Bird Watching

Bring your binoculars and your logbook, because there are over 240 species in the mountain woods and many birds native to Tennessee. You never know what you might see on a bird-watching vacation in Gatlinburg.

The rich range of elevations and diverse topographies of the Smokies make for some of the best bird watching vacations in America. From the spruce-fir forests of the higher elevations to the valleys and open fields, avian life is everywhere. You may spot a great-horned owl, a red-breasted nuthatch or a red-eyed vireo. Watch for wild turkeys in Cades Cove. In September, scan the skies for broad-winged hawks flying over the ridges.

Nearly 120 species breed in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including 52 from the neo-tropics. Though you’ll see many birds native to Tennessee in the Smokies, others make the mountains an important stop on annual migrations. There are several rare species, and you can see the lists of threatened and endangered bird species here.

The National Park Service has more on birding in the Smokies. Stop at one of the visitor centers, and get ready for some new entries in your logbook.