Our top trails and preserves for birding | Catawba Lands Conservancy
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Our top trails and preserves for birding

Are you one of the many Carolinians who keep a bird feeder because you like to watch your backyard birds during the winter? Perhaps you just enjoying hearing or seeing birds when you go out for your daily walk. You may not know it, but those simple bird observations can help scientists better understand bird populations here in the Carolinas and globally.

Every year, over four days in February people around the world participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, spending time in their favorite places (even their backyards!) watching and counting birds. They record the birds they see as part of a citizen science initiative that helps the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and other scientists analyze and track birds around the globe. The Great Backyard Bird Count has been happening since 1998 and is now the world’s largest community science project.

This year the count is happening from February 12-15. If you are interested in participating, the Conservancy’s public preserves are perfect places to count birds!

Here are a few of our favorite preserves and trails for birding:

  1. Forney Creek Trail – This trail runs through several of our preserves in Lincoln County. The impoundments along the creek that this trail follows make it a great spot to find waterfowl. Ducks, grebes and other water-loving species are regularly found here!


  1. Seven Oaks Preserve and Trail – Located along the shoreline of Lake Wylie, this is one of the best spots to go if you’re interested in seeing osprey or bald eagles. Our 2.6-mile trail also takes you through open fields where you can spot birds along the forest fringes.

Seven Oaks Preserve, on a Lake Wylie Cover behind the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens


  1. Pharr Family Preserve and Trail – We have it on good authority that some serious birders love to visit this preserve. But even on a casual birding walk you could easily spy a variety of species. Listen closely and you may hear a pileated woodpecker, the largest woodpecker species in the Carolinas. These birds need mature trees like those found in Pharr Family Preserve to survive.

Pharr Family Preserve Trail

Even if you don’t make it to one of these three, any of our public preserves or trails in the Carolina Thread Trail network offer an opportunity for birding. Check out the map of our public properties or the Thread Trail online map to find one near you.

And make sure you check out more about the Great Backyard Bird Count, to learn how you can participate and submit your bird sightings!