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While out enjoying the many beautiful and unique landscapes Georgia has to offer, remember to keep your eyes and ears open. You will quickly notice that this region of the SE is home to a hundreds of fascinating and diverse bird species.

In Georgia, you will find both Neotropical migrants and winter residents. Neotropical migrants are birds that come from Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean during the spring and spend the summer breeding in North America, eventually returning south in the fall. Neotropical birds found in Georgia consist mostly of songbirds (such as warblers, tanagers, and vireos) and some shorebirds (including sandpipers, plovers, and terns). Alternatively, migratory birds may be winter residents, meaning they migrate from the north in fall, spend the winter in the Southeast, and then return north in the spring to breed.

Examples of winter residents found in Georgia include the Yellow-rumped Warbler and most sparrows (such as the Song Sparrow and the Swamp Sparrow). Finally, there are non-migratory birds that can be found year-round in Georgia. Examples of such birds, referred to as residents, are the Northern Cardinal, Eastern Meadowlark, and Red-winged Blackbird.
In addition to the time of year, the birds you’re likely to see in a specific area also depends upon the habitat of that area. Different species of birds live in different habitats depending on their feeding, mating, and nesting needs. While traveling throughout Georgia you’ll encounter a wide array of habitat types and will find a unique set of bird species living in each type. The birds found in Georgia’s northern mountainous areas, the Blue Ridge region, experience a cold and wet high-elevation habitat found no where else in the state. Thus, these birds are similar to those found in the southern Northeast (which has a similar climate) and include Canada Warblers, Winter Wrens, and Dark-eyed Juncos.

Just east of the mountainous Blue Ridge region is the Ridge and Valley region, an area marked by a warmer, drier climate as well as different flora. Here you will find different types of birds compared to the higher-elevation habitats of the Blue Ridge region. South of these two distinct regions is the Piedmont, a former agricultural area that now is home to a wide variety of bird species, including many different waterfowl, hawks, falcons, and woodpeckers.
Young Small Birds
Finally, the southern half of Georgia is dominated by coastal plain and, once again, we see how every distinct habitat is home to a distinct group of birds. Here, you can expect to find large heron and egret rookeries along the coast and wetlands, some containing as many as 500 nests! Also, keep your eyes out for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, a species of major conservation concern that excavates nest cavities in Longleaf Pines.

Hopefully you enjoyed this brief introduction into bird watching in Georgia. Be sure to return to N-Georgia.com to read my upcoming articles describing in depth the specific techniques needed for successful bird watching, such as using binoculars and a field guide to properly identify species. You’ll find that bird watching offers a unique blend of excitement and tranquility; after you identify just a couple bird species you’ll be hooked and ready to enjoy many weekend trips searching for the fascinating birds of Georgia.
About the Author: Max Mehlman
I am a biologist pursuing a PhD examining avian neurobiology and behavior. I have conducted a wide variety of research projects ranging from cognitive and neurobiological laboratory studies to behavioral field experiments. As a writer for YourBirdOasis, a retailer of backyard birding supplies and an essential resource for burgeoning and expert birders alike, I have the exciting opportunity to share my knowledge of and passion for birds with many online communities. Visit http://www.yourbirdoasis.com for a huge selection of bird feeders, birdhouses, and everything else you'll need to set up your own backyard bird sanctuary!
Red Cardinal
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