Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: (540) 231-3001
- Site Access: Free, Call for hours of operation
- Visit Website
Site MED02: Virginia Tech Museum of Natural History
Elevation: 2199 ft. This is undoubtedly the only site on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail where visitors can expect to see Carolina parakeet, ivory-billed woodpecker, passenger pigeon, Bachman's warbler, and Eskimo curlew. Okay, okay, these birds won't be singing or flying about, but the Virginia Tech Museum of Natural History is a wonderful educational tool that any naturalist would benefit from visiting. With over 18,000 bird specimens, including 1200 egg sets, this site provides birders with a venue to really study and refresh their avian identification skills. Compare downy and hairy woodpeckers, or a female sharp-shinned to a male Cooper's hawk. The other collections at this museum are impressive: 4000 mammals; over 1 million insects; 88,000 plants; 60,000 animal fossils; 10,000 plant fossils; and 13,000 mineral specimens. Take advantage of close-up views of bats to learn their shapes and key field marks. There are no lengthy trails at this site, or diversity of habitats, but there is much to offer here for the ever-learning wildlife watcher. This is a great site to visit on days when poor weather prevents outdoor adventures.
From Smithfield Plantation, return to SR 412, turn right, and travel east for 0.5 miles to North Main Street/US 460 Business. Turn right on North Main Street/US 460 Business and continue for 0.2 miles to the Virginia Tech Museum of Natural History on the left (428 North Main Street). This building is on the corner of North Main Street and Faculty Street NE.