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Chimney Rock hosts the region’s premier fall migration birding event, Flock to the Rock. This bird watching day features bird walks guided by local experts, workshops ranging from bird photography to hummingbirds, hawk watches, and family nature walks – 11 AM until 3 PM. It coincides with the annual hawk migration when dozens, sometimes hundreds, of hawks can be seen during their flight south. There is no additional cost with paid Park admission (except for the early bird walk at 7:30 AM).
From its winding riverbanks to its dramatic cliffs, Chimney Rock is a haven for North Carolina resident birds, migrating birds and, of course, bird lovers. From beginner to experienced, people flock to the Rock to catch glimpses of their favorite birds. Chimney Rock is home to more than 130 species of birds throughout the year, including over 25 warblers, vireos, tanagers, woodpeckers, thrushes, owls and a wide selection of birds of prey, including the Peregrine Falcon. It’s an official stop on the NC Birding Trail.
Kick off the day with the Early Bird Fall Migration Walk from 7:30-10 AM ($23/person – includes park admission, $8/passholder). This rare chance to get in before the park opens is the best time to check off your bird list. Advance registration required.
Home to World’s Fastest Bird of Prey
While at Chimney Rock, train your binoculars along the Park’s soaring cliffs and up into the surrounding sky for a chance to see the amazing acrobatics of a Peregrine Falcon high above Hickory Nut Gorge. Peregrine Falcons (Falco Peregrinus) may slice through the air at more than 60 mph or dive on smaller birds in flight at speeds up to 200 mph. By the early 1960s, no Peregrines were found in this area, but these magnificent birds have made a comeback thanks to captive-breeding programs. Since 1990 when three of these young birds fledged in the Park, Peregrines have been sighted here almost every year.
For more about the Park, go to the Chimney Rock website.