Media Contact: Ashby Brame
Enjoy birding this spring through more than 25 miles of unpaved roads and trails dominated by bottomland forest along the Neuse River. Bird watchers are welcome at Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center, a 2,856-acre property actively managed for the benefit of wildlife, conservation education, and outdoor recreation.
The longleaf pine woodlands, varieties of mixed hardwood and pine forests, and abundant early successional habitats make Howell Woods a good birding spot year-round. Breeding species include Mississippi Kite, Red-headed Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, a variety of wood warblers, Summer Tanager, and Orchard Oriole among others.
“If you can’t make it this spring, winter birding is also excellent, with abundant sparrows, raptors, and even some waterfowl present on some of the small ponds around the property. Most any time of year will yield high bird counts, especially during spring and fall migration,” stated Jordan Astoske, Director of Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center.
Astoske added that special species of interest to birders often include Loggerhead Shrike, Prothonotary Warbler, Swainson Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, and Hooded Warbler. Howell Woods has cabins you can book for overnight stays or you can get accommodations at a hotel in near-by Smithfield. Howell Woods is located just a few miles off of I-95 very close to where it intersects with I-40 so bird enthusiasts traveling through the area are also welcome to stop by for a day hike.
If you would like to attend a guided hike, this year’s Howell Woodstock event will feature two birding hikes with Lester Coble. Coble is a former professional guide and has been birding for 56 years. Howell Woodstock takes place every April and celebrates environmental education with live music, hayrides, and recreational activities as well as local vendors. This year’s event will take place on the 22nd of April to celebrate Earth Day and will end with a campfire, s’mores, and astrology activities.
For more information about birding at Howell Woods, cabin rentals, or Howell Woodstock please visit the Howell Woods website at www.johnstoncc.edu/howellwoods or call them at (919) 938-0115.