Sportsman Lake Park lands on Alabama Birding Trails

Sportsman Lake Park has landed a coveted spot on the Alabama Birding Trails. (

CULLMAN, Ala. – Sportsman Lake Park, with its expansive lake, acres of trees, wildflower and butterfly trail and arboretum, is a destination for nature lovers and conservation enthusiasts. Fans of the park can now add one more reason to visit: Sportsman Lake Park was recently added to the Alabama Birding Trails.

“The Department of Alabama Tourism stated 2024 as ‘Alabama’s year of Birding,’ so the addition of Sportsman Lake to the Alabama Birding Trail is exciting!” said Ben Johnson, volunteer chair of the Sportsman Lake Park Arboretum, adding, “This would not be possible without the efforts of Doug Davenport, director of Cullman County Parks and Rec, (Cullman County Commission Chairman) Jeff Clemons and other Cullman County commissioners.”

The Alabama Birding Trails is a collaborative effort between the Alabama Tourism Department, The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Alabama Audubon. It consists of 280 specifically selected bird-watching points inside eight separate trails throughout Alabama, highlighting the state’s more than 430 bird species.

Johnson said, “When we applied to be a part of the trail, we had identified 84 different bird species at the 70-year-old legacy park. Birding opportunities are special here because there are opportunities to see woodland, water, wading and raptor species around the park.”

The Alabama Birding Trails website says of Sportsman Lake Park:

“Particularly in spring and fall, the hiking trails and wildflower garden should have migratory warblers.  There are awe-inspiring, natural landscapes throughout this 70-year old park. Five miles of hiking trails offer access to hills of oak and pine forest, a bog sanctuary filled with birdsong, several small meadows, a 30-year wildflower garden which is on the Rosalynn Carter National Butterfly Trail, and a small lake hosting flocks of waterfowl year-round, particularly in winter months. Killdeer and Great Blue Herons are here throughout the seasons, as are resident Red-headed, Red-bellied, and Downy Woodpeckers. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers enjoy winters here. White-breasted Nuthatch are here all year, as well.

“The lake provides good waters for Ring-necked Ducks and Pied-billed Grebes. Keep an eye out in the winter months for Hood Mergansers, Scaup, and, if you are lucky, a calling Common Loon. Barred Owls can often be heard calling in the distance; Red-tailed Hawks circle overhead and Coopers Hawks hunt in the thick woods. Bald Eagles are known to visit the lake frequently.”

Sportsman Lake Park is located at 1544 Sportsman Lake Park Road NW and is open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year.

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