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Nature Activities >>

bird watching knoxville
Birds at The Cove at Concord Park.
Image by Jeaneane Payne.

bird watching knoxville
Mallards at The Cove at Concord Park.
Image by Jeaneane Payne.

Cove Lake State Park
110 Cove Lake Ln.
Caryville, TN 37714 • Map It

Cove Lake is a popular site for waterbirds and songbirds. Other regularly occurring waterbirds include Great Blue Herons, Mallards and Wood Ducks year-round, and wintering Pied-billed Grebes, Gadwall, Ring-necked Ducks, and Hooded Mergansers. Several other ducks are occasionally present. One or two Bald Eagles have been regular winter residents in recent years, and Red-shouldered Hawks are present year round in the low wet woods.

Eagle Bend Fish Hatchery
1207 N. Charles G. Seivers Blvd.
Clinton, TN 37716 • Map It
(865) 457-5135

Shorebirds, wading birds, and waterfowl. Regularly observed shorebirds include Killdeer, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary, Spotted, Semipalmated, Least, White-rumped and Pectoral Sandpipers, and dowitchers. Less frequently observed shorebirds include Black-necked Stilt (1 record), American Avocet, Willet, Sanderling, and Baird's, Stilt and Buff-breasted Sandpipers.
More information on birds at Eagle Bend is available at:

Frozen Head
964 Flat Fork Rd
Wartburg, TN 37887 • Map It

In addition to offering spectacular scenery and wildflowers, Frozen Head supports high breeding populations of several neotropical migrant birds, including the Cerulean Warbler, as well as breeding populations of a few high elevation species which are rare in Tennessee outside of the Blue Ridge.
More information at:

Kyker Bottoms Refuge
1610 Big Gully Rd.
Maryville, TN 37801 • Map It

For the birdwatcher, Kyker is one of the best places in east Tennessee and especially the greater Knoxville area from fall through spring for a large variety of hawks, sparrows, and, depending on water conditions, waterfowl and shorebirds. Rare birds recorded at Kyker include Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, LeConte's Sparrow, and Brewer's Blackbird.
More information at:

Mossy Creek Wildlife Viewing Area
Cherokee Lake
West Cherokee Drive
Jefferson City, TN 37760 • Map It

Mossy Creek Wildlife Viewing Area is a wetlands complex in northwest Jefferson City. It contains water year-round. Wood Ducks, herons, and egrets are present during the summer and dabbling ducks and coots are present fall through spring.
Find more information at:

Cherokee Dam
Cherokee Dam Road
Rutledge, TN 37861 • Map It

Scan the main body of the lake for loons, grebes, cormorants, ducks (including rafts of diving ducks), and gulls from late fall through early spring. A spotting scope is highly recommended. Both Ring-billed and Bonaparte's Gulls can be abundant during the winter, sometimes numbering in the thousands. During spring and late summer/early fall, scan for terns; Forsters, Common, Caspian and Black Terns have been reported. Sooty Terns and a Least Tern have also been found after hurricanes.
More information at:

Kingston Steam Plant
714 Swan Pond Rd
Harriman, TN 37748 • Map It

Shorebirds, waterfowl, and herons and egrets. Rare and/or unusual species reported at Kingston Steam Plant include Piping Plover, American Avocet, Baird's Sandpiper, Ruff, Whimbrel, Hudsonian Godwit, Marbled Godwit, Red Knot, Red-necked Phalarope, Franklin's Gull, Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, and Snow Bunting.
Find more information at:

Norris Dam
125 Village Green Circle
Lake City, TN 37769 • Map It

Great Blue Herons, Canada Geese, semi-domesticated Mallards, and Belted Kingfishers are regular here, and Double-crested Cormorants and Wood Ducks are occasionally present. Ospreys are sometimes present during spring and fall. A Long-tailed Duck and Surf Scoter have been recorded here. During the spring and summer, look for nesting Eastern Kingbirds, Eastern Peewees, Great-Crested Flycatchers, White-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, Gray Catbirds, Brown Thrashers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Yellow-throated Warblers, and Orchard Orioles along the trails. The trail is also a good place to observe spring and fall migrants. During the winter, watch for Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Winter Wrens, Hermit Thrushes, kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and White-throated Sparrows. Woodpeckers, Carolina Wrens, Cedar Waxwings, Northern Cardinals, and Song Sparrows are present year-round. Eastern Screech-Owls, Barred Owls, and Great Horned Owls are also permanent residents in this area.
Find more information at:

Rankin Bottoms
Rankin Hill Rd
Newport, TN 37821 • Map It

Regularly occurring, common to abundant birds found at Rankin Bottoms during the late summer and early fall include Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret (often 200 or more), Black-crowned Night-Heron, Killdeer, Semipalmated Plovers, Least, Semipalmated, Western, Pectoral, Spotted, Solitary, and Stilt Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher, and several species of swallows. Regularly occurring but less numerous species include Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Peregrine Falcon, Black-bellied Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, American Avocet, Willet, Spotted, Solitary, Baird’s and Buff-breasted Sandpipers, and Caspian Tern. Rarer species seen include American White Pelican, Reddish Egret, Wood Stork, Glossy Ibis, Piping Plover, Black-necked Stilt, Marbled Godwit and Ruff.
Find more information at:

Sharp's Ridge Memorial Park
698 Sharps Ridge Rd
Knoxville, TN 37917 • Map It

Sharp's Ridge Memorial Park is one of the best places in the Knoxville region to observe migrant songbirds during the spring. It is well known and popular with birders, and birders are usually present weekend mornings during April and early May, and, especially in late April and early May, many weekday mornings. At this time, it is common to record 15 or more species of wood warblers, and, on occasion, 20 or more warblers. Vireos, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, thrushes, tanagers, Indigo Buntings, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and orioles are regularly present.
Find more information at:

Great Smoky Mountains National ParkMap It

240 species of birds have been found in the park. Sixty species are year-round residents. Nearly 120 species breed in the park, including 52 species from the neo-tropics. Many other species use the park as an important stopover and foraging area during their semiannual migration.

Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge
2809 Kelly Ln
Kodak, TN 37764 • Map It

Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge is an excellent birding location year round. Permanent residents which can be found here include Wild Turkey, Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Screech-Owl, Pileated Woodpecker and Eastern Meadowlark. Bald Eagles can sometimes be seen soaring over at any time of year. While it is certainly worth a visit during spring and fall migrations, the breeding season and winter must not be overlooked. In winter, hundreds of sparrows can be found, especially Field, Savannah, Song, Swamp, White-throated and White-crowned, with little effort.


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