North Carolina to establish birding trail

This is good news, maybe just the ticket to reawaken my long dormant birdwatching predelictions. The money this brings in will doubtless fund the continued existence of wetlands and other endangered habitats. | Beauty, bucks sought in bird trail

SWANSBORO – With hundreds of colorful birds already visiting and calling Eastern North Carolina home, the state is encouraging bird lovers to bring their binoculars and billfolds to watch them. The N.C. Birding Trail unveiled this week links dozens of sites long known to birders as packed with rare, popular or threatened species, such as the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

But state officials are promoting the trail as nature-themed tourism and hope it will give the financially stressed region an economic boost.Forget the notion of birdwatching as a sedate, nerdy activity. Now hunting and fishing guides are running bird charters and bird-related tourism is worth millions.

“We have people coming here from all over the country,” said John Ennis of Brunswick County, eastern vice president of the Carolina Bird Club. “It’s a great resource.”

When completed, the North Carolina trail will include dozens of places across the state that visitors can reach by car and look for more than 440 species of birds.

The first section, which highlights the coastal region, includes 102 birding sites in 16 groupings east of Interstate 95. A Piedmont trail that will bundle sites between Interstate 95 and Interstate 77 is scheduled to be completed next year with a mountain trail slated after that.

At least 100 sites have already been approved for the Piedmont section with three dozen in the Triangle. Birders will be directed to state and local lands such as Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in Cary, Raleigh’s Lake Johnson Park, Eno River State Park in Orange County and Duke Forest in Durham County.

Salinda Daley, N.C. Birding Trail Coordinator, said that describing the program as a trail causes some misunderstanding because it is not just lines on a map. She said promotional material links spectacular bird watching sites and birders with communities and businesses.

hey, who’re you calling a nerd!!

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