For the Birds (Actually for the Bird Watchers)

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) on a bush

Listen for our departing winter birds, like this Savannah Sparrow, on the FENCE walk.

Anyone who’s noticed the panoply of slightly confused robins hopping around local lawns lately can confirm this month’s earlier Groundhog Day’s prediction calling for an early spring.

But even though the crocus are peeking through and the weather is wonky, it’s still technically winter in the mountains: no foliage yet, so some winter birds are still hanging around.

An event at the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE), the regular in a series of seasonal bird walks, bridges the edge of the migratory pattern, as some feathered friends — white-crowned, white-throated, and Savannah sparrows — are headed north, and others (tree swallows, gnatcatchers) are emerging to greet the windiest month.

“[Early March] in the Southern Foothills can be a very exciting time as winter slowly slips north,” notes expert birder Simon Thompson, who will lead the walk. “The days are slowly starting to warm up, and we may start to see a few flowers appearing in the still-brown woodlands. Our winter birds are also slowly slipping north, but some will be now starting to sing, and nothing is more beautiful on a winter day than the song of the hermit thrush.”

March 3, 9-11am. 3381 Hunting Country Road, Tryon. 828-859-9021.

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