The Upper Cumberland Region (UCR) of Kentucky and Tennessee comprises 26 counties (Figure 1), ten in the former state and sixteen in the latter.  This Region is diverse, with substantial parts of three major physiographic provinces being present within its  boundaries—the Cumberland Plateau, the Highland Rim, and the Central Basin—as well as parts of other physiographic elements, such as the Cumberland Mountains and the Sequatchie Valley. The Region's name derives from the major watercourse running through it—the Cumberland River, which enters the Region in the northeast near Somerset in Pulaski County, Kentucky, and exits more than a 240 km (150 mi) to the southwest near Carthage in Smith County, Tennessee. 

     The UCR is moderately large, encompassing 26,450 km2 (10,212.4 mi2).  Population centers range from moderate-sized towns, such as Glasgow and Somerset, Kentucky, and Cookeville and Crossville, Tennessee, to many hamlets of 100 or fewer residents dotting the mainly rural countryside of the Region.



Unlike the more famous geological reference that comes to mind when one mentions the K/T Boundary, this regional reference brings to mind the long boundary shared between Kentucky and Tennessee, a substantial part of which falls within the UCR. 


       By creating a birding region that straddles two states, I hope to accomplish two tasks: first, to continue the long and fine tradition in Tennessee and Kentucky, whereby birding regions incorporate elements of two or more states (such as the area around Memphis, which includes birding sites within three states, and that around Chattanooga, which includes birding sites within two states); and second, to provide the unconventional perspective that occurs when a region absorbs parts of several political units.  Suddenly, that which had been on the edge of a region, such as Dale Hollow Lake, which lies in large part on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee, becomes a central, rather than a peripheral, part of the region when one views it from the perspective of a birding, rather than a political, unit.  The yawning chasm that arises in the minds of many birders when confronted with state lines will, I hope, close considerably, even disappear, once those birders confront the ornithological kinship that binds all the counties of a region into a single whole and they disregard many of the conventional (and sadly ignorant) lessons of their birding, and even their general, education.








     A bird book covering small sections of two states, as this one does, must deal with a number of basic issues if it is to provide readers with a foundation for understanding what birds occur within its area of coverage, as well as where and in what abundance they occur.

     Links to some issues critical to a basic understanding of the avifauna documented within the Upper Cumberland Region, as well as where the more than 300 species are known to occur and how those interested in birds may document their presence, are provided below:



The Official List of the Birds of the Upper Cumberland Region


Counties of the Upper Cumberland Region

  Calendar of Birding Events in the Upper Cumberland Region
  Bird-Monitoring Plan for the Upper Cumberland Region
  Bird Reports for the Upper Cumberland Region, 2001–Present
  Identifying BirdsReview of Bird Field Guides
  Documenting Bird Records
  Archiving Bird RecordseBird


                                   The Commandments of Birding

1. Thou shalt not yap during birdwalks, birding trips, and bird counts.

2. Thou shalt not move during spishing efforts or listening episodes.

3. Thou shalt not slam doors during birding trips by car.

4. Thou shalt not wear coats or clothes of many bright colors on bird trips.

5. Thou shalt not munch unceasingly during bird trips.

6. Thou shalt learn the current spelling and phylogenetic order of bird names, which thou shalt not take in vain.

7. Thou shalt learn the songs and calls of birds, as well as the visual clues to i.d. them.

8. Thou shalt not adulterate records of bird sightings.

9. Thou shalt honor the birds of the night, as well as the birds of the day.

10. Thou shalt not express pique toward those who point out what thou shalt not do.




Clickable Contents

Front Dust Jacket
Back Dust Jacket
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication and Epigraphs
Preface to the First Edition
List of Figures
List of Tables
Field Observers Working in UCR
Explication of the Species Accounts
Species Accounts


Quick links to other sections of this website: