayton, Georgia is a breeding ground for a small number of red-breasted nuthatches which can be seen year-round.

And in Jonesboro, Georgia, just outside Atlanta, the E.L. Huie Land Application Facility and nearby wetland center is a great place to spot ducks and shorebirds around the ponds, and warblers and sparrows at the wetland center. Augusta’s Phinizy Swamp Nature Park offers fantastic birding year-round, with many guided bird walks offered. Summer birds to look for at Phinizy Swamp include common moorhens, purple gallinules, and least bitterns, while in the fall you may see great egrets and little blue herons.

So, what will you see in Georgia? Here is a list of the 10 most sighted birds in Georgia from the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, but there are hundreds more:

  • Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
  • Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)
  • Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)
  • American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
  • American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)
  • Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
  • Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerine)
  • American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
  • Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis)
  • Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

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Birding & Wildlife - Locations

Wilson Shoals Wildlife Management Area

Northeast Georgia Mountains
Off GA Hwy. 365 on Yonah Rd.
Homer, GA 30547
770-535-5700

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Windwood Hollow Park

Atlanta Metro
4865 Lakeside Dr.
Dunwoody, GA 30338
678-382-6853

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Wormsloe Historic Site

Georgia Coast
7601 Skidaway Rd.
Savannah, GA 31406
912-353-3023

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Wyomia Tyus Olympic Park

Presidential Pathways
1301 Cowan Rd.
Griffin, GA 30223
770-467-4750

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Yellow River Park

Atlanta Metro
3232 Juhan Rd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30087
770-978-5270

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