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Shelandra Y. Ford
Historical Markers of Shelby County

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Mississippi River Bank at Memphis

The River Bank The plants and wildlife found along the riverbanks at Memphis are a product of the climate and the rise and fall of the river. Most visitors are surprised to learn of the tremendous fluctuations in water level, which has varied in recent years over a vertical range of almost 45 feet. Plants which occur naturally on the banks will therefore survive according to their ability to withstand inundation. At the bottom of the bank here you will see (unless the river is too high) several varieties of trees which were planted as part of the park improvements, or which have "volunteered" below the mowing line. To your right, beyond the park, vegetation on the steeper banks shows more of the variety of plants which can occur here. The vegetation provides food for wildlife. There are approximately 87 species of birds which might be found along the river at Memphis. A partial list would include permanent residents such as wood duck, red-tailed hawk, bobwhite, screech owl, hairy woodpecker, mockingbird (the Tennessee State Bird), and Eastern meadowlark. Summer-only residents include yellow-crowned night heron, Mississippi kite, chimney swift, gray catbird, Kentucky warbler, and orchard oriole. In the winter, herring gull, cedar waxwing, American goldfinch, and sparrows are seen, among others. Transients include several species of thrush and warbler.