Rankin Bottoms in Cocke County is a large floodplain area at the junction of the French Broad and Nolichucky Rivers. It is best known for outstanding numbers of migratory shorebirds and long-legged waders during the late summer and early fall. Most of the area is within the pool of Douglas Reservoir, and habitat conditions, the numbers and variety of birds present, and the area’s accessibility by birders are greatly dependent on the reservoir’s water level. Birding at Rankin Bottoms is very good at other times of the year. Much of the area is part of 1,255-acre Rankin Wildlife Management Area, which is managed by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for waterfowl. The majority of Tennessee’s ducks and geese have been found here in winter, along with Bald Eagles, Sandhill Cranes, Tundra Swan, and a variety of sparrows. Gulls and terns can be also numerous on upper Douglas Lake. Nesting species include Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Red-headed Woodpecker, and abundant Wood Ducks, Green Herons, and Prothonotary Warblers. An immense nesting colony of cliff swallows can be seen under Rankin Bridge. This is the premier site in East Tennessee for warm season waterbirds including Wood Duck, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Egret, Osprey, shorebirds, Cliff Swallow, and Prothonotary Warbler. In winter, permanent water features provide waterfowl habitat. In all, there have been a total of 89 waterbird species documented. Osprey nests are located on bridges, silos, towers and dead cottonwoods in the area. Large numbers of migrant songbirds are also present in spring and fall.