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‘A bit of paradise’

Diana Doyle, birding department editor for the American Birding Association, isn’t the first person to visit Johnny Mack and Martha Morrow’s Cypress Cove Farm in Red Bay – but she is one of the few to send the Morrows a note praising their property and sharing and the birds she saw there.

“I wanted to thank you for opening your property to the public as a stop on the Alabama Birding Trail,” her note reads. “As an avid birder, I visited your property several times, hiking the trails and watching the birds come down to the water at ‘Bluebird Creek.’ You have a bit of paradise!”

Doyle said she and her husband were in the area for a week, following their purchase of a Tiffin Motorhome.

During her visit, she tallied more than 50 species of birds at Cypress Cove Farm; she even sent the Morrows her documentation form, cataloguing the birds identified.

“I report my sightings to the citizen science database eBird, so they are permanently accessible to other birders and scientists,” she explained.

Doyle lists all kids of feathered friends, like Turkey Vulture, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Red-eyed Vireo, Kentucky Warbler, Indigo Bunting and Carolina Wren, just to name a few, as birds sighted during her visit.

Morrow said he was pleased to hear how much Doyle enjoyed Cypress Cove Farm, where he spends many hours maintaining the property, including seven miles of trails, and promoting the wildlife.

“It takes a lot of time to keep it up and presentable,” he said. “That’s feedback from a professional, and if we can get the word out, tourists will be coming to Franklin County and spending money.”

For Morrow, the impact goes beyond an appreciation and spread of love of nature. It’s about building the economy.

“For too many years we had this mindset that if we’re not buying something or making something, it’s not economic development,” he said. “But if money is coming in from other areas that has not been in this local economy, that’s new money, and when it’s spent here … that money multiplies. It changes hands an average of six times before it leaves, and that increases spending.”

“That’s what it’s all about.”

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