“Fly with the Feathered Friends: Discovering the Fascinating Avian Species of the Appalachian Trail”

12 Birds on the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail, stretching from Georgia to Maine, is the longest hiking-only trail globally, and it presents a challenging six-month trek. Nevertheless, many people worldwide come to achieve a thru-hike of this gorgeous mountain journey. Part of this journey involves spotting wildlife, which is a favorite pastime for many people. For bird enthusiasts, the trail is an ideal location for observing rare and unique birds since the varying habitats and elevations provide perfect homes for various species. Although we cannot cover every bird on the Trail, we have a few listed that you may possibly see while hiking. While not all of these species are rare, they are all unique and breathtaking. The American goldfinch, for instance, is a common backyard bird that can be seen on the trail. However, seeing a vibrant yellow bird swooping low over a grassy bald in North Carolina’s spring is what makes the trail so special. Here is our list of the most fascinating birds you could spot on the Appalachian Trail: Bald and Golden Eagle.

12 Birds on the Appalachian Trail

12 Birds on the Appalachian Trail

The wild turkey is a significant bird in the United States and can be found throughout the Appalachian Trail. Although it is often hunted for sport or bred domestically, the wild turkey is rarely spotted by humans due to their elusive nature. Despite this, they can be seen in groups and are mostly brown with striking red and blue markings on males’ necks, heads, and bodies. The peregrine falcon is unrelated to the wild turkey.

12 Birds on the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Mountains are home to the lightning-fast peregrine falcon, which holds the title for being the world’s fastest animal. This bird of prey is not only impressive for its speed but also for its widespread presence, as it can be found in many parts of the globe. While the peregrine enjoys soaring through the mountains and diving into rocky areas, it can be challenging to spot them in forested regions. The best chance of seeing one is in open spaces such as fields or valleys. Keep your eyes peeled for another Appalachian resident, the barred owl!

12 Birds on the Appalachian Trail

The east coast is home to the barred owl, which is one of the larger owl species found along the Trail. These nocturnal creatures are usually heard rather than seen, but you might be lucky enough to spot one hunting for rodents in open areas at night. Despite their elusive nature, the barred owl’s distinctive white face can help identify them in the dark. They have brown feathers with white bellies and “barring” patterns on their chest and belly.

12 Birds on the Appalachian Trail

The belted kingfisher is a one-of-a-kind avian species that is commonly found around aquatic habitats. This adorable little bird is admired for its unwavering hunting prowess, preying primarily on small creatures such as frogs, salamanders, and fish. With its characteristic long and pointed beak, and a body that is often tinted blueish-green, the belted kingfisher stands out in any environment. Its head is crowned with a tuft of feathers that resembles a miniature mohawk, which adds to its unique appearance. A great spot to catch a glimpse of these birds is near bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams.

12 Birds on the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is home to six distinct types of woodpeckers, each with varying degrees of rarity. However, they are all fascinating to observe. Most of these birds have black and white feathers with a touch of red on their heads. While some have fully red heads, others have yellow coloring on their bellies. Additionally, there is the purple martin to admire as well.

12 Birds on the Appalachian Trail

12 Birds on the Appalachian Trail

12 Birds on the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail boasts the presence of the indigo bunting, a striking blue bird that uses the stars to navigate during migration. These tiny songbirds typically make their homes in open woodlands and shrubbery.

12 Birds on the Appalachian Trail

The American goldfinch is a bird species that has a bright yellow color with black wings and tail. They are commonly found in North America.

12 Birds on the Appalachian Trail

The American goldfinch is a familiar sight for many bird enthusiasts and is often spotted along the App Trail. While they may not be a novelty, their presence is always a delight to behold. These birds are easily recognizable due to their distinctive swooping flight pattern, as they search for food on the ground. Their vibrant golden plumage stands out against the backdrop of the trail, and they can be observed throughout the year, even in chilly Maine. These birds tend to prefer open woodlands, which are abundant along the trail.

12 Birds on the Appalachian Trail

A male indigo bunting perched up on bare branch against a green background. As it's name suggests, the bird is vivid blue.

Scroll to Top