Switch to desktop

Seven Islands State Birding Park

Rate this item
(16 votes)
http://www.outdoorknoxville.com/modules/mod_image_show_gk4/cache/gacypark.domains.outdoorknoxville.com.public_html.images-outdoors.slideshow-seven-islands-wma-1slideshow-blue.jpg http://www.outdoorknoxville.com/modules/mod_image_show_gk4/cache/gacypark.domains.outdoorknoxville.com.public_html.images-outdoors.slideshow-seven-islands-wma-7slideshow-blue.gif http://www.outdoorknoxville.com/modules/mod_image_show_gk4/cache/gacypark.domains.outdoorknoxville.com.public_html.images-outdoors.slideshow-seven-islands-wma-3slideshow-blue.jpg http://www.outdoorknoxville.com/modules/mod_image_show_gk4/cache/gacypark.domains.outdoorknoxville.com.public_html.images-outdoors.slideshow-seven-islands-wma-4slideshow-blue.jpg http://www.outdoorknoxville.com/modules/mod_image_show_gk4/cache/gacypark.domains.outdoorknoxville.com.public_html.images-outdoors.slideshow-seven-islands-wma-8slideshow-blue.gif http://www.outdoorknoxville.com/modules/mod_image_show_gk4/cache/gacypark.domains.outdoorknoxville.com.public_html.images-outdoors.fishing-seven-islandsslideshow-blue.gif

Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge is Tennessee’s 56th State Park and most notably the state's first birding park!

What was once the old Kelly homestead, Seven Islands State Birding Park is now preserved as a beautiful wildlife refuge, encompassing 416 acres along the French Broad River. This peninsula of land features more than eight miles of natural trails, rolling hills and views of the Smoky Mountains. Both songbirds and butterflies call this sanctuary home. The diverse natural landscape of aquatic and grassland habitats makes Seven Islands State Birding Park a premier birding destination with more than 190 species of birds sighted. As you wander down to the French Broad River that's carved its route around the bordering cliffs, you'll pass by the old farmhouse along with a variety of old barns. In addition to being a wildlife refuge popular for hiking and wildlife observation, the park is a research and educational facility for schools and other groups and a demonstration area for land use and habitat management techniques. One project in progress, is the creation of an ADA trail that will take visitors to a fully accessible pedestrian bridge crossing the French Broad River to Newman's Island. For paddlers and anglers, there is a small canoe/kayak launch that provides access to the French Broad River.


Bicycling: To minimize wildlife disturbances and trail erosion, bicycles are restricted to the paved greenway that covers an out-and-back route down to the river. Seven Islands State Park is a good start location for road cyclists that want to tour the backroads in the area. Ride back to Kodak Road then head in either direction sampling the very scenic farmland from a variety of connecting backroads.

Birding: At last count, there are over 190 species of birds that call the refuge home. From the novice to the professional, birders and researchers find Seven Islands an ideal location for avian observation. The park is located along the migratory path of many bird species and during the breeding season birds can be found nesting at the refuge. Popular sightings include purple martins and tree swallows. Easily heard singing well into the summer are common yellowthroat, yellow‐breasted chat, summer tanager, blue grosbeak and indigo bunting. In winter, hundreds of sparrows can be found, especially field, savannah, song, swamp, white‐throated and white‐crowned. Be sure to peek into some of the barns located on the property, for a glimpse of a somewhat elusive, nocturnal barn owl. Guests can easily spend several hours strolling through the park's varied habitats enjoying the scenery and song of these feathered jewels. Mornings are usually the best time for birding but late afternoons, before dusk can also be rewarding.

Seven Islands is noted as a research and demonstration area. Bird banding surveys began in late 2004, when the University of Tennessee and the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society established a Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) station. The MAPS program utilizes monitored mist netting and banding at a network of stations staffed by professional biologists and trained volunteers. During the first field season, 387 birds were banded, representing 30 species. Monitoring bird populations during breeding season helps to determine future conservation practices.

For more park and nearby birding locations, VIEW FLYER. You can access detailed information about bird sightings at Seven Islands State Birding Park, and add your own sightings at http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L158240.

Fishing: Bordering the park, the French Broad River holds over 50 species of fish including crappie, bluegill, sauger and several varieties of bass. A small boat launch is available.

Paddling: From Kelly Lane, just before the parking area, an access road takes you to Mutton Hollow Landing which offers a small boat launch. The boat launch area provides good blueway access. Scenic views of rising hills and pastoral farmlands border this wide river, broken by occasional islands and shoals. During the summer months, River Sports Outfitters, rents canoes and kayaks at the boat launch area on the weekends.

Trails: Over eight miles of scenic mowed trails snake around the refuge, winding up the ridges and down to the waterfront. The paved greenway, sandwiched between picturesque open fields of wildflowers and farmland, provides occasional views of the distant Smoky Mountains. Starting at the parking area, the 1.25 mile route stretches down to the French Broad River passing by the old farmstead and several old barns. Trail map

Seven Island State Birding Park map

Back to Top ⇑      Desktop version