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Where To Bird Watch in North Carolina

With 470 species of birds native to North Carolina and hundreds of others that migrate through this area, you can travel the state from the coast to the mountains to catch a glimpse of a huge variety of birds. With its moderate climate, North Carolina is a fantastic place to go birding year-round. Here are some of the best places to go bird watching throughout the state.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

The variety of habitats in the Outer Banks, which includes marshes, beaches, inlets, woodlands, sounds, bays and barrier dunes, allow for a diverse assortment of birding opportunities. North Carolina beachfront rentals can be booked for your favorite season, giving you the opportunity to hunt for an array of shorebirds with your binoculars and your journal in hand.

Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge

The largest natural lake in North Carolina, Lake Mattamuskeet becomes home to thousands of tundra swans in the winter season. Also commonly spotted in the winter are Bald Eagles, which come here to nest. With a range of habitats in this area, including marshes and woodlands, other sightings can include herons, osprey and ibises. Over 200 bird species have been viewed here.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Because of the elevation, many species found along the parkway won’t be seen anywhere else in North Carolina. Some of the best spots for bird watching along the Blue Ridge include Linville Gorge, Great Craggy Mountains, Shining Rock and Devil’s Courthouse. You may see species such as the Ruffled Grouse, Peregrine Falcon, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Veery, Dark-eyed Junco and Red Crossbill. Plan this trip in the spring, summer or fall as the higher elevation points may close down in the winter due to snow.

Airlie Gardens

More than 210 species of birds have been spotted in this large garden on the east side of Wilmington. Only two miles from the Atlantic coast, this 67-acre garden boasts 10 acres of freshwater ponds. The Hooded Merganser duck is a common sighting from fall through the spring and plenty of wading birds, including the White Ibis, Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron, are here year-round. If you happen to visit during the fall or spring, you’ll have the opportunity to view a diverse range of migrant songbirds.

With a huge diversity of habitats across the state, North Carolina might become your favorite place to go bird watching. Grab your camera, binoculars and journal and travel from the highest elevations in the Appalachian Mountains to the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean.

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