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Shelby Farms Park

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

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Site Description and Habitats

The park is a 4,500 acre county park containing a great variety of habitats including the Wolf River and associated aquatic habitats, bottomland hardwood forest and swamp, upland hardwood forest, pine forest, pasture, cultivated farmland, etc. Numerous small wood lots occur in the upland part. The Lucius Burch State Natural Area lies along the Wolf River and is mostly bottomland hardwood forest. Over 20 miles of trails are present along with numerous farm ponds and lakes.

The area now occupied by the park was saved from a massive commercial development plan in the early 1970's. It is now managed as a multi-use recreational area and is one of the largest urban parks in the United States.

Bird species of interest

Spring and Fall Migration: Warblers, vireos, thrushes and flycatchers can be common in appropriate habitat, including Hooded and Kentucky Warbler, Red-eyed, Yellow-throated and White-eyed Vireo, and Acadian Flycatcher and Eastern Wood-pewee. Shorebirds may be on the various ponds, depending on water levels, but look for Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers.

Check weedy fields for sparrows in migration and winter.
LeConte’s Sparrows have been common in recent years in fall and throughout the winter in old fields. Waterfowl can be common on the ponds, as can wading birds.

Summer: Prothonotary Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Mississippi Kite, Great Blue Heron and Great Egret.

Winter: Numerous sparrow are possible including Field, Swamp, Song, White-throated, and White-crowned among others, Hermit Thrush and Winter Wren can be regular in the wooded areas, while Rusty Blackbirds may use the forest, pond edges, or wet fields. Orange-crowned Warbler over winter in the area now and various waterfowl may be found on the ponds.

Year-Round: Barred Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker and other resident species like Eastern Bluebird, Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmouse, and Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers.

Rarities Seen at this Site: Smith’s Longspur used to be annual in the 1950’s, Western Meadowlark (only nesting record for Tennessee is from here).

Species list via eBird Hotspot Explorer

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Detailed directions for birding Shelby Farms Park

From I-240 in East Memphis, take Walnut Grove Road (TN Highway 23) east across the Wolf River. The park lies on both sides of Walnut Grove Road on the east side of the Wolf River. There are numerous parking areas, trails, ponds and fields to explore. Get a map from kiosks and explore!

Lat-Long (GPS) coordinates
Main Parking Lot: 35.135405, -89.835732

Fees and Hours
Open year round with no entrance fees.

Restrooms, picnic areas, playgrounds, programs, education

Shelby Farms Park
500 North Pine Lake Drive, Memphis, TN 38134
(901) 767-PARK

Info for other sites
Tennessee’s Watchable Wildlife web site