TOS Publications and Other Literature on Tennessee Birds

Current TOS Publications

The Tennessee Warbler
The Tennessee Warbler is the newsletter of the TOS. It is published three times a year. It contains announcements of statewide TOS meetings and field trips, local chapter news, and other items of interest.

The Migrant
The Migrant is the quarterly of the TOS. It contains articles describing the results of research on Tennessee birds, results of organized bird counts, and the quarterly Season Report
. Back issues of The Migrant are available for purchase and can be accessed online.

Other Literature on Tennessee Birds

Following is a listing of some important recent and historical books and booklets on the birds of Tennessee, as well as on finding birds in Tennessee. Some other recent books on Tennessee birds are also available; many of these are parts of multi-state series and, while useful for identifying birds, contain little original information specific to Tennessee.

Statewide Coverage:

The Birds of Tennessee: A New Annotated Checklist
by Scott G. Somershoe and Christopher A. Sloan. 2015. Privately published - available from and elsewhere, ISBN #1507815751.

New checklist book cover The Birds of Tennessee: A New Annotated Checklist provides comprehensive information on the status, distribution, and abundance of all 415 species of birds that have been reported in the state of Tennessee. The information is broken down according to the six major biogeographic regions of the state, with further information about seasonal occurrence, and field-identifiable subspecies.

Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Tennessee
by Charles P. Nicholson. 1997. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Atlas book cover This book, one the most important publications on Tennessee birds, describes the distribution and abundance of the 170 species breeding in Tennessee during the late 1980s and early 1990s. It also describes their seasonal occurrence, breeding biology, habitat preferences, and population trends. Most species are illustrated with line drawings and distribution and abundance maps. Introductory chapters describe the history of Tennessee ornithology, the geography of the state and its bird habitats, historic changes in the landscape, and bird conservation efforts.

An Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Tennessee
by John R. Robinson. 1990. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Robinson book cover This book provides a species-by-species account of the 373 species recorded in Tennessee through the late 1980s. The notes include seasonal abundance, early and late dates by region, brief habitat descriptions, listings of high counts. County distribution maps are provided for some species, and individual records are listed for rare species.

Regional Coverage:

Birds of the Smokies
By Fred J. Alsop, III. 1991. Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association, Gatlinburg.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in America, and many of these visitors are birdwatchers. This small book book describes where and when many species may be found in the park as well as the best places to look for them. A "Birder's Dozen" section will help readers find the most sought-after birds in the park, such as Red Crossbill and Northern Saw-whet Owl. Most species are illustrated with color photographs. It is inexpensive and may be found in the Sugarlands Nature Center in the park as well as many bookstores in the region.  

The Birds of Northeast Tennessee, An Annotated Checklist, 2nd Ed.
By Richard L. Knight. 2008. Bristol Bird Club, Bristol.

Lists 319 species reported in Carter, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington Counties. Includes bar graph showing seasonal occurrence and abundance and 120 color photos of birds taken in the coverage area.

Bird Study in Shady Valley, Tennessee, 1934-1999
By J. Wallace Coffey and John L. Shumate, Jr. 1999. Bristol Bird Club, Bristol.

Shady Valley, in the northeast corner of Tennessee, is the state's highest mountain valley. This book describes the 188 species recorded n the valley and gives a very personal history of bird study in the area. It also describes the physical environment and habitat changes in the area, and includes several historic and some previously unpublished photographs.

Birds of Putnam County, Tennessee, 2nd Ed.
By Stephen J. Stedman. 2009. Published online at

An annotated checklist of the birds recorded in Putnam County, which straddles the Cumberland Plateau, Eastern Highland Rim, and Central Basin. Species descriptions include status, breeding evidence, high counts, and early and late dates.

Notes on the Birds of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and the Obed National Wild and Scenic River
By Stephen J. Stedman and Barbara H. Stedman. 2002. Cookeville.

This small book containing short species accounts and other information about the birds recorded in these two areas is available for $17 (including postage and handling) by sending a check to the authors at 2675 Lakeland Drive, Cookeville, TN 38506.

Notes on the Birds of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
By Arthur Stupka. 1963. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Although out of print, this book remains the single best source of information on birds in the most visited national park. It includes detailed descriptions of the distribution, abundance, and seasonal occurrence of birds recorded in the Smokies from the late 1800s through 1960. It is not hard to find through rare book dealers, and is in many Tennessee libraries.

Books on Finding Birds in Tennessee

Bird Finding in Tennessee
By Michael L. Bierly. 1980. Privately published, Nashville. Library of Congress Catalog No.: 79-53481.

This is the first such publication for Tennessee. Aging and in need of revision, but still very useful when combined with road maps.

Birds of the Blue Ridge Mountains
By Marcus B. Simpson, Jr. 1992. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.

Good description of places to find the high elevation specialties in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest.

Tennessee Wildlife Viewing Guide
By Paul Hamel and Laura Mitchell. 1993. Falcon Press, Helena, Montana.

Part of the series on state guides coordinated by Defenders of Wildlife. Most of the 81 sites are best known for their birds. It also describes areas to view other wildlife such as bats, salamanders, and fish.

Historical Documents

Tennessee Ornithological Society Papers

This important collection of historic TOS papers is housed in the Special Collections Department, Hodges Library, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The papers date back to 1882 and many are unpublished material by Albert Ganier, one of the founders of the TOS. More recent papers include hawk migration records and documentation of rare bird observations.


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