Help needed to create official Troy birding trail

Published 11:00 pm Friday, July 5, 2013

Bird watching is a popular spectator sport all across the country.

Alabama has several birding trails, including the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge and the Conecuh National Forest. Perhaps, soon the Walking Trail at the Troy Sportsplex will be included.

Kathy Sauer, Pike County Chamber of Commerce president, and Dan Smith, Troy Parks and Recreation director, are partnering to make it happen.

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Sauer said southeast Alabama has a wealth of birds and many people in Troy and Pike County enjoy casual bird watching while others “watch” more seriously.

Most everyone enjoys “birding” if it’s just from the porch swing or the kitchen window, Sauer said.

“We all recognize redbirds and robins but there are many birds that we don’t recognize,” the chamber president said. “The more birds and the more bird calls that we can recognize, the more we can enjoy the outdoors.”

The Walking Trail at the Troy Sportsplex is a popular place for those who walk and especially those who enjoy walking in the outdoors.

“The Walking Trail is also a great place for birding,” Sauer said. “Dan Smith and I have talked and we think the idea of designating the Walking Trail as an official birding trail is a good one.”

Smith said the idea of the Walking Trail as a recommended bird viewing location is do-able.

“But first, we need the help of local bird watchers in identifying the different species of birds in the viewing area,” he said. “We need this information when we promote the trail so bird watchers will know what to expect.”

Smith said, hopefully, those in the area who are knowledgeable bird watchers will walk the trail with the purpose of identifying the more traditional birds as well as those that are not as common to the area.

He suggested that bird watchers log their walks and identify all species of birds they see and make that information available to the Sportsplex or the chamber office.

“This identification process will take about a year, because different birds can be seen at different times,” Smith said.

“But we believe this is very worthwhile project. It will be a great addition to the quality of the trail area. We encourage the support of the local birdwatchers in identifying the birds along the trail.”

The Sportsplex Walking Trail is 1.1 miles with a loop that allows for extended walks.

Smith said Boy Scouts have contributed to the trail with birdhouses, bird feeders and park benches as part of their Eagle Scout projects.

The Walking Trail starts at the Troy Recreation Center parking lot. The trailhead is an open area and winds into a wooded area that makes walking an enjoyable experience year round.

For more information, call 566-2294.