Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park’s annual birding event, Flock to the Rock, has reached an important milestone. The 2023 event on September 30th will be the 15th celebration of fall bird migration in the area. The event was started in 2009 as an added value event for the public and has become a calendar favorite for locals and visitors alike. Today, the feathered frenzy includes an early morning Birding Hike, beginner bird walks, live bird programs featuring the Park’s five raptor ambassadors and guest birds from Wings to SOAR, and more.
One of the highlights of Flock to the Rock is live raptor programs featuring birds native to western North Carolina. The Park’s five feathered ambassadors – four owls and a red-tailed hawk – will certainly make appearances, and owls, falcons, and eagles from local partner Wings to SOAR help guests learn more about these amazing birds of prey. As the event takes place during fall migration, guests can participate in the “Hawk Watch” on the chimney where staff and visitors track the number of migratory species passing through the Park.
There’s also a count of a different migratory creature: monarch butterflies. Chimney Rock State Park is an official Monarch Waystation Habitat. Each year, monarchs migrate from the United States and Canada to the mountains of Mexico where they wait out cold winter temperatures. Monarch waystations are places that provide resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. This means we often see hundreds of monarch butterflies passing through the Park on their journey south. Spot some for yourself and learn more about how you can support pollinators.
Hoping to try your hand at America’s fastest-growing hobby? Flock to the Rock is the perfect opportunity to learn more about birding, whatever your experience level. The day starts with an early morning birding hike with a local birding expert (advance registration required). If you’re not sure where to begin, join our staff on some of the shorter intro to birding walks throughout the day.
This year, Flock to the Rock is part of NC State Parks’ Year of the Trail Celebration. Chimney Rock is a designated stop on the North Carolina Birding Trail because of the many unique species that call the Park home at some point during the year. In many ways, the Park is a birder’s paradise with seven different species of warbler, dozens of birds of prey, and many species of significance like Peregrine Falcons – the fastest bird in the world.
Join us for Flock to the Rock on September 30th from 10 am to 3 pm and enjoy the fifteenth year of feathered fun!