Biltmore Estate Launches Winter Bird Watch Sessions
It's easy to understand how the 8,000 acres that surround the Biltmore could get overlooked. Competing for attention with America's Largest Home is no cakewalk.
Birdwatching likely isn't the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Biltmore either. Yet, Asheville's most famous attraction is a birder's paradise. Upwards of 200 species of birds have been identified on the estate, which also happens to be official site on the North Carolina Birding Trail.
Here, the acres of formal and informal gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted give way to uncut meadows, pastures, fields, and woods that serve as a habitat for birds and other wildlife.
And that's no coincidence. According to Biltmore's blog, "birds and Biltmore have been a thriving pairing for more than a century." In fact, founders George and Edith Vanderbilt were sustaining members of the N.C. Audubon Society and had Olmsted design islands for the bodies of water as safe places for nesting birds.
And now, thanks to Biltmore's new Winter Bird Watch Sessions, visitors have the opportunity to experience the estate's feathered residents year-round.
In these guided sessions, guests will participate in an ongoing research project to count and identify birds at the Biltmore's winter feeding station in Antler Hill Village. Participants are guided by the outdoor adventure team to gather data about the kinds, numbers, and behaviors of birds that they observe as part of Project FeederWatch through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Citizen-Science Program.
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Winter at Biltmore is a good time to see waterfowl, especially ducks such as buffleheads, hooded mergansers, teal, ring-necked ducks, and occasionally pintails and shovelers. You may even see great blue herons or common snipe in and around wet spots.
Contact Biltmore's Outdoor Adventure Center to book a Winter Bird Watch Session ($5 per person) and find out more about the estate's full outdoor offerings by season.