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High Ridge Haven: A Bird Watchers Paradise

Cashiers, North Carolina is a small town located in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Known for its natural beauty, it is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including many species of birds. Whether you are an avid birder or just enjoy watching birds in your backyard, Cashiers offers a unique opportunity to observe a variety of feathered friends.


Two Eastern Bluebirds sitting on a tree stump.
Two Eastern Bluebirds sitting on a tree stump.

Eastern Bluebird

One of the most iconic birds of the region is the Eastern Bluebird. These beautiful birds are a brilliant blue on their backs and wings, with rusty-red breast and white belly. They are often seen perched on fence posts or fluttering about in open fields. Eastern Bluebirds are cavity nesters, and you can often spot their nests in old tree cavities or man-made nest boxes. During the breeding season, males will sit on top of their nest box and sing to attract a mate.


American Goldfinch

Another bird commonly found in Cashiers is the American Goldfinch. These small, bright yellow birds are easily recognizable and can often be seen flitting about in trees or perched on thistle plants. They are late nesters, waiting until mid-summer when thistles and other plants have gone to seed to build their nests. American Goldfinches are known for their distinctive flight pattern, with a series of undulating wingbeats.

Black-capped chickadee perched on a branch.
Black-capped chickadee perched on a branch.

Black-capped Chickadee

The Black-capped Chickadee is another common bird in the area. These small, friendly birds are known for their distinctive black cap and bib, with white cheeks and gray back and wings. They are often seen hopping from branch to branch in trees, and are easily attracted to backyard bird feeders. Black-capped Chickadees are also cavity nesters, and will use nest boxes or natural cavities in trees.

Pileated woodpecker perched on the side of a tree.
Pileated woodpecker perched on the side of a tree.

Pileated Woodpecker

In addition to these more common birds, Cashiers is also home to several species of woodpeckers. The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest and most impressive of these, with a distinctive red crest and black and white plumage. They are often heard before they are seen, with their loud, resonant drumming echoing through the forest. Other woodpeckers in the area include the Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, and Red-bellied Woodpecker.


Bald Eagle

If you're lucky, you may even spot a Bald Eagle soaring overhead. These majestic birds are more commonly found near bodies of water, but have been known to visit the area from time to time.


Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine falcons are known for their incredible speed and agility in flight, often diving at speeds of up to 240 miles per hour to catch their prey. They are also known for their distinctive dark head and back, with a white belly and barred wings.


The peregrine falcons that inhabit the area around Whiteside Mountain were reintroduced to the region as part of a conservation effort in the 1980s. They were once endangered due to the widespread use of pesticides such as DDT, which caused thinning of their eggshells and reduced their reproductive success.

Thanks to conservation efforts like reintroduction programs and the banning of DDT, peregrine falcon populations have rebounded in recent years. Now, these majestic birds can be seen soaring and hunting in many areas throughout the Appalachian Mountains.


When visiting Cashiers and hoping to catch a glimpse of these impressive birds, be sure to keep an eye out for them around Whiteside Mountain. And at High Ridge Haven, we have mounted commercial binoculars focused with an unobstructive view of Whiteside Mountain. You may be lucky enough to witness one of their high-speed dives or watch as they glide effortlessly through the air.


Falconry


Falconry is the practice of hunting with trained birds of prey, such as falcons, hawks, and eagles. It has a rich history dating back thousands of years and is still practiced today in many parts of the world, including in the highlands of North Carolina.

Pete Kipp, Master Falconer with Curtis-Wright Falconry. Photo Credit: Plateau Daily News
Pete Kipp, Master Falconer with Curtis-Wright Falconry. Photo Credit: Plateau Daily News

There are several falconry experiences available to tourists in the area (see Curtis Wright Outfitters), offering the opportunity to handle and fly trained birds of prey under the guidance of experienced falconers. Visitors can learn about the history and art of falconry, as well as the biology and behavior of the birds themselves.


So if you're looking for an unforgettable outdoor adventure, consider adding a falconry experience to your itinerary. You'll have the chance to get up close and personal with some of nature's most magnificent creatures and learn about the ancient art of falconry.


Bird Watching Tips

  1. Research the Best Birding Spots: Before setting out on a birding trip, it's important to research the best spots to find specific species. For example, if you're hoping to spot a Bald Eagle, you'll want to head to areas near bodies of water. The Cashiers area has many great birding hotspots, including Whiteside Mountain, Lake Glenville, and the Chattooga River.

  2. Timing is Key: Birds are most active in the early morning and late afternoon, so plan your birding trips accordingly. This will increase your chances of spotting more birds, as well as avoid the heat of the day in the summer months.

  3. Bring the Right Gear: A good pair of binoculars is essential for bird watching. Also, consider bringing a birding field guide or birding app to help you identify the birds you spot. Dress in comfortable, muted clothing and wear sturdy, comfortable shoes for hiking.

  4. Be Respectful of Wildlife: Remember that you are a guest in the birds' natural habitat. Avoid disturbing nests or causing undue stress to the birds. Keep a safe distance from the birds and refrain from using flash photography.

  5. Join a Guided Birding Tour: Joining a guided birding tour can be a great way to get the most enjoyment out of your birding experience. Expert guides can help you identify different species, share their knowledge about local habitats, and increase your chances of spotting hard-to-find birds.

By following these tips, you can get the most out of their bird watching experience. You'll have a greater chance of spotting more birds and gaining a deeper appreciation for the natural beauty of the area.


Guided Bird Watching Tours

There are several companies and organizations that offer guided birding tours in the area. Here are a few options to consider:

  1. Highlands Plateau Audubon Society: This local chapter of the National Audubon Society offers birding field trips and educational programs throughout the year. These outings are led by experienced birders and are open to birders of all levels.

  2. Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust: This organization offers birding tours on their protected lands throughout the year. Their tours are led by knowledgeable naturalists and cover a variety of habitats, from wetlands to hardwood forests.

  3. Carolina Bird Club: This club offers birding field trips throughout North Carolina, including in the Cashiers area. Their outings are open to members and non-members and are led by experienced birders.

  4. Wildland Trekking: This company offers birding tours and hiking adventures in the Appalachian Mountains, including in the Cashiers area. Their experienced guides lead small groups on custom-designed tours to some of the best birding spots in the region.

Overall, Cashiers offers a rich and diverse range of birding opportunities. From colorful songbirds to impressive woodpeckers, there is always something to see and enjoy. So grab your binoculars and head out into the wild to explore the local birds of Cashiers, NC.


High Ridge Haven is located on a 10.5 acre private estate perched on a ridge with a direct view of Whiteside Mountain. A perfect place itself for bird watching, the property has its own attraction with fixed binoculars, nature exploration den, hiking trails, jacuzzi and stunning mountain views. Book direct and save from paying booking fees.

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