Birding at Kentucky Lake

Bird watching, or birding, draws people of all ages to Kentucky Lake year-round. With more than 250 species of birds in the Land Between the Lakes, it’s no wonder people of all ages enjoy birding at Kentucky Lake.

Click here to access the USDA Forest Service’s Birding Checklist to find out which birds you can see at Kentucky Lake.

Best Time of the Year for Birding at Kentucky Lake

The optimal time for bird watching in the Land Between the Lakes area is mid-October through mid-April, as the birds outnumber the humans! However, Kentucky Lake is the perfect year-round birding destination. Come early in fall and you’ll also enjoy the spectacular fall leaves along the shores of the lake.  The view is awesome from a boat on the main river!

Winter provides an excellent opportunity to witness our nation’s bird—the bald eagle—as well as other water bird species. Birds commonly spotted in the winter include: pied-billed and horned grebes, dabbling and diving ducks, double-crested cormorants, gulls, woodpeckers and bald eagles.

Spring and Fall provide birdwatchers with spectacular views of migrant songbirds. The forest is flush with warblers, flycatchers, oriels, vireos and other forest and forest-edge species. The last week of April and first half of May gives way to some of the best bird watching in the Eastern United States.

During the summer months, tourist can escape their busy lives and enjoy the breeding songs of birds by driving down back roads in the Kentucky Lake area. Additionally, many enjoy renting boats and kayaks to enjoy birding on Kentucky Lake. The Lake’s many miles of shoreline provide excellent opportunities to spot a wide variety of unique birds.

Best Locations for Birding in Land Between the Lakes

The Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area recommends the following locations for birding:

-Kentucky Dam/Barkley Dam  (Link to KY Dam Article)
-Empire Point
-Hematite Lake and Trail
-Long Creek Wildlife Refuge
-Bobcat Point
-Woodlands Nature Station Backyard
-Honker Lake, Bay, and Trail
-Fort Henry Trails
-Elk and Bison Prairie
-North/South Trail from Sugar to Smith Bay
-Shaw Branch Road—FS RD #153/134—from Hwy US68/KY80 to Energy Lake

New to Bird Watching? Here are Some Helpful Websites to Get Started

Before you grab your binoculars and cameras, use the link below to book your stay with us!

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