Ideal for avid bird watchers, the Great Smoky Mountains are a great place to watch a variety of different species. One of the best places in the entire park to look for birds is the Smokies Towers. Sitting a mile above the lower foothills, visitors can look across the various elevation levels and bird microclimates. Whether you are in the higher mountain peaks or the lower flatlands, you will be able to encounter 120 birds that call the park home year round and 52 species that flock to the park during migration.
Like the boreal forest in Canada, the spruce-fir forest has extremely high ridges and is the main breeding spot for the Canada Wrabler, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Winter Wren, Chicadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Blackburnian and the Red Breasted Nuthatch. In addition, it is common to see Ravens flying overhead, Dark-eyed Junco’s sitting in the trees and Chestnut-sided Warbles hanging out in the blackberry patches.
The Southern part of the hardwoods in both the lower and middle elevation levels also is a great place to spot many different birds.. Here, you will typically encounter species like the Eastern Screech-Owl, Downy Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee, American Goldfinch and the Song Sparrow. In the summertime, this region will bring Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Ovenbird, Yellow Throated Vireo, Black and White Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, Chirping Sparrows and the Louisiana Waterthrush.
Another great location within the park to see different birds is the open fields that are scattered through the Smokies. Here you will find Wild Turkey, Red Tailed Hawk, Field Sparrow, Killdeer, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Bobwhite and the American Kestrel. The summertime will bring out the Barn Swallow, Yellow Warbler, Orchard Oriole and the Barn Swallow.