Press release from Chimney Rock State Park:
Birders at all levels will enjoy visiting Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park on Saturday, Sept. 16, during the Park’s ninth annual Flock to the Rock Event. Not only can Park guests enjoy 75-mile views of Lake Lure and the Hickory Nut Gorge, but they can also take part in a variety of birding activities starting at 7:30 a.m. At that time, the Park will hold a Fall Early Bird Walk for registered guests. During this hike, participants are encouraged to bring their binoculars and look for warblers, vireos, Peregrine Falcons and other winged wonders.
Individuals interested in joining this early-morning event need to call 800-277-9611 to register. Cost for the Early Bird Walk is $22 Adult, $7 Annual Passholder, $12 Youth (ages 5-15), $5 Grady’s Kids Club Member and includes Park admission. Advance registration required.
Later in the day a variety of educational birding activities, live bird programs and a hawk count at the top of Chimney Rock will occur. Special to the event are Wings to Soar Birds in Flight shows in the Indoor Classroom on the Meadows.
“Chimney Rock is one of the most spectacular locations in Western North Carolina to spot a wide range of birds throughout the year, from countless warblers and vireos to tanagers and birds of prey. Flock to the Rock is held during the peak of fall migration and draws enthusiastic birders of all levels to the Park,” said Emily Walker, Chimney Rock Management, LLC Education Manager.
Flock to the Rock is included with paid Park admission, which is $13 for adults, $6 for youth (ages 5-15) and free for kids 4 years and under. An additional fee applies only to the Naturalist Niche: Early Bird Walk, which requires advance registration. Chimney Rock is an official site on the N.C. Birding Trail. For more details and a schedule of birding activities, visit http://www.chimneyrockpark.com/events/event_detail.php?EVENT_ID=394.
A Premier Birding Destination
From its winding riverbanks to its dramatic cliffs, Chimney Rock is a haven for North Carolina resident birds, migrating birds and, of course, bird lovers. From beginner to experienced, people have long been flocking to the Rock to catch glimpses of their favorite birds. Chimney Rock is home to more than 130 species of birds throughout the year, including over 25 warbler species, vireos, tanagers, woodpeckers, thrushes, owls and a wide selection of birds of prey, including Peregrine Falcons.
Home to World’s Fastest Bird of Prey
While at Chimney Rock, train your binoculars along the Park’s soaring cliffs and up into the surrounding sky for a chance to see the amazing acrobatics of a Peregrine Falcon high above Hickory Nut Gorge. Peregrine Falcons (Falco Peregrinus) may slice through the air at more than 60mph or dive on smaller birds in flight at speeds up to 200mph. By the early 1960s, no Peregrines were found in this area, but these magnificent birds have made a comeback thanks to captive-breeding programs. Since 1990 when three of these young birds fledged in the Park, Peregrines have been sighted here almost every year.