McDowell County is home to birds found in the Canadian, Alleghanian and Carolinian Zones. The range in elevation is attractive to a large variety of birds. When searching for your favorite, be certain not to disturb the environment and follow state and federal regulations. Some species are protected by law. Before planning a trip, review regulations for the Pisgah National Forest by visiting this site. Birds found throughout the state, such as the Bluebird, Red Cardinal, Quail and Wild Turkey are not included on this site.
The Mountain section of the N.C. Birding Trail will be open in June 2009. Order your copy here!
The Canadian Zone is located in the northwestern portion of McDowell County. The following birds are found nowhere else in the state:
The Carolina Junco is found in both the Canadian and Alleghanian zones.
The Alleghanian or transition zone occupies the western half of the county. Here you will find:
These birds enter the Alleghanian zones from the Carolinian but do not extend beyond it into the Canadian:
The Carolinian or upper austral zone includes the mid-section and eastern half of the county. In the valley, areas below 2500 feet, you will find:
These birds also range into the Alleghanian:
As the summer begins to wind down, change takes place. As the days become shorter, some species prepare to move. These mountains form a convenient route for birds riding the air currents south. A mixture of birds, ducks, geese, raptors and butterflies float on thermal and deflective currents across these hills and valleys. Monarchs are particularly plentiful in the area surrounding the Orchard at Altapass. The Orchard features and annual Monarch release each year.