Discover Birding This February

Considered one of the nation’s fastest growing outdoor activities, birding is particularly fitting in the winter months since bare trees offer more visibility of the species that spend winter in our area, such as yellow-bellied sapsuckers and purple finches. Whether you are new to birding, looking to hone your skills or considering how to attract more birds to your yard, the Arboretum’s Adult Education program offers a wide range of bird-related natural history classes throughout the year.

In Case You Missed It...

Onsite Offerings

  • ONSITE Saturday, February 26, 1 – 3 p.m.

    Open to ages 18 and older

    Owls of all types are often considered to be strange and mysterious birds but the Barn Owl is in a class all by itself. Join us to meet and learn about this most unusual owl that has a heart-shaped face, is an owl species that doesn’t hoot, is found on nearly every continent worldwide, nests primarily in barns and other buildings, and is becoming increasingly uncommon in many parts of its range including North Carolina. Stay to dissect an owl pellet and learn about what barn owls eat.

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  • Saturday, February 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    Join us for a short intro to birding and a stroll through the Arboretum’s gardens and along the trails as we search for birds to observe, identify and report using eBird for the NC Bird Count.
    This free outdoor program is open to all ages, pre registration is required.
    We’re sorry but this program is now at capacity. Please sign our wait list below, and we’ll contact you if another section is added. 

    Join our wait list

  • ONSITE Tuesday, February 22, 9 – 11 a.m.

    Certificate Credit: BRN | BREG | NCEE – 1 hour per session

    Open to ages 18 and older

    Enjoy a brisk morning of bird watching and basics at the Arboretum. Get to know your binoculars, field guides, and more with the help of expert birder Simon Thompson. If you want to get started in birding, this is the in-person class to take. Warning: Habit Forming.

    Add this on for some experience in the field to complement our six-part online Birding Basics series starting Thursday, February 17.


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Online Offerings

  • ONLINE Six sessions: Thursdays, February 17, 24, March 3, 10, 17 & 24; 4 – 5 p.m.
    Certificate Credit: BRN | BREG | NCEE – 1 hour per session

    Birding is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the country. Your next bird sighting could be as close as your nearest window, yard, or tree! Grab your binoculars and join the fun with the start of this year’s Birding Basics series during our LoveBirds Celebration at the Arboretum. Learn more about our avian neighbors and the basics of being a birder in this series of weekly online classes. Or you don’t have to be a beginner to enjoy these lively presentations by expert birders Simon Thompson, Kevin Burke and Clifton Avery of Ventures Birding Tours.

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    February 17 Spring Arrival Birds

    Spring is one of the most exciting times of the year in the birding world. Every day more and more birds are flying north to either nest in our woods or to continue further north. Simon Thompson introduces us to the warblers, vireos, cuckoos and many more birds that will soon be filling our forests and woodlands with color and song.

    February 24 Bird Song

    With the dense canopy of spring forests it can be difficult to identify which birds are singing without at least learning the basics of birdsong identification. Kevin Burke helps us distinguish one song from another — so much so that we’ll find ourselves caught up in the spring breeding behaviors and calls of the birds.

    March 3 Nocturnal Birds

    Whoo… whoo… whoo’s making all that racket after sunset? There seems to be a lot of activity taking place when most of us expect our birds to be resting. Many species of birds are active at night, including owls, nightjars, and even some songbirds. Some birds are predominantly nocturnal whereas others do specific tasks, like migrating, nocturnally. Kevin Burke covers the ecology and behavior of Western North Carolina’s nocturnal avian residents and provides helpful patterns for identifying them by their vocalizations.

    March 10 Hummingbirds

    Everyone loves Hummingbirds and the first males will be arriving in our area any day. They will stake out their territories before the females start to arrive later in the month. Simon Thompson will give us the glittering lowdown on hummingbird biology, feeding techniques and the flowers we can plant to encourage hummers to visit our gardens regularly.

    March 17 Eastern Birds of Prey

    The Eastern United States is home to an interesting diversity of diurnal and nocturnal birds of prey. In this birding basics class we will go over what makes a bird a raptor and the individual species that make up the Eastern population. Join Clifton Avery and explore all things raptor in this interesting addition to the series.

    March 24 Nests

    Have you ever wondered where a certain bird nests? How about how they build those intricate nests? Kevin Burke will be talking all about nest selection and construction during this class, highlighting some of the more common species nests in our area as well as some of the more unusual nest builders from around the world.

  • ONLINE Tuesday, February 15; 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

    BREG Wildlife Core or Elective credit (2 hours)

    There’s no sweeter way to wake in the morning than to a chorus of birdsong surrounding your home. This class covers how to attract and support a diversity of bird species to your property through gardening, including intentional design, plant selection, maintenance techniques, and the creation of habitat features.
    Sarah Coury co-owns Saturnia Farm in Haywood County, which specializes in holistic production of perennials, natives plants and cut flowers. She helps manage several large gardens in Asheville, and formerly worked as a horticulturalist at TNCA. Sarah’s background is in wildlife conservation, and her passion is creating multi-use garden spaces that provide both high habitat value for native plants and animals, and the healing qualities of beauty for people.


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  • Learn all about how to use eBird, an online resource of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. We’ll discuss how you can use this mobile app and website to locate birding sites, upload observations and photographs of birds and join others in the state as we document bird diversity in North Carolina.
  • Saturday, February 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
    North Carolina is home to an incredible diversity of bird life! Join sites from the mountains to the coast as we zoom in with birders and educators across the state to peek in on bird feeding stations, a bird mist netting demonstrations and natural habitats. Get inspired, learn more about birds and find out how to help bird populations by reporting the birds in your own neighborhood!

Count Birds for Science

The 2022 NC Bird Count is part of the Great Backyard Bird Count and takes place Friday, February 18 through Monday, February 21. You can participate anywhere in North Carolina! Get more info at

ecoEXPLORE Ornithology Season

Grab your camera, get outside and snap some photos of your favorite fine feathered friends! Children in grades K-8 are invited to sign up for the Arboretum’s ecoEXPLORE program, a science enrichment program that encourages students to capture images of plants and animals found in nature and upload them to their online account where they can earn various badges and prizes.

Now through February 28, ecoEXPLORERs can earn their Ornithology Badge by submitting six photos of their backyard birds, along with completing three of the four challenges promoted throughout the season. Plus, there’s even a bonus Woodpecker Badge up for grabs! Follow along with ecoEXPLORE’s Facebook page for challenge-themed videos and more.

Earn Your Free N.C. Bird Count Patch!

Adults can earn badges, too! All you need to do is attend our online course Introduction to the Great Backyard Bird Count — or stream it after-the-fact! Then head out to your own backyard, local park or even the Arboretum to capture and upload your bird observations. Send us a screenshot of the birds you found and we'll mail you a patch to commemorate your contributions to the bird count.