Historic Markers Across Alabama

Forest Elders

Marker ID:  
Location: TVA's Walking Trail loop, birding site #8,wildflower Garden and restrooms, Muscle Shoals, AL
County: Colbert
Coordinates: N 34° 46.822    W 087° 39.358
  34.78036666    -87.65596666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Forest Elders

Escape to an Earlier Time
The giant trees of Northern Alabama's mature forest have stood throughout generations, witnessing considerable natural, historical, and cultural changes. Some probably witnessed the Civil War while others only date back to when the Muscle Shoals were tamed. Because of the rich habitat they provide, these elders of the forest host special birds that don't venture far from their ancient limbs.

Listen Before You Look
Because the extensive forest canopy creates a deep shade, spotting birds can be difficult. Birders should listen carefully to the variety of sounds the Forest residents make. Familiarity with birds songs will reveal a bird's identify quicker than trying to discern it in a thick green canopy. Many birds are quiet in the middle of the day as they forage for food or tend to their young. However, a visit early in the morning or at the end of the day will ensure a fantastic chorus of bird songs.

Pileated Woodpecker

One of the bird's colloquial names. "Lord God Woodpecker," says it all.
This is Alabama's largest woodpecker. Its impressive size and striking black, white and red plumage makes it a real showstopper. Even if you don't see the bird, its powerful drumming can often be heard from deep within the forest.

Wood Thrush
To many the song of the Wood Thrush represents true forest wilderness east of the Mississippi. This reddish brown thrush sports a heavily spotted potbelly. The warm brown tone and black spots help this bird fade into the background when it isn't actively searching for worms in the dry leaves on the forest floor.

Great Crested Flycatcher

This birds distinctive queep call will often betray its presence high in the canopy. Careful observation might find the bird perched overhead or perhaps tending to its nest in a tree hollow closer to eye level.

Red eyed Vireo

The Red~eyed Vireo seems to be constantly taunting as it utters a hurried phrase that some interpret here~I~am, in~the~tree, look~up, at~the~top repeated over and over again. Look for movement in the lower canopy to catch a glimpse of this songster.

Alabama's Earliest Residents
Just across the river from the western end of the TVA Reservation in Florence is the Indian Mound and Museum. Though there are larger mounds in Alabama, the Florence mound is the largest in the Tennessee Valley.

• Early settlers reported finding steps on the eastern side of the mound and earthen walls that sounded the mountain • This quadrilateral mound is thought to date from one thousand years before the arrival of Columbus • Visit the museum to learn about the rich cultural heritage of native Americans in Alabama.

Photographs of the marker can be found on HMDB.org

End of Forest Elders