DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (AP) — The spring bird migration is underway on Alabama’s Dauphin Island, attracting birders from around the nation to see more than 400 species that visit the tourist town, officials said.
Species that have already been spotted on the island include shorebirds, warblers, purple martins and ruby-throated hummingbirds.
The season is expected to peak in mid-April and end in mid-May.
Birding is an important part of the island’s economy, helping merchants’ bottom lines in the resort town’s so-called “shoulder seasons,” when fewer beach-going tourists are in town, Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier said.
“With our recent designation by the National Audubon Society as a Globally Significant Important Bird Area, more and more birders are coming to Dauphin Island,” Collier said in a statement.
The Audubon recognition also serves as a reminder of Dauphin Island’s significance to the region’s ecosystem, the mayor added.
“It confirms the important environmental role Dauphin Island plays in the region and why it’s so critical that our barrier island is protected long term,” Collier said. “We provide the habitat that the birds need as they fly north in the spring and south in the fall.”