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Extreme Birding

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Part of push to bring tourists back to region 5 miles from Marion

THOMAS SPENCER News staff writer

MARION - Near the Cahaba River, between a bottomland forest and swamp of cypress and tupelo trees, students from Auburn's Rural Studio have erected what is believed to be the tallest birding tower in the United States.
Reaching 100 feet above the forest floor, the former fire tower - cleaned, re-engineered and reassembled on the site - offers a trip to the tree canopy at one of the best birding sites in Alabama.
At its heights, you can hear the rapping of pileated woodpeckers echoing through the swamp and the warning cry of an egret taking flight at the approach of visitors. Three generations of bald eagles nest in a loblolly pine on adjacent land and can sometimes be seen soaring overhead. Ospreys and cranes share the swampy woods and waters with zipping songbirds and flitting butterflies.
Judson College biology professor Thomas Wilson, a frequent visitor to the tower, said birds s…