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Tom Imhof Memorial Beginner Bird Walk: Wheeler N.W.R.

January 19, 2019, 7:00 am5:00 pm

Sandhill Cranes. Photo: Greg Harber.

UPDATE: After looking at the radar this morning, we have decided to go ahead and cancel today’s trip to Wheeler. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to be heavy rain and thunderstorms all day.

Birmingham Audubon’s Tom Imhof Beginner Bird Walk series continues in January, with a trip to Decatur’s Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. If you’re new to birding, returning after an absence, or just interested in seeing some exceptional birds, we invite you to join us for an exciting day on the banks of the Tennessee River.

Located on the eastern edge of the Mississippi Flyway, Wheeler provides crucial winter habitat for numerous waterfowl species, thousands of Sandhill Cranes, and a small, but increasingly reliable, population of overwintering Whooping Cranes—still one of the world’s most endangered bird species. (There are around 600 individuals alive today, up from an almost-unbelievable low of just 23 in 1941.)

The details: Meetup is at 7 a.m. at the Fultondale Chick-fil-A (215 Howell Street), located off I-65 (Exit 267) on Walker Chapel Road. Together, we’ll caravan and carpool up the interstate toward Decatur and the Priceville exit (Exit 334) to reconvene around 8:15 a.m. at a Hardee’s located at 3241 Point Mallard Parkway SE. After a short break, we’ll head from there to the refuge entrance, just a mile or two up the road.

A birding trip to Wheeler can turn into a long day, so remember to bring plenty of water and snacks, a full tank of gas, insect repellent, rain gear, sunblock, and seasonally appropriate—i.e., warmly layered—attire.

Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible

(Questions about accessibility? Email us for more information about how we can meet your needs.)

The birds: You’ll find the official bird list for Wheeler on the Fish & Wildlife Service’s website. For real-time updates, visit eBird’s hotspot page here.

The food: Numerous “sit down” (e.g., Francesco’s Italian Restaurant, Camino Real Mexican Restaurant), “fast casual” (e.g., Panera Bread, Moe’s Southwestern Grill), and just plain “fast” options (the aforementioned Hardee’s) are available a short drive up or down Point Mallard Parkway. There are also several picnic spots if you’d like to bring your own food.

Trip leader: Greg Harber leads this trip. His cell is 205-807-8055 (day of field trip only, please). Email our Outreach & Communications Director here if you have questions, or call 205-719-3678, option 3. Please let her know in advance if you anticipate needing to borrow a pair of binoculars.


January 19, 2019
7:00 am–5:00 pm
Event Category:


Alabama Audubon
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Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
2700 Refuge Headquarters Rd.
Decatur, AL 35603 United States
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(256) 353-7243
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