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TENNESSEE WILDLIFE VIEWING TRAIL » Middle Tennessee
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Tennessee NWR - Duck River Unit

Site Directions: Eagle Creek and Birdsong areas approximately 7 miles southeast of Camden; and Duck River Bottoms approximately 5 miles south of New Johnsonville, in the counties of Benton and Humphreys, Tennessee.

From Hwy 70 in New Johnsonville, you can follow the signs to Tennessee NWR - Duck River Unit. From Hwy 70S, head south on Long St. (large brown NWR sign on the highway) following the signs to the refuge main entrance. Follow Long St for a couple miles to the first Stop Sign. Make a left at the Stop Sign and then the first right onto Hickman Rd. Travel about 1/3 mile and follow sign to the left onto Refuge Lane, which takes you to the main part of the refuge.
Refuge Lane main entrance to the refuge: 35.9743, -87.951287

Access to the west side of the NWR at the "Pump House", travel past Refuge Lane for 2.1 miles around several sharp bends in the road. At 2.1 miles from Refuge Lane, bare left at the split in the road. You quickly come to a T in the road and make a left. This road takes you to a boat ramp and access to the pump house levee. You can park and walk the levee, however there may be signs prohibiting walking past the pump house in winter (15 Nov-15 Mar) when the majority of the refuge is closed (waterfowl sanctuary).
Pump House parking lot: 35.968004,-87.993711

Hours: day light hours
Seasonality: year round, some areas closed in winter, check access
Fees: none

Site Description: The Duck River Unit of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge primarily consists of highly dissected uplands that are largely forested, the adjacent waters and seasonal mudflats of Kentucky Lake, and the intensively managed bottomlands of the Duck River Bottoms. Most of the active management occurs within the Duck River Bottoms. There are 14 impoundments totaling approximately 4,000 surface acres of water. Managed habitats in this area include 1,500 acres of agriculture, 1,300 acres of moist-soil wetlands, and 1,200 acres of open water and woody habitats. The agriculture lands are managed for waterfowl using a cooperative farming program where local farmers plant the fields in row crops and the rent is a portion of the crop that is left standing in the fields. The crops left for waterfowl usually are corn, millet, and winter wheat. Moist-soil management consists of lowering the water in some impoundments to allow annual plants to germinate naturally and gradually flooding to provide wetland habitat.

Wildlife to Watch:
The upland forested areas provide habitat for many species of forest interior birds and currently support nesting Bald Eagles. The mudflats, particularly those at the mouth of the Duck River, are important fall migration habitat for shorebirds, and wintering habitat for waterfowl and wading birds. In addition to the waterfowl habitats, moist-soil areas provide excellent shorebird habitat during spring migration and rail habitat during fall migration. Sora is common in fall migration.

NOTE: Please refer to refuge personnel about hunting seasons and public access dates. Access dates vary by site.


For more information:

Tennessee Ornithological Society - Audubon Important Bird Area site description

Birds of the Duck River Unit at Tennessee NWR from eBird submissions

Duck River Bottoms map

The Tennessee NWR's


Submit your data to eBird and help us add to the list of birds seen at this site


Be sure to check out our Safety Tips page for important information regarding viewing wildlife in these areas.