birding trail 

Rockingham County Group

  • Lake Reidsville Recreational Park
  • Chinqua-Penn Walking Trail
  • Dan River 

Dan River 
The Dan River is a slow river, well suited for beginning to intermediate paddlers. The river flows past high banked slopes and floodplain forest, covering 38 river miles in Rockingham County before it flows northeast into Virginia. To plan a birding trip along the Dan, request a Rockingham County Rivers Guide at 336-623-7789 ext. 3021 or 342-8138. Paddlers along this section of the river may hear the songs of migratory and breeding songbirds during the spring and summer, including Eastern Wood-Pewee, Hooded Warbler and Summer Tanager. Also listen for the hoot of a Barred Owl, the rattle of the Belted Kingfisher, or the cries of Red-shouldered or Red-tailed Hawks overhead. Wading birds hunt along the river’s edge and waterfowl may be occasionally spotted.

Please call 336-623-7789 ext. 3021 to purchase an official North Carolina Birding Trail Guide for the Piedmont Trail. The cost is $20.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

  1. What is the NC Birding Trail? The NC Birding Trail is a partnership project to establish a driving trail linking great birding sites across the state. Six agencies and organizations are involved in the Birding Trail: NC Wildlife Resources Commission, NC State Parks, Audubon NC, US Fish & Wildlife Service, NC Sea Grant, and NC Cooperative Extension. The Trail was implemented in three regional components: the coastal plain, piedmont, and mountains. I-95 is the border between the coastal plain and piedmont regions; I-77 is the border between the piedmont and mountain regions. The coastal plain portion of the Trail was completed in 2007 (102 sites). The piedmont portion of the Trail was completed in 2008 (103 sites), and the mountain region was completed in 2009 (105 sites). To learn more about the NC Birding Trail, visit our Web site: www.ncbirdingtrail.org.
     
  2. How can I help to promote the NC Birding Trail?
    • We work hard to keep our Website (www.ncbirdingtrail.org) accurate and current, so visit often and pass the address along to others! From our homepage, you can print your own copies of this document to distribute to individuals and organizations.
    • Birder calling cards are also available for download from our homepage – print up a few and drop them off at businesses you visit during your travels on the NC Birding Trail. This will help local communities recognize the economic impact of visiting birders.
    • Promote the NC Birding Trail sites in your area to your travel and tourism offices and make sure they’re aware of the local birding hotspots and the benefits of birding trails!
     
  3. What are the benefits of the NC Birding Trail? 
    First of all, birding is big business! The 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-associated Recreation reported that 47.8 million US residents participated in birding around their home or on trips. Over 71 million Americans spent nearly $45 billion in retail sales on observing, feeding, or watching wildlife in the US in 2006. We can attract more nature-based tourists to
    North Carolina. Their local tourism expenditures (food, lodging, transportation, etc.) will provide a boost to local economies and show our residents that there is a value to be placed on protecting our natural resources. The NC Birding Trail will also provide a great educational opportunity for young and old, alike, and may attract more people to visit the natural places that make North Carolina such a beautiful state in which to live and play. More than 35 states across the US have their own birding or wildlife trails.
     
  4. How can I purchase an NC Birding Trail guide? 
    A full-color, spiral bound trail guide will accompany each region of the Trail. Our website (www.ncbirdingtrail.org) reflects the current status of the trail guide series. The completed guides are available at retail pricing at major bookstores, and through the NC Wildlife
    Resources Commission’s Wild Store (1-866-945-3746). Resale orders must be placed through UNC Press (1- 800-848-6224).
     
  5.  Will sites be allowed to sell the NC Birding Trail guides for profit? 
    Yes. We expect that some sites, especially those with staffed visitor centers, will be very interested in selling the guides. To order for resale, contact UNC Press (1-800-848-6224).
     
  6. When can sites expect visitors who are traveling the NC Birding Trail? 
    Many of the 310 NCBT sites across the state are already enjoying visits by birders who have learned of the NCBT and word-of-mouth continues to spread through local, regional, and national media. On-line site descriptions for each regional component of the Trail are available for download from our site ( www.ncbirdingtrail.org, under the Trails menu). Interest in the NC Birding Trail should continue to increase over time, with the help of our trail guide series and promotion by dedicated volunteers and supporters.
     
  7. What kind of questions can site managers expect from visiting birders? 
    Visiting birders will want to know where they can go to look for birds on the property, and what bird species they might find. If you don’t have particular recommendations to give, the best information you can provide is the information contained in the site description. We recommend that you print a copy of the on-line site description for your site. To do this, go to our Web site: www.ncbirdingtrail.org, and navigate to the Trails menu to find the region of interest (coast, piedmont, or mountains). Downloadable (PDF format) group maps and site information are available from there. You can print just your site description, or print a copy of all the site
    descriptions in the group. Keep this handy when people call with questions. The very same information is also available in the printed Trail Guide.
     
  8. How can people find out what birds they might see or hear at a particular site? 
    Each site description gives a short listing of some species of interest that may be found at that site. We are also developing an on-line searchable database that we hope to have functional in 2009. When finished, birders will be able to go to our Web site and search the database by either site or by bird species. We will make an announcement when the database is available.
     
  9. What are some other birding resources I can suggest to birders who visit my site? 
    The introductory information in each Trail Guide lists books and Web sites that are good resources for visiting birders in that region of the state (e.g., local birding clubs and organizations). This information is also found in the on-line documentation, under www.ncbirdingtrail.org, Trails.
     
  10. Will there ever be a chance for new sites to be added to the Trail? 
    After the Birding Trail is implemented in all three regions of the state, we may consider issuing a call for additional site nominations, beginning with the coastal region and working westward. If and when this happens, we will widely announce the process. Since our trail guide series will have already been published, any new sites that might be added to the trail would be highlighted on our Website, but would not be included in a trail guide until there is a reprint.
     
  11. Does the NC Birding Trail have any support available to assist with site improvements? 
    The NC Birding Trail does not have the financial resources to provide money or staff time for site improvements (e.g., boardwalk installations, interpretive signs, photo blinds, etc). We can help to direct you to on-line information sources if you’re looking for ideas or specific guidelines.
     
  12. Are signs be available for each site? The NCBT does not have funding to supply signs to sites along the Trail. Instead, recognizing the need and interest by sites to have Trail designation, we have provided site managers with sign specifications that can be taken to a local vendor
    or sign shop. Estimates for individual sign costs should be under $50/sign (we encourage you to seek multiple estimates). Please contact us for the sign specifications.

Economic Impact of Birding & Wildlife-Watching
2006 US Fish and Wildlife Service National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (2007) (http://federalasst.fws.gov/surveys/surveys.html):

National data

  • 47.8 million US residents observed birds around the home or on trips (fairly narrow definition1, as compared to NSRE, below)
  • 19.8 million US residents traveled away from home to view birds.
  • Over 71 million Americans spent nearly $45 billion (in retail sales) on observing, feeding, or watching wildlife in the US in 2006.

North Carolina data

  • 2.6 million wildlife watchers observers in NC, who spent $916 million in expenditures
    • Of those, 1.6 million observed birds around the home and on trips in the state

National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, NSRE (2007)
(http://warnell.forestry.uga.edu/nrrt/nsre/Nsre/birding0807.pdf)

  • 81.1 million Americans participate in birding (broader definition than USFWS survey2), roughly 35.4% of the population

Wildlife Viewing in NC
The Outdoor Industry Foundation (2006) reported 1.86 million participants in wildlife viewing (bird watching and other wildlife watching) in NC; this accounts for 27% of the population.

The US Fish & Wildlife Service (2006) collected data from visitors at 8 National Wildlife Refuges in NC and VA (Alligator River, Mackay Island, Pea Island, Roanoke River, Pocosin Lakes, Back Bay, Great Dismal Swamp, and Mattamuskeet):

  • Visitor expenditures totaled $166,612,257 within the region
  • 2/3 of respondents considered themselves tourists (not locals)
  • Fishing was the number one primary activity, followed by bird/wildlife watching

Survey of NC Birders
(on-line survey initiated by NC Birding Trail in Fall 2006, sent to members of the Carolina Bird Club and Audubon NC; 463 respondents):

  • 54% of NC birders live in Piedmont region
  • 72% travel away from their home to view birds at least 10 days/year
  • 38% spend more than $80 per trip on trip-related expenses
  • 75% had heard about the NC Birding Trail prior to the survey
  • 92.6% plan to use the NC Birding Trail regional guides to plan future birding trips in NC

Other studies:

  • Approximately 38,000 people visited two southeast Arizona birding “hotspots”—Ramsey Canyon and San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area—from July 1991 to June 1992 and spent an estimated $1.6 million (Crandall, Leones & Colby, 1992).
  • Roughly 100,000 people visited Cape May, NJ in 1993 to observe birds and spent $10 million
    (Kerlinger & Wiedner, 1994).
  • Approximately 100,000 birders visited the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge near McAllen, TX from November 1993 to October 1994 and spent $14 million (Kerlinger, Eubanks & Payne, 1994a).
  • Between 14,500 and 22,700 people visited the Middle Platte River in Nebraska to observe wildlife and spent between $11 million to $18 million (Eubanks, Ditton, & Stoll, 1998).

The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, which consists of over 300 distinct wildlife-viewing sites spread among more than 40 Texas counties, has provided opportunities for travelers to see and learn about Texas wildlife, has promoted an understanding of the need to conserve wildlife habitats, and has helped to diversify local economies through nature-based tourism. In 1999, Eubanks and Stoll conducted an economic impact study of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. They found that:

  • Travelers devoted an average of 31 days/year to birding on the trail.
  • Their most recent trip lasted 8.7 days and 7.6 nights.
  • Travelers on the trail averaged expenditures of $78.50/person/day, within the region.
  • Only 4.6% of travelers on the trail were residents within the region.

Literature Cited

Cordell, H. K., T. L. Eubanks, C. Betz, G. T. Green, B. Stephens, S. Mou. (2007). National Survey on Recreation and the Environment: Bird Watching Trends in the United States, 1994-2006. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station. http://warnell.forestry.uga.edu/nrrt/nsre/Nsre/birding0807.pdf

Crandall, K., Leones, J., and Colby, B. G. (1992). Nature-based tourism and the economy of Southeastern Arizona: Economic impacts of visitation to Ramsey Canyon Preserve and the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. Tuscon, AZ: University of Arizona.

Eubanks, T., Ditton, R. B., and Stoll, R. J. (1998). Platte River nature recreation study: The economic impact of wildlife watching on the Platte River in Nebraska. Report to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Eubanks, T. and Stoll, J. R. (1999). Avitourism in Texas: Two studies of birders in Texas and their potential support for the proposed World Birding Center. Report to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, contract #44467.

Kerlinger, P., Eubanks, T., and Payne, R. H. (1994a) The economic impact of birding ecotourism on the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge Area, Texas, 1993-1994. Report to US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Kerlinger, P., and Wiedner, D.S. (1994, November). America’s favorite birding sites. Bird Watcher’s Digest, 76-81.

Outdoor Industry Foundation (2006). The Active Outdoor Recreation Economy: a $730 billion contribution to the U.S. Economy. Outdoor Industry Foundation.

US Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. (2007) 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife- Associated Recreation, National Overview. Washington, DC.: US Government Printing Office. http://federalasst.fws.gov/surveys/surveys.html

1 Birding as the primary activity or a special interest; closely observing birds to identify species or otherwise study their habits around the home; those who may engage in birding as a secondary activity are not counted.
2 Birders as people who view, photograph, study, identify, or otherwise take interest in wild birds in the outdoors, no matter how often or if the primary activity.