Avian habitats expand throughout the state of Alabama, cultivating a bird-watching wonderland in mountains, swamps, beaches and forests. Over 350 bird species exist in Alabama; avian enthusiasts should carry binoculars while outdoors. Birds that flourish in Alabama include the Bald Eagle, Painted Bunting, Chipping Sparrow, Osprey, Red-Tailed Hawk, Wild Turkey, Barred Owl and Brown Pelican. Look for the Northern Flicker, the state bird of Alabama, or the heaviest local bird, the forty-pound Trumpeter Swan. For those interested in hawk sightings, consider hiking the Tennessee Valley Talon Trail. Want to see a coastal bird, such as a Great Egret? Discover the Mobile delta wetlands and the trails bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Learning bird calls can enhance a visitor's wildlife experience, as some birds are often heard and rarely seen.
Common North American mammal species can be found in Alabama, including the White-Tailed Deer, Gray and Fox Squirrel, Striped Skunk, Raccoon, Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, Opossum, Armadillo, Coyote and Red Fox. Rare mammals that can be found in designated Alabama regions include Elk, Fallow Deer (a species native to Europe), wild boar and swine, River Otter, Black Bear, Bobcat and bat varieties. Rodents have a high-representation throughout the state; the Alabama Beach Mouse remains a threatened species due to Gulf Coast real estate development. Visitors who hike in Alabama will enjoy plentiful sightings of diverse mammal populations. Excellent viewing opportunities exist at one of the many State Parks.
Alabama's coastal waters, plentiful fresh-water rivers and lake resources are popular spots for recreational fishing adventures. Visitors will likely encounter common fresh-water game fish, such as Largemouth and Redeye Bass, Rainbow Trout, Crappie, Carp, Chain Pickerel and Walleye. Alabama's most popular game fish is the Alligator Gar, found uniquely on the Coastal Plain. Its sharp teeth and thin snout lend the comparison in the name; Although not generally caught for consumption, catching aggressive Alligator Gar is a favorite past time for many bowfishers. Look for freshwater eel and jellyfish, eighty-three species of crayfish and Atlantic Needlefish in large, open rivers throughout the state. Saltwater fish include Dolphinfish (mahi-mahi), grouper varieties, Crevalle Jack and Red Snapper. Endangered fish species in the state include the Alabama and Gulf Sturgeon, Cahaba Shriner and Watercress Darter. Conservation efforts protect these fragile species.