Pull up a chair on the back porch and watch a magnificent array of local and migrating birds as they fly around the orchard in search of seeds, apples, or a worm or two. View Mother Nature's wonders in a seemingly simpler time.*
* Come early (June/early July) to watch the swallows build their nests in the rafters. But remember—they're a protected species, going where they will, doing what they will. Watch where you sit, step.

Birding Tips

Open areas of the Orchard trails, the Orchard Road, adjacent Parkway and Hefner Gap have more productive birding in the morning—before 10 AM. (Our trails are open year-round.)
Especially during spring and early summer, listening for various songs and calls is often the best way to locate birds.
Having a good pair of binoculars is especially necessary for spotting many smaller bird species, such as warblers and wrens.
Fall migration (mid-August to early October) is the best time to witness the greatest variety of species as well as individual bird numbers. 
During fall migration, local birder Bill Haddad is happy to guide and assist visiting birders or novices, free of charge, providing that he is available that day. Please contact him in advance at 828-766-9998.

Let Your Eyes Soar

Barn Swallows nest under the Orchard’s deck, pavilion rafters and through much of the spring and summer, can be seen gliding through the air feeding on insects. Also look for Tree and Rough-winged Swallows in this area and along the Orchard Road. Other birds commonly seen from the deck include Eastern Bluebird, American Goldfinch, Eastern Phoebe, and Turkey Vulture. Other birds, such as Indigo Bunting and American Robin occasionally appear.

Resident Birds

Warblers include Hooded, common Yellowthroat, Black-throated, Green, and the American Redstart, but non-resident varieties populate this area during their fall migration from mid-August to early October. Also, wild turkeys are often seen on the shoulders of the adjacent Parkway and appear with greater frequency and in larger numbers in the fall. 


Migratory Birds

Migratory as well as resident birds are generally much more readily seen and heard during the morning hours, usually before 10 AM. The Orchard Road and the stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway adjacent to the Overlook just above the Orchard (walking south from the paved overlook), as well as Hefner Gap on the Parkway (approximately mile marker 326—2 miles north of the Orchard) are exceptional fall migration areas from mid-August through early October.

Over 20 warbler species can be seen in these three areas during each fall migration, some more often than others, in mixed flocks, and often accompanied by other bird species, such as orioles and tanagers. Warblers that are seen include Tennessee, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Hooded, Canada, Chestnut-sided, Northern Parula, Pine, Blackburnian, Bay-breasted, Worm-eating, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, Black and White, Cape May, Magnolia, and American Redstart. Also seen, but not as often, are Nashville, Golden-winged, Blackpoll, Blue-winged, Prairie, Kentucky, Wilson’s, and Yellow Warblers. Very late in the fall migration, Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers are also present. Often, a few varieties mentioned above can be found on successive mornings.

Other migrants seen in this area during fall include Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Brown Thrasher, Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoo, Wood, Swainson’s and Gray-cheeked Thrushes, Veery, Baltimore Oriole, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Wood Pewee, Cedar Waxwing, Blue-headed, Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Videos, Northern Flicker, and Northern Raven among others.


1025 Orchard Road

Spruce Pine, NC 28777

Blue Ridge Parkway
(mile marker 328.3)



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