Bird Watching

Bring your binoculars and your logbook, because there are over 200 species of birds are regularly sighted in the park, 85 of those migrate from the neotropics. Some 120 species nest here. 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.

Several bird species that are listed as Species of Concern breed here, making the park an important source for repopulating areas outside the park that are showing declines in the numbers of these birds.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.