Birding in Knoxville

and throughout East Tennessee


Love birding? You are not alone. More than 46 million Americans are proud to call themselves bird watchers and a great deal of them know a variety of our feathered friends can be found in Knox County.

East Tennessee Birding Summary

  • The TN Ornithological Society identifies 19 different birding sites in East Tennessee.

  • East Tennessee has 30 "hot spot" birding trails identified by Tennessee Birding Trails.

  • East Tennessee has plentiful numbers of colorful singing spring warblers.

  • East Tennessee's access to higher elevations in the mountains offers the opportunity to pick up more northerly breeding birds that follow the Canadian zone into the south.

  • Birders from around the country visit each year in late fall through winter for the Sandhill Crane migration at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge.

  • Just under 300 birds have been identified in Knox County; Over 200 species alone at Seven Islands State Birding Park.

Backyard Birds of Knoxville

Knoxville’s mild climate, hilly-to-mountainous terrain and many lakes and streams makes a great habitat for birds. We are also conveniently located right in the middle of migration routes for many species of birds. Whether you are a beginner looking for easy birds to identify or an experienced birder, there are many places to start exploring.

The most popular times for birding in Tennessee are during the spring migration from mid-March to mid-May and the fall migration from early September until mid-October. Knoxville’s Sharps Ridge is among Tennessee’s best sites during spring migration.

Knoxville is also home to Seven Islands Birding State Park, Tennessee’s only state birding park. Fun fact for paddlers and anglers: the park is located alongside the French Broad River and there is a small canoe/kayak launch that provides access to the water. For a completely enjoyable afternoon, plan some extra time for the French Broad Driving Tour and treat yourself to some ice cream at Cruze Farm at Asbury!

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US Fish & Wildlife Resources

Things to Know, Places to Go