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Yuchi Refuge

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

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Site Description and Habitats
Smith Bend/Yuchi Refuge is a unique 2,500-acre tract on the Tennessee River, with three miles of riverfront, 1,000 acres of wetland and 1,500 acres of upland forest. Paved roads pass through the refuge. Extensive grasslands provide ample habitat for shrubland and grassland birds.

Bird species of interest

Spring and Fall Migration: Sandhill Cranes can be seen and heard flying over in November, present through winter and into March (early spring). The area is birded little in migration (with little reported) but a wide variety of warblers, thrushes, vireos, and flycatchers can be found including Black-throated Green, Black-and-white, Chestnut-sided, Palm, Blackburnian, and Bay-breasted Warblers, Swainson's Thrush, Sedge and Marsh Wren, among many others. Shorebirds can be found on ponds when the conditions are good: Spotted, Solitary, Least, Pectoral Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, among others.

Summer: Northern Bobwhite are found all year, but can be heard singing especially in June. Osprey, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Wood-pewee, Great Egret, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Baltimore and Orchard Oriole, and Scarlet Tanager.

Winter: Sandhill Cranes can be abundant in flight and on the ground on the refuge. At dusk, listen for American Woodcock displaying over the grassy fields. Waterfowl feed and loaf on ponds, however most of the main resting areas are closed in winter and not visible from roads. A variety of species can be found including Mallard, American Black Duck, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, and Ring-necked Duck. Golden Eagles are reported regularly, so look at all the vultures and especially close at Bald Eagles! Northern Harrier, possible Short-eared Owl, Bonaparte's and Ring-billed Gulls, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Year-Round: Barred, Great Horned, and Eastern Screech-Owl are present, and Barn Owls are around, but rare. Northern Bobwhite, Wild Turkey, Cooper's Hawk, and Pine Warbler.

Rarities found at this site: American Bittern (locally rare), White Ibis.

Species list via eBird Hotspot Explorer

Submit your data to eBird here

Detailed directions for birding Yuchi Refuge
From Crossville, take 127/68 toward Spring City. Turn at Hwy 68 toward Sweetwater.; Go three miles and turn right onto Hwy 302. Go 4.5 miles and turn left on Breedington Ferry Rd at Bogels Chapel. At the split in the road, Bogles Chapel Rd goes to the right and heads towards the observation tower and the river.

From Dayton, take Hwy 30E toward Decatur. Turn left on Hwy 302. Go 4.1 miles and turn right on Breedington Ferry Road at Bogles Chapel. Follow Breedington Ferry Road to intersection and turn right at intersection. Checking station is two to three miles on left at Old Bogles Chapel Church.

Slowly drive the road through Yuchi Refuge. There are several pulloffs for parking. Bird along the road and around any and all access places. At the location noted below on Bogles Chapel Rd, there is a small parking area with an adjacent pond. Park here and walk the main gravel road and out any levee roads through fields and wet areas. Also park at the observation area and walk the road and through fields, when they are open. A Bald Eagle nest was recently active near the observation area, but was inactive in 2014.

Lat-Long (GPS) coordinates
Bogles Chapel Rd in the refuge, parking, wetlands, and road access for foot travel: 35.5596, -84.8333
Observation Platform: 35.55253, -84.80499

Yuchi Refuge map

Fees and Hours
No fees are required to access these areas. It is open during daylight hours, year round. Wetland Zone is closed from 15 November through last day of February.

There are no restroom facilities. Observation platform/gazebo overlooks the floodplain (mostly corn fields)

TWRA Region 3 Office
464 Industrial Blvd., Crossville, TN 38555 931-484-9571, 800-262-6704

Info for other sites
Tennessee's Watchable Wildlife web site