Word to the Wing

A Peregrine Falcon in Hickory Nut Gorge

How did birding get so big with no one looking? Sure, the hobby has been around at least as long as the Audubon Society — 115 years, to be exact. But avian watching, perhaps because it can be practiced in one’s own backyard, positively soared in popularity in the early days of the pandemic. Then, too, birding can be a political harbinger of the times (the regional Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society was recently renamed the Blue Ridge Audubon Society, due to its former namesake’s status as a slaveholder and vocal proponent of slavery). To say that the Blue Ridge mountains have birds in abundance is too mild — in fact, certain pockets of the Southern Appalachians support more bird diversity than anywhere in the world. Chimney Rock Park in Hickory Nut Gorge is one such sanctuary, and at press time, coordinators were still hoping to open this month’s Flock to the Rock program to locals and visitors. The once-endangered Peregrine Falcon is among the feathered friends on the roster that day. “We are having to make some changes due to COVID restrictions, but we are still planning on hosting the event,” reports Chimney Rock Park Public Relations Manager Nick Stauber. “We will be updating our website with the details as we know more.” 

The 12th Annual Flock to the Rock happens at Chimney Rock Park on Saturday, Sept. 26, 10am-3pm. Cost is included in park admission. See chimneyrockpark.com for updates.

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