In with a Gallop, out with a Chirp

Don’t forget about your feathered friends this winter.

The 10-day FEI World Equestrian Games came to Tryon late this summer trailing a year-long buildup of fanfare and featuring much of-the-moment drama, thanks to chaotic September weather (in the form of high humidity and Hurricane Florence). For balance, the region closes the year on a quiet note; events include a bird-feeding workshop at Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE), down the road from the Tryon International Equestrian Center, and a “Duck Day” including stops in Henderson County.

FENCE is a nature-study preserve encompassing six miles of hiking and riding trails on some 380 acres. This month, a week before the park closes for its annual winter break, wild-bird expert Aaron Steed offers a basics course in what to
feed various feathered friends in the cold months. 

“I’ll be summarizing all the different types of products — feeders, seed blends, and hardware — that folks will need to feed birds in their yards,” says Steed. He’ll also talk about what
combination of products attract which species, and discuss the best ways to deter squirrels, bears, and other wildlife. 

Common winter feeder birds including the Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, American Goldfinch, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Eastern Towhee will be the stars of the December event. “A scarcity of natural food [in winter] forces more birds to spend more time at feeders,” he points out, “and lack of vegetative cover in winter also allows many of these birds to be more easily spotted.”

Working for Ventures Birding Tours, Steed and his crew lead adventurous birdwatchers to Iceland, Ecuador, Morocco, Panama, Bhutan, and Uganda, among other global locales, in search of exotic species. But the FENCE event is all about treating our own backyard flyers right. 

— M.J. MacAodh

The bird-feeding class runs Friday, Dec. 14, 10am-11:30am. Free. FENCE is located at 3381 Hunting Country Road, Tryon. For more information, call 828-859-9021 or see fence.org. On Sunday, Dec. 16, Ventures Birding sponsors Duck Day: Exploring the Lakes and Reservoirs of Henderson, Haywood, & Buncombe Counties, with an emphasis on the region’s common and rare waterfowl. 9am. $60 includes lunch. www.birdventures.com.

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