Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, Asheville

Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary

The Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary is a wonderful wildlife oasis in the very busy north Asheville area. It is a great spot for a evening walk or morning birding expedition. Walk a 3/8-mile boardwalk through a wetland area and by the lake, complete with sitting areas along the way to soak up the views and watch birds. Beaver Lake provides resting, feeding and nesting spots for resident and migratory birds. The Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society, a chapter of National Audubon, manages the 10-acre sanctuary. It was established in the mid-1980s, when Audubon successfully led an effort to prevent construction of a strip mall on the site. It's free to visit.

For a guided bird walk, stop by at 9 AM on the first Saturday of each month from October through March. From April through September, the walks are 8 AM on the first Saturday of each month. North of the sanctuary, a gravel path follows the lake's edge to the dam and spillway for an extended walk. No pets are allowed in the sanctuary.

Parking: In addition to the sanctuary lot, a few parking spots are available at the dam at the corner of Merrimon and Glen Falls. There are no restrooms. Hours are dawn to dusk, and the parking-lot gate opens and shuts on a timer.

Beaver Lake Directions: The sanctuary is on Merrimon Avenue about two miles north of downtown Asheville. Take exit 5-A from I-240 north onto Merrimon. In about two miles, look for Fresh Market grocery store and library on left. The small parking area is immediately past the library on the left. To reach the sanctuary from the north on US 19/23, take the Merrimon Ave. exit and at the bottom of the exit ramp turn right onto Merrimon. In about 1.5 miles, you'll see Beaver Lake on the right; the sanctuary parking lot is another .8 mile.

The best time for bird watching is late spring through June and late August through October. Birding Highlights: Brown-headed Nuthatch (unusual in the mountains) is often found at the sanctuary or nearby. Warbling Vireo and both orioles have regularly nested by the lake; if you don't find them in the sanctuary, walk the lake's edge toward the dam. Eastern Kingbirds sometimes put on great displays over the lake and adjoining field. In summer, swallows and Chimney Swifts often swoop low over the lake in early morning and evening. Yellow Warbler is common in breeding season. The mature white pines along Merrimon attract Yellow-throated Warbler. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher arrive for the breeding season in late March, and have been seen nesting over the boardwalk. Red-shouldered Hawks have nested in the neighborhood, and Cooper's Hawks have nested not far away. Swamp Sparrow is always a possibility in wet spots during winter and Savannah Sparrow can usually be observed in the weedy field along Merrimon Avenue in late winter.

Beaver Lake Sanctuary Birding Checklist

Provided by the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society in Asheville and compiled by Simon Thompson.

LOONS

__ Common Loon

GREBES

__ Pied-billed Grebe

__ Red-necked Grebe CORMORANTS

__ Double-crested Cormorant

HERONS

__ Great Blue Heron

__ Great Egret

__ Green Heron

__ Black-crowned Night-Heron

SWANS, GEESE, AND DUCKS

__ Canada Goose

__ Wood Duck

__ Green-winged Teal

__ American Black Duck

__ Mallard

__ Northern Pintail

__ Blue-winged Teal

__ Northern Shoveler

__ Gadwall

__ American Wigeon

__ Canvasback

__ Redhead

__ Ring-necked Duck

__ Lesser Scaup

__ Common Goldeneye

__ Bufflehead

__ Hooded Merganser

__ Red-breasted Merganser

__ Ruddy Duck

AMERICAN VULTURES

__ Black Vulture

__ Turkey Vulture

OSPREY

__ Osprey

KITES, HAWKS, & EAGLES

__ Sharp-shinned Hawk

__ Cooper's Hawk

__ Red-shouldered Hawk

__ Broad-winged Hawk

__ Red-tailed Hawk

__ Northern Harrier

FALCONS

__ American Kestrel

__ Merlin

__ Peregrine Falcon

GAME BIRDS

__ Ruffed Grouse

__ Northern Bobwhite

RAILS

__ Sora

__ American Coot

PLOVERS

__ Killdeer

SANDPIPERS AND ALLIES

__ Lesser Yellowlegs

__ Solitary Sandpiper

__ Spotted Sandpiper

__ Least Sandpiper

__ Common Snipe

__ American Woodcock

GULLS AND TERNS

__ Bonaparte's Gull

__ Ring-billed Gull

__ Herring Gull

__ Forster's Tern

PIGEONS AND DOVES

__ Rock Dove

__ Mourning Dove

CUCKOOS

__ Yellow-billed Cuckoo

SWIFTS

__ Chimney Swift

HUMMINGBIRDS

__ Ruby-throated Hummingbird

NIGHTJARS

__ Common Nighthawk

KINGFISHERS

__ Belted Kingfisher

JAYS AND CROWS

__ Blue Jay

__ American Crow

WOODPECKERS

__ Red-bellied Woodpecker

__ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

__ Downy Woodpecker

__ Hairy Woodpecker

__ Northern Flicker

__ Pileated Woodpecker

TYRANT FLYCATCHERS

__ Eastern Wood-Pewee

__ Willow Flycatcher

__ Eastern Phoebe

__ Great Crested Flycatcher

__ Eastern Kingbird

SWALLOWS

__ Purple Martin

__ Tree Swallow

__ Northern Rough-winged Swallow

__ Bank Swallow

__ Barn Swallow

TITMICE

__ Carolina Chickadee

__ Tufted Titmouse

WOOD WARBLERS

__ Tennessee Warbler

__ Northern Parul

__ Yellow Warbler

__ Chestnut-sided Warbler

__ Magnolia Warbler

__ Cape May Warbler

__ Black-throated Blue Warbler

__ Yellow-rumped Warbler

__ Black-throated Green Warbler

__ Blackburnian Warbler

__ Yellow-throated Warbler

__ Pine Warbler

__ Prairie Warbler

__ Palm Warbler

__ Bay-breasted Warbler

__ Blackpoll Warbler

__ Black-and-white Warbler

__ American Redstart

__ Prothonotory Warbler

__ Worm-eating Warbler

__ Ovenbird

__ Northern Waterthrush

__ Kentucky Warbler

__ Common Yellowthroat

__ Hooded Warbler

__ Wilson's Warbler

__ Canada Warbler

__ Yellow-breasted Chat

TANAGERS, GROSBEAKS, & SPARROWS

__ Scarlet Tanager

__ Northern Cardinal

__ Rose-breasted Grosbeak

__ Blue Grosbeak

__ Indigo Bunting

__ Eastern Towhee

__ Chipping Sparrow

__ Field Sparrow

__ Song Sparrow

__ Swamp Sparrow

__ White-throated Sparrow

__ Dark-eyed Junco

NUTHATCHES

__ Red-breasted Nuthatch

__ White-breasted Nuthatch

__ Brown-headed Nuthatch

CREEPERS

__ Brown Creeper

WRENS

__ Carolina Wren

__ House Wren

__ Winter Wren

KINGLETS AND GNATCATCHERS

__ Golden-crowned Kinglet

__ Ruby-crowned Kinglet

__ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

THRUSHES

__ Eastern Bluebird

__ Swainson's Thrush

__ Hermit Thrush

__ Wood Thrush

__ American Robin

MIMIC THRUSHES

__ Gray Catbird

__ Northern Mockingbird

__ Brown Thrasher

WAXWINGS

__ Cedar Waxwing

STARLINGS

__ European Starling

VIREOS

__ White-eyed Vireo

__ Blue-headed (Solitary) Vireo

__ Yellow-throated Vireo

__ Warbling Vireo

__ Philadelphia Vireo

__ Red-eyed Vireo

BLACKBIRDS AND ORIOLES

__ Bobolink

__ Red-winged Blackbird

__ Eastern Meadowlark

__ Rusty Blackbird

__ Common Grackle

__ Brown-headed Cowbird

__ Orchard Oriole

__ Baltimore Oriole

FINCHES AND ALLIES

__ House Finch

__ Pine Siskin

__ American Goldfinch

OLD WORLD SPARROWS

__ House Sparrow

ADDITIONAL SPECIES:

Total Species: __________________

Date: ________________________

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