An eastern bluebird rests on a tree.
Eastern Bluebird An eastern bluebird sits on the branch of a budding tree in Kentucky. © JD Sole

Stories in Kentucky

Kentucky Birds

See which species visit our nature preserves each season.

No matter what the season, there are always interesting birds to see at TNC in Kentucky's nature preserves. In fact, birds move through Kentucky all year long. Some change habitats within state borders; others stop by during spring and fall as part of long journeys between breeding grounds and warmer climates.

Here are a few favorites you might see at one of our Kentucky nature preserves or state Wildlife Management Areas—places where we are working with partners to protect and manage habitats for avian visitors. See you outside!


In summer,  birds are feeding young hatchlings. Soon the youngsters learn to fly and eventually leave the nest. As the long days of summer begin to wane, birds are no longer as vocal as they had been in spring and early summer. Neotropical migrants prepare to make the long journey south for winter. As the days grow short, there is still a lot to see and hear before cooler weather arrives.

Wood ducks, herons and other birds can be spotted at our Kentucky preserves, like Jim Beam Nature Preserve.


Fall is a time when falling leaves allow birdwatchers to catch a glimpse of some species that would otherwise be hidden in the trees. First come songbirds like warblers and vireos, followed by thrushes, grosbeaks and sparrows. As winter approaches, the woodpeckers, geese, ducks, loons and hawks arrive. 

See birds fly through the changing leaves at our Sally Brown and Crutcher Nature Preserves.


In winter, birdwatchers have a chance to catch a glimpse of woodpeckers, geese, ducks, loons, hawks and other species that become more visible after trees lose their leaves.

Visit our Mantle Rock Preserve to see birds like sandhill cranes and the colorful eastern bluebird.


In springtime, eggs are laid and hatchlings can be heard squawking through Kentucky’s forests, grasslands, streams and prairies. These natural environments provide nesting grounds for an array of birds, especially spectacular populations of warblers. 

Visit one of our Kentucky preserves, like Dupree Nature Preserve, in the spring to spot songbirds and hummingbirds.

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