Back in June, I wrote about discovering the joys of birding during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, I’ve also started photographing the birds I encounter and compiling them for my atl_birds Instagram project. On July 13, I began posting a different species of bird I photographed around Metro Atlanta. As a native Georgian (I’ve lived here off-and-on since I was two), I’ve been surprised to find so many cool pockets of nature—and downright shocked to learn the diversity of birds that live around us. So I started documenting it to share with my fellow Atlantans and anyone who just enjoys a good glimpse at nature.
My goal is to get to 100 days on October 20 without repeating species. Frankly, I’d love to make it to my birthday on Dec. 14, but that’d be 155 birds, so fall migration would have to bring a lot of new ones. I’ve seen 17 different species through my bedroom/office window while working today, so it’s not impossible. And I’m being generous in my description of Metro Atlanta, including the 20 counties from Bartow down to Spalding because there are some great spots within a half-hour of the city proper.
Today marks day 40 of the project. You can follow along on Instagram @atl_birds or Twitter @BirdsAtl or just check out photos of some of the species I’ve posted below:
Bird #6: The gorgeous Roseate Spoonbill at Roswell Riverwalk.
Bird #7: Lunchtime for this juvenile Little Blue Heron, also at Roswell Riverwalk.
Bird #8: There are few creatures on Earth cuter than a juvenile Killdeer. This little guy was off Brandon Farm Road in Bartow County.
Bird #10: The Yellow-breasted Chat looks like he belongs in the tropics, not in Clayton County, Georgia.
Bird #11: The White-breasted Nuthatch is a common visitor to my backyard, but I took this photo at Roswell Riverwalk.
Bird #12: Osprey is taking a break from fishing at Constitution Lakes.
Bird #13: Bright yellow can sometimes be a great camouflage for this pair of American Goldfinches.
Bird #16: Another backyard bird is the under-appreciated Mourning Dove, whose unmistakable calls can be heard year-round.
Bird #17: Great Blue Heron looking majestic as always.
Bird #19: The Northern Parula is a diminutive Warbler with a distinctive, high-pitched, trilling call. This curious male was at the Newman Wetlands.
Bird #21: The Yellow-crowned Night Herons are one of the reasons I love Atlanta’s Constitution Lakes so much.
Bird #27: There are several types of Orioles in America, but the Orchard Oriole is the one you’re mostly likely to see in Atlanta this summer. This one was at Rogers Bridge Trail.
Bird #28: I stumbled across the first White Ibis reported in Cobb County since 2016, this juvenile, at Cochran Shoals near the Chattahoochee River.
Bird #29: I love the Ruby-throated Hummingbird for its attitude as much as for the beauty of that metallic glimmer. They chase each other around my backyard every day.
Bird #30: The Belted Kingfisher is the punkest of birds, from those spiked head feathers to its metallic call to the way it dive-bombs its prey. Punk will never be dead as long as this bird is around.
Bird #32: The male Indigo Bunting can be heard singing in fields around Atlanta—like this one near Panola Mountain—and can be spotted, of course, by that gorgeous splash of blue.
Bird #33: One of a handful of warblers that stick around in the summer, the Yellow Warbler loves Willow trees, like the ones at Rogers Bridge Trail.
Bird #39: The Pileated Woodpecker is big, loud and powerful and always a joy to encounter. These two were part of a rare trio of birds at Davidson-Arabia.
Bird #40: Prairie Warbler. The adult males are brighter yellow with reddish streaks on their backs, but I think this younger or female bird spotted at Rogers Bridge Trail is a beauty.
Josh Jackson is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Paste Magazine and a lifelong lover of nature. He tweets about pop culture, politics and craft beer @joshjackson and about the birds he sees @BirdsATL. You can follow the ATL Birds project on Instagram @atl_birds.