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Radnor Lake State Park

Birding Seasons:
Spring A+
Summer A-
Fall A+
Winter A

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Site Description and Habitats

Mature hardwood forest surrounds a large lake created nearly 100 years ago. Hiking trails, including some paved roads, are accessible to those on foot year round. Radnor Lake is a very popular urban park and can be very crowded when the weather is nice. Restrooms are available at the Nature Center (west entrance) and at the east entrance parking lot on Otter Creek Rd.

Bird species of interest

Spring and Fall Migration: This is absolutely the best places for warbler and other songbird migration in the state. Warblers and vireos are common to abundant and one can find 20+ species of warbler in a good morning within a mile of trail. This is the best place in Tennessee to try to find Connecticut and Mourning Warblers in spring. Uncommon migrants like Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Least Flycatcher can be seen in early to mid-May. Louisiana and Northern Waterthrush are commonly heard and seen in early May. Philadelphia Vireos are uncommon, but always a local treat in spring and fall.

Summer: One can find a typical mix of eastern woodland breeding species, including Red-eyed and White-eyed Vireos, Scarlet Tanagers, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Kentucky Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrushes, and others. Of particular interest is a pair of Prothonotary Warblers that usually are found nesting along the dam.

Winter: Many species of waterfowl can be seen including American Black Duck, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Wood Duck, Canvasback, Bufflehead, Gadwall, among others. Occasionally, large flocks of American Robins are found in the forests on the east side of the lake in winter. Common winter birds include both kinglets, Brown Creeper, White-throated Sparrow, among other sparrows and resident birds.

Year-Round: Barred Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Wild Turkey, Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron and other common woodland species

Rarities Seen at this Site: MacGillivray Warbler (only state record), Limpkin, Bewick's Wren (now very rare in Tennessee), Mississippi Kite (very rare in middle TN). Black-billed Cuckoo and Surf Scoter are rare finds as well.

Species lists via eBird Hotspot Explorer

Submit your data to eBird here

Other wildlife viewing opportunities
White-tailed deer, chipmunks, and turtles are common sights along the lake trails. Timber Rattlesnakes are occasionally seen on the northern trails in the deeper woods away from the paved paths.

Detailed directions for birding Radnor Lake

Take I-65 to south of Nashville to Harding Place, Exit 78. Travel west on Harding Place (or Battery Lane) to Granny White Pike. Turn left and travel south to Otter Creek Road and turn left (across from Granny White Market).

Access is also available from Franklin Pike, going north from its intersection with Old Hickory Blvd just west of I-65. Franklin Pike intersects Otter Creek Rd and Hogan Rd at a light and Otter Creek Rd goes to the left (west). Follow until you reach the parking lot at the end of the open road.

From either parking lot access, follow trails to the lake. Miles of trails loop throughout the park, with a 3 mile loop going around the lake proper. Birding along the dam and trail on the north side of the lake from the dam to a “long bridge” is often the most productive in spring and fall.

Lat-Long (GPS) coordinates
West entrance and Visitors Center: 36.063367, -86.810447
Parking lot on east side: 36.057878, -86.792577

Fees and Hours
No fees are required to access these areas.
Park open 6:00 a.m. to dark

Visitors Center hours:
Sunday-Monday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

There are modern bathroom facilities at both entrances.

Radnor Lake State Park
1160 Otter Creek Road, Nashville, TN 37220-1700
Office: 615-373-3467

Info for other sites
Tennessee’s Watchable Wildlife web site