Discover local wildlife at the Birding and Nature FestivalApril 27, 2016
Meet the New River Gorge’s rarest and most colorful feathered neighbors up close.
Bird lovers have something to crow about in May. The Birding and Nature Festival showcases the Gorge’s incredibly diverse animal and plant population.
Are you all atwitter? Here’s what to expect:
On the wing
The Bird and Nature Festival hasn’t been around too long— just 14 years— but it sure has momentum! For 7 full days, fowl friends gather in the Gorge for an all-out immersion.
Wonder why? Our area is a crucial stopover habitat for migrating birds. More than 300 species roost here, giving nature lovers plenty of chances to identify and discuss these colorful creatures.
Finding a comfortable perch
Think this festival is all work and no play? Think again. Casual activities and workshops keep things lighthearted, but stimulating.
“Dinner on the Boardwalk” inaugurates bird week on May 1, the night before the festival. Recline on the boardwalk at Wolf Creek Park Wetlands and listen to evening birdsong. While the staff point out noteworthy sights and sounds, relish gourmet fare with wine and beer.
Mornings start off pleasurably, too. You’ll eat a hot breakfast every day at Burnwood Park. Field trips and hikes fill the rest of the afternoon.
Come to Opossum Creek Retreat and relax on the porch with other birders and even the experts. Be there by 3 p.m.— that’s when the laid-back Popcorn Presentations start! Hang around for dinner and a lecture every evening, too.
Choose from an assortment of trips that will take you around the Gorge.
Gold Standard Trips, for example, include the ever-popular “Birding by Butt.” Simply slouch in your chair— get it? “by butt!”— and sip coffee while looking for birds that swoop past. You’ll also get to walk through tunnels of magnolias at Long Point and tour the Summerlee Rail Trail for blue-winged warblers and rose-breasted grosbeaks.
Premium Trips include trips to Cotton Hill, a hardwood forest that South American birds love. Maybe you’ll see a dazzling cerulean warbler! You can also visit Bolt Mountain to spot grasshopper sparrows, young killdeers and all kinds of warblers.
Die-hard bird hobbyists favor the All-Day Trips to spots like Muddelty Strips, where cerulean warblers, water birds and butterflies add brilliant spots of color to the landscape. You can also visit Cranberry Glades, an ancient region dating back to glacial times. Find black-throated blues and greens, warblers, red-breasted nuthatches and more.
Have you ever been to the Birding and Nature Festival?