Birding in Blowing Rock

Nuthatch photo by Jesse Pope
Nuthatch photo by Jesse Pope

Blowing Rock is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway and bordered by the Pisgah National Forest, providing close proximity and easy access to a multitude of habitats. This area of the Blue Ridge Mountains provides a home for about 160 breeding species of birds, with over 250 species appearing with regularity during migrations. In fact, the High Country is one of the most diverse breeding and spring migration areas in the eastern United States, with large numbers of neo-tropical migrants and forest interior species. Several species, like the Canada Warbler, are at the southern-most end of their breeding range while here, contributing the wide assortment of birds found in our backyard.

When is the best time to view birds in Blowing Rock?
Spring migration in the area happens in April and May, and September is the best time to see fall migrations. The months between are great for viewing breeding species. Winter months are host to our year-round residents like crimson Cardinals and cheeky Juncos.

Which species can be found here?
The High Country species list on the High Country Audubon site is especially helpful if you want to time your visit to see certain birds. This local Audubon Chapter has a great website with checklists for great local birding spots, too!

Other great birding links:
Audubon North Carolina
Carolina Bird Club
Local Birding News on Ray’s Weather– This page is updated infrequently now, but archives give good info on past sightings, local habitats, and bird behaviors.

Crossbill photo by Jesse Pope

Where can birds be observed in Blowing Rock?
With so many undeveloped areas near Blowing Rock, birds can be seen almost anywhere. Spending time on park benches or in quiet meadows on the Blue Ridge Parkway nearby will reveal many species of interest. Many of the best places for bird viewing have become designated sites on the North Carolina Birding Trail, a state-wide collection of great birding sites and communities. Here is a list of official sites closest to the accommodations, dining, and activities in Blowing Rock.
North Carolina Birding Trail sites and estimated mileage from Blowing Rock:
-Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, in Blowing Rock
-Julian Price Memorial Park, 5 miles from downtown Blowing Rock
-Tanawha Trail, access 5 miles
-Boone Greenway, 7 miles
-Grandfather Mountain, 12 miles
-Valle Crucis Community Park, 12 miles
-Elk Knob State Park, 17 miles
-Green Valley Community Park, 17 miles
-E.B Jeffress Park, 22 miles
-Lewis Fork Overlook, 24 miles
-Linville Falls, 25 miles
The North Carolina Birding Trail recognizes many more sites in the mountains, piedmont and coast of our state. To see a full listing, and to get more information on the sites above, visit www.NCBirdingTrail.org.

While you’re here:

Click the calendar link at the top of this page to see other events happening in the area. The attractions tab will show you what else the area has to offer during your visit. If you are coming to see a crimson Cardinal in the snow, don’t forget about our great local ski slopes. When here to see summer Warblers, plan to stay over for an Art in the Park show. Our restaurants, shops, and accommodations are great any time of year!