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Blue Ridge Explorers Club Burke's Garden Exploration

  • Burke's Garden, VA (map)

Join the Blue Ridge Discovery Center Explorer's Club on an exploration of the avifauna of Burke's Garden!

Burke's Garden is a rare valley bowl with a floor that rests at 3,000' while the encircling ridge rises to around 4,000ft. It is located in Bland County, VA where the Appalachian Trail skirts it's southern rim. The 8.5 mile long and 4 mile wide valley is often referred to as "God's Thumbprint" for it's distinctive shape.

The bowl is a beautiful pastoral landscape during the summer but in the winter it is equally impressive. During February it plays host to the rare wintering birds from the far north including the Golden Eagle and Rough-legged Hawk. We will be car pooling to the valley where we will enter through the water gap along the North rim. Once in the valley we will slowly work our way around the valley in a large loop searching for birds along the way. With a little luck we will have the opportunity to put scopes on multiple raptors on the tree lines or soaring about the farm fields. It also houses the regionally uncommon Red-headed Woodpecker.

Email for details.

A potential February bird list for Burke's Garden includes:

Canada Goose

American Wigeon

American Black Duck


Green-winged Teal

Wild Turkey

Great Blue Heron

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Golden Eagle

Northern Harrier

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Cooper's Hawk

Bald Eagle

Red-tailed Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk


Wilson's Snipe

Rock Pigeon

Mourning Dove

Barred Owl

Belted Kingfisher

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker

American Kestrel

Loggerhead Shrike

Blue Jay

American Crow

Common Raven

Horned Lark

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

White-breasted Nuthatch

Carolina Wren

Eastern Bluebird

American Robin

Northern Mockingbird

European Starling

Dark-eyed Junco

Song Sparrow

Northern Cardinal

Red-winged Blackbird

Eastern Meadowlark

Common Grackle

House Finch

American Goldfinch

House Sparrow

Earlier Event: January 11
January Book Club Meeting