Bird Watching in the North Carolina Mountains
North Carolina is a premier bird watching state. Birders have long known that North Carolina has some of the finest birding hot spots in the region. Through the mountains of western North Carolina, the Tar Heel state provides birders with an unbeatable combination of superb natural area protection with high-quality habitat for bird watching. There are many other activities that also include nature here such as whitewater rafting, horseback riding, viewing waterfalls, hiking, and gem mining. These activities will entertain your family while you take in the sights of the flying creatures above.
Spotting our year round resident and State bird, the Cardinal, is just glorious. You will truly enjoy seeing the bright red coloring of the male. If you'll be visiting the North Carolina mountains you may find this website interesting CarolinaNature.com to view photos of native Carolina birds, plants, bugs and all sorts of interesting finds while you are out birding. You can also see our State flower, the Dogwood, in the Spring and on through the Summer and watch for the gray squirrel and the honey bee, our other State symbols.
For those of you hard-core birders, you may want to visit Highlands Plateau Audubon Society. You will be able to spend time with fellow birders that enjoy coming to the North Carolina mountains to watch for bird species.
For those of you beginner birders, handy items to have with you are:
- Bird watching guide
- Spotting scope or binoculars
Birders everywhere can then head to Western North Carolina Mountains Birding Trail to view 105 approved birding sites. See the map of Western North Carolina with maps and site descriptions for the specific area you wish to bird.
Courtesy of the local Highlands Audubon Society there is a list of the local birds found at the bottom of this article. Just published is a new edition of the "Important Birds of North America". It is now available to purchase on the NCAudubonBlog.
Two reasons our bird population flouishes are the altitude in our area and our many different kinds of floral and fauna found in our plateau environment. A favorite event to finish the birding season is the Christmas bird count. Come be a part of it. Check out the downloadable "Highlands Bird Check List with Season."
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Great Blue Heron
GEESE & DUCKS
American Black Duck
PIGEONS & DOVES
Great Horned Owl
Eastern Screech Owl
NIGHTJARS & NIGHHAWKS
Great Crested Flycatcher
CROWS & RAVENS
MARTINS & SWALLOWS
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
TITMICE & CHICKADEES
NUTHATCHES & CREEPERS
KINGLETS & GNATCATCHERS
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Black & White Warbler
STARLINGS & WAXWINGS
CARDINALS, GROSBEAKS, & BUNTINGS
MEADOWLARKS, BLACKBIRDS, & ORIOLES
OLD WORLD SPARROWS