For information on choosing the best gear for your new hobby, check out Alabama Audubon’s Gear for Beginning Birders. For a list of birding resources, click here. For the official field checklist for Alabama’s birds, you can download it on the Alabama Ornithological Society’s website here.
Many have been asking about the recent outbreak in the U.S. of the highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, strain H5N1 in wild birds. So far, we’ve only heard of one confirmed case in Alabama. If you’d like to take down your bird feeders and baths out of an abundance of caution for the next couple of months to limit the spread of this disease, it wouldn’t hurt. Native plants provide the best food and shelter for our wild birds!
- There is currently no need to take feeders down, but like always, continue to clean and disinfect feeders regularly (daily). You can cycle your feeders so that while one is being disinfected (after removing seed debris with a brush, soak in 10% bleach for 10 minutes, followed by 24-hour air dry—preferably in the sun), the other feeder can be in use. Another suggestion is to only fill the feeders to the extent the birds will eat in one day, thus there is no seed left overnight that might get moldy or rot.
- If you find any dead birds, you can report them to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources by calling the Montgomery office at 334-242-3469. Be sure to wash your hands after handling bird feeders or cleaning up shells.
To report a rare bird sighting, contact the Alabama Ornithological Society’s Rare Bird Alert hotline at (256) 773-8560, or visit their website.
If you find an injured or orphaned bird, the best thing to do is contact your local wildlife rehabilitation facility. There are several throughout the state that will take injured birds, listed below. You can also download the free Animal Help Now smartphone app here.
- Central Alabama: The Alabama Wildlife Center is located at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham.
- Eastern Alabama: The Southeastern Raptor Center is located in Auburn.
- Southeast Alabama: The Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Enterprise.
- Coastal Alabama: The Orange Beach Wildlife Center is located in Orange Beach and the Environmental Studies Center is in Mobile.
If you suspect federally-protected birds are being killed, you can report it to the US Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement here.
If you suspect house sparrows, an invasive, aggressive species, are nesting in your bluebird boxes or killing native birds in your yard, here is a helpful fact sheet from the North American Bluebird Society about what to look for and what to do.