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Black Belt Field Trip: Forever Wild State Cattle Ranch and area driving tour


Bald eagle by Maranda Mink.

February 5 , 7:00 am 5:00 pm

Pre-registration is required by 12 p.m. CST on Friday, February 4th, and space is limited.

Registration is now closed. Check out our upcoming events here.

Participants must complete the mandatory online waiver. Please do not request registration for others when submitting your request.

In the morning we will visit the State Cattle Ranch, now known as the M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area. Situated between drainages of Big German Creek, these Forever Wild Land Trust acquisitions in Hale County encompass 3,342 acres of Black Belt prairie habitat that include a mix of prairie grassland and pine-hardwood forest. There are also several small ponds and lakes where an abundance of waterfowl may be found. You can find the latest eBird sightings here.

In the afternoon, we will plan to have a driving tour of the surrounding Hale County area. Locations TBD based on scouting trips and eBird reports closer to the date.

For those who want to stay in Greensboro for dinner and music, longtime member Paul Franklin’s band, The Bohicans, will be performing at The Stable that evening.

The details: Meetup is on the early side of 7 a.m. at the McDonald’s on US 31 in Hoover, located at 1731 Montgomery Highway, just across from the Galleria. For those wanting to meet us in Greensboro, we will meet at the Alabama Audubon office (1014 Whelan Street) at 9 a.m. Due to the shorter daylight hours of winter, we will need to leave promptly to maximize our birding time. You will also want to have a full tank of gas for this trip.

Be sure to bring the usual supplies: binoculars, water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellant, rain gear, and seasonally appropriate attire. In the case of inclement weather, the event may be cancelled. You may contact the trip leader the morning of the event if the weather is questionable.

Registration: To register, click on the button above. If you’re new to our online system and don’t yet have a username and password, simply click the “X” on the pop up and fill out the basic form. If you do have a login, please use it as this helps us tremendously on our end! You should receive an automated email upon registering.

Accessibility: The trip should be fully accessible—birding primarily from around the car as we drive to find prime locations.

The food: We will find a good spot for a picnic lunch so be sure to bring something along.

The birds: Species we may see on this trip include birds of prey such as bald eagle, Northern harrier, American kestrel, and merlin.  We may also see winter warblers, woodpeckers, a variety of sparrows as well as waterfowl—including green-winged teal, Northern shoveler, ring-necked duck, redhead, American coot, hooded mergansers, American wigeon, gadwall, ruddy duck, and lesser scaup. Winter visitors to our region such as blue-headed vireo, cedar waxwing, pine siskin, American pipit, and hermit thrush are also possibilities.

Trip leaders: Hans Paul (205-807-7357) will lead this trip. Please contact on the day of the trip only.

Questions? Email the Programs Assistant.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Through more than seventy-five years of conservation work in one of our nation’s most ecologically rich states, Alabama Audubon has seen firsthand how diversity strengthens natural communities. We believe that the same principle applies to human communities, which is why our organization is committed to providing equitable opportunities for all Alabamians to learn about and enjoy wild birds, their habitats, and the natural world. One of the best ways to support that belief is by valuing and actively seeking to strengthen diversity among our staff, our board, and our membership. To that end, Alabama Audubon welcomes the whole of our community to our work, and strives to make our programs, classes, and events open and accessible to all.