Birmingham Audubon’s Urban Bird Habitat Initiative (UBHI) works to promote productive habitat for birds in publicly accessible spaces throughout the greater Birmingham Area. Funded in part by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, UBHI focuses on improving habitats that benefit birds and people; in the process, it promotes conservation of important ecosystems, community engagement with publicly accessible natural areas, and economic development through nature-based recreation. You can read more about the program’s recent successes in our latest UBHI report here.
As the program enters its third year, five priority projects are currently underway:
Avondale Park Rose & Habitat Garden
In 2015, with guidance from Birmingham Park and Recreation, Birmingham Audubon began a partnership with Avondale Samaritan Place and the Friends of Avondale Park to restore the park’s historically important formal rose garden. Since then, we’ve added a wide variety of native plants to the garden’s existing beds, providing important new habitat for the more than one hundred bird species currently recorded from within the park. To learn more about some of the plants you can see growing in the new Rose & Habitat Garden, download our guide to native plants at Avondale Park.
East Lake Park
The small island in the center of East Lake Park is a heron rookery used by several species including the beautiful Black- and Yellow-Crowned Night Herons. The Conservation Committee works through the guidance of Birmingham Park & Recreation to promote conservation of the rookery and birding. East Lake Park, founded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, is a site along the Appalachian Highlands Birding Trail thanks to the diversity of bird species found along the tree-lined Village Creek and on East Lake.
Dedicated birders have discovered the rich habitat and birding opportunities along the corner of Coosa Street and 16th Street North in Greenwood Park. The canopy of older trees are productive habitat, as well as grasses and productive landscape deeper in the park.
Alabaster’s Limestone Park
This park operated by the City of Alabaster has been a favorite site for Birmingham Audubon members and other birders. The park is a site along the Appalachians Highland Birding Trail and home to a birding observation deck sponsored by Birmingham Audubon that overlooks the habitat mix of wetlands and prairie. The Conservation Committee is currently working with the City of Alabaster and other partners to reintroduce prairie and enrich the habitat at the popular birding site.
Birmingham’s popular downtown park is an outstanding example of shared habitat for people and birds from the variety of water features throughout the park, to the landscape that includes productive grasses, shrubs, trees and other plants that provide both habitat and food for resident and migrating birds. Locate the sign in Railroad Park, sponsored by Birmingham Audubon and National Audubon Society, listing birds you are likely to see, when and where in the park.
Birmingham Museum of Art Prairie Garden
Along with volunteers from five other organizations, Birmingham Audubon volunteers installed a prairie garden on the once unused beds adjacent to the Museum’s Sculpture Garden located on the Upper Plaza. It has matured into vibrant habitat attracting birds and pollinators. The success of this garden, which has become a great backdrop for events such as Art on the Rocks, has yielded discussion on shared programming between the Museum and Birmingham Audubon.
To learn more about the various birds that you can see at these UBHI sites, check out the Audubon online field guide. You can also keep track of the birds you see on eBird, an easy way to participate in an important citizen science effort. For instructions on how to use eBird or to download the app for your mobile phone, click here.
To find out more about the UBHI program, and how you can help, contact Program Director Andy Coleman.