A pileated woodpecker off Thornton Road is entertaining Joanne Turner. The Powder Springs mom says her property backs up to the wetlands, so the birds regularly put on a show for her and her family.
Turner’s idea of “me time” is gazing at the wildlife in her backyard and figuring out what kind of birds they are.
"Mom’s really into birds,” Turner’s 16-year-old daughter Elizabeth laughs. “We have a hummingbird feeder and a food fountain for them.”
“We also have a birdhouse feeder with a glass back suctioned onto one of our windows,” Turner adds. “I love watching them drink and bathe in the
fountain. But the woodpecker is my favorite.”
She and her daughter also enjoy watching herons, ducks and geese that regularly visit the wetlands.
“Mom’s always looking up birds in her books,” Elizabeth says.
And apparently, so do many local birdwatchers.
“We have a collection of bird books that birdwatchers pull from,” says Brittaini Blackmon of the . “The Birdwatcher’s Bible is the most popular. So’s Bird Watching for Dummies.”
Don Scarbrough from says bird watching has become quite prevalent at the park. “We do a lot of bird watching hikes, and the Audubon Society leads a tour of the area each month.”
Sweetwater Creek has 2,500 acres of forests to flit through, along with a 250-acre lake, so it’s no surprise that waterfowl and other feathered friends gravitate to the area.
“Moms are out here all the time, whole families in fact,” says Mary Cornett at the park. “Folks are always buzzing in here when there’s a rare bird alert, like the one right now for whistling ducks.”
Scarbrough says the park's director, Phil DeLestros, leads bird-watching hikes "all the time" as the activity is a "growing focus at the park."
“We get a lot of bird watchers coming here in winter to see the waterfowl,” he explains.
Turner likes to go to Sweetwater Creek to bird watch, but she also sometimes goes to Redtop Mountain. “There’s some good bird watching there.”
There are websites available to get details about favorite birds, such as www.alltrails.com. This site recommends looking for hummingbirds at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Marietta, if you want to stay close to home.
Turner’s favorite bird watching spot, though, is her own yard. “It’s so peaceful, watching the birds and feeling like you’re part of nature.”