Birding, or birdwatching, is a hobby that's gaining popularity among all ages. It may surprise you that it's the Number 1 travel trend for ages 18-24! Whether or not you fit this demographic but enjoy birding, you can check a few local species off your list at these Top 5 places to spot Clarksville's favorite feathered friends.

My top spot for birdwatching is Dunbar Cave State Park. The park features a butterfly and hummingbird garden near the park headquarters and several great hiking trails. The park provides a wide variety of habitats that attract numerous species of flycatchers, woodpeckers, and warblers. This is a great spot for the family to spend the day. I enjoy hiking the trails which provide abundant shade and the opportunity for catching a wide variety of nesting birds in season. Often Barred Owls hoot from the woods and the nesting boxes contain Wood Ducks, Eastern Bluebirds, and Tree Swallows. Near the cave opening, Barn Swallows and Eastern Phoebes raise their broods of young. This is my go-to spot for Summer Tanagers and Pileated Woodpeckers.

Great Blue Heron at Dunbar Cave BirdGreat Blue Heron at Dunbar Cave State Park | Photo Credit: David Magers

The Clarksville Greenway is a great getaway for individuals or families to hike the trails which border a variety of lush woodlands, open fields, and a small river. These provide great habitats for birding. This is also a wonderful place for bicycle riders to enjoy the outdoors as well. The woods are full of a wide variety of Downy Woodpeckers, Acadian Flycatchers, and Carolina Wrens. Wild turkey and Red-shouldered can be viewed along the edges of the open fields. This is my go-to place for Yellow-breasted Chats and Northern Parula which call tantalizingly from the tree line. The trails are excellent and the views are impressive, providing for both good nature watching and excellent photo opportunities. Take the entire family for a leisurely stroll. Stand ready to be surprised by deer, squirrels, and plenty of birds! 

Kentucky Warbler at Rotary Park BirdKentucky Warbler at Rotary Park | Photo Credit: David Magers

Rotary Park in the Sango subdivision of Clarksville offers an entire family park with playgrounds, a nature center, and miles of trails to be explored. As I walk along the streams of the park, I often hear the calls of the Louisiana Waterthrush, Carolina Chickadees, and Kentucky Warblers. In the morning, I may catch an occasional view of a small family of deer. I find this park an extremely inviting place to relax. As I stroll along the trails in the woods, I find myself melting into nature.

Belted Kingfisher at Liberty Park BirdBelted Kingfisher at Liberty Park | Photo Credits: David Magers

Liberty Park and Marina in downtown Clarksville is fantastic. I enjoy walking along the river searching for Great Blue Herons, Osprey, and Killdeer. Additionally, I’m attracted to the area of the fishpond due to the wide variety of birds found there, including migrating, shorebirds, ducks, snipe, and an abundance of Red-winged Blackbirds. Strolling along the backside of the pond are small pools that attract sparrows, and Red-headed Woodpeckers. At the opposite end of the park is a marina, which also can be a fun place to look for gulls, terns, and migrating waterfowl. It is my go-to place for Warbling Vireos and Cliff Swallows.

House Wren at Fort Defiance BirdHouse Wren at Fort Defiance | Photo Credit: David Magers

One of the oldest areas of the city is Fort Defiance. Situated on a bluff, it provides spectacular views of the city and adjacent farmlands across the Cumberland River. This is a great place for Eastern Bluebirds, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and Blue Grosbeaks. I prefer birding here at midday because of the great shade and cool breezes. The bird activity level is high and their melodious songs fill the air. In the evening, flicks of Black Vultures parade along the tree line as they head to roost! Don’t miss out on this fantastic park.

Header Photo Credit: David Magers