Bird love abounds this month at The North Carolina Arboretum with a calendar of events for young and old. Called one of the fastest growing outdoor activities in the nation, birding is particularly fitting in winter months when bare trees offer more visibility of the species that spend winter in our area, such as yellow-bellied sapsuckers and purple finches.
“By hosting our ‘Love Birds’ February celebration,” says George Ivey, director of public engagement, “we hope to encourage people to fall in love with nature—particularly birds—by learning more about them and getting out to see our feathered friends for themselves.”
The Arboretum’s youth education department will host several events for youngsters, including a bird count on Saturday, February 11. Since 1998, an annual Great Backyard Bird Count has invited citizens across the country to help with the collection of data on wild birds by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. Arboretum educators will be on hand to help its visitors participate in this project and other activities. EcoEXPLORE participants in kindergarten through eighth grades are also invited to a bird count and walk at the West Asheville Library on Saturday, February 18.
For older visitors and members, the Arboretum will host two birding classes, Neotropical Birding on Wednesday, February 1, and Winter Birding on Wednesday, February 8. There will also be a class on building bluebird boxes Thursday, February 23.
Visitors to the Arboretum at any time are invited to pick up a brochure that lists birds that may be seen along the trails in its 434 acres of gardens, forests and streams.
“Of course,” Ivey says, “February is also a great month for newly engaged ‘love birds’ to visit the Arboretum to start planning their weddings.” The Arboretum’s Green Wedding Program offers its lovely gardens as venues for ceremonies, cocktail hours and receptions. For more information, email weddings@ ncarboretum.org.
The North Carolina Arboretum is located in Asheville off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 393. For more information about times and locations for these and other February events, visit ncarboretum.org or call 828.665.2492.