Area birding trails open with celebration Saturday in Columbus

Published 3:49 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Torlina will be leading a bird walk on the Shuford trail system, helping people tune in to the songs and sights of local birds residing here this time of year. Torlina will emphasize the importance of PAC&squo;s dedication to maintaining woodland and greenspace areas, as well as waterways, for birds to live and thrive.

The morning&squo;s festivities will include activities for children, with The Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) helping young people make peanut butter pine cone bird feeders, and PAC&squo;s providing a display of birds and their nests. Refreshments with a &dquo;bird snack&dquo; theme will be provided, and birdhouses prepared by Boy Scout Troop 128 will be on sale.

Maps of PAC&squo;s three protected birding trails‐Shuford, Norman Wilder Forest, and FENCE‐will be available, as well as maps of the birding trail at the Tryon Garden Club&squo;s Pearson&squo;s Falls and the Green River Game Lands, which is managed by the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission. Representatives from all of Polk County&squo;s birding trails will be on hand to talk about their trails.

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Possible bird sightings for the people who attend PAC&squo;s opening at the Shuford trail are: red-tailed hawk, wild turkey, red-bellied and downy woodpeckers, eastern phoebe, blue jay, American crow, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, Carolina wren, wood thrush, American robin, brown thrasher, cedar waxwing, blue-headed and red-eyed vireo, yellow-rumped warbler, black and white warbler, scarlet tanager, northern cardinal, eastern towhee, song sparrow, and American goldfinch.

PAC&squo;s celebration will come on the tailfeathers of the June 25 official opening at the Asheville Arboretum of the North Carolina Birding Trail system (see box above).

The stated purpose of this system is: &dquo;To conserve and enhance North Carolina&squo;s bird habitat by promoting sustainable bird watching activities, economic opportunities and conservation education.&dquo;

Developed by the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission, Audubon N.C., N.C. State Parks, N.C. Sea Grant, N.C. Cooperative Extension Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, along with partners and volunteers, the overall trail stretches from the coastal wetlands to high mountain forests and represents more than 460 species of birds native to North Carolina.

&dquo;PAC is extremely honored to have three of its protected properties included in the North Carolina Birding Trail, one of which is on the conservation easement at FENCE,&dquo; says PAC Executive Director Sally Walker; &dquo;and we are pleased to join with Pearson&squo;s Falls and the Green River Gamelands in providing a network of natural surroundings in which people can appreciate the beauty and value of the birds special to our area.&dquo;

PAC has helped permanently protect more than 7,000 acres in the foothills area, much of it contributing to wildlife habitat. PAC also adheres to the State Wildlife Action Plan. &bsp;

For more information about the June 27 birding trail opening, contact the PAC office at 828-859-5060 or go to Attendees are asked to park at the Federal Credit Union (SECU) building on Shuford Rd. to avoid congestion.