I recently wrote an article for the Saporta Report, a metropolitan Atlanta newspaper, on the joys and possibilities of birding in Georgia. It might have some useful information if you’re ever in the area and want to identify the birds that are flying by overhead, so check it out:
…While the awesome wilderness of, say, the mountains of north Georgia guarantee an incredible experience for birders and other naturalists, local parks and preserves like Lullwater have much to offer as well. Just recently, for example, I stopped in at the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve (also in Decatur) and the Dunwoody Nature Center (in Dunwoody) and managed to get a few glimpses of some of the metro area’s more interesting avian visitors, including the pileated woodpecker, red-shouldered hawk, yellow-bellied sapsucker, and winter wren. A vigorous hike in Sweetwater Creek State Park (in Douglas County), also not far from downtown Atlanta, turned up a young Cooper’s hawk in addition to more common birds of the forest, such as titmice, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and so forth — a good day, considering that I was also treated to incredible vistas and the historic mill ruins on the Sweetwater’s banks.
In most cases, birding means getting out into nature, whether that is close to or far from home; it is a hobby that is easily combined with camping, hiking, walking, or just picnicking, all activities most of us can easily pursue. (I should also say, however, that a feeder you can see from the kitchen window can bring a remarkable amount of happiness for all those times you can’t get outside.)
There are many ways to learn more about birds in the Atlanta area. A good option is the Atlanta Audubon Society, which offers frequent bird-watching excursions that are free and open to birders of all levels of interest and experience. A field guide to birds of the southeastern U.S. is a must, but the proliferation of online (Cornell’s All About Birds website is especially good) and mobile resources (applications like iBird or Merlin) mean that it might not be a traditional book. Still, some will swear by Sibley’s or Peterson’s guides, and it must be admitted that there is a definite allure to leaving the electronics behind when getting out into nature…
Read the whole article here.