Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: (540) 992-2743, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Site Access: Free, Daily
Site MRV01: Woodpecker Ridge Nature Center
Elevation: 1644 ft. The Woodpecker Ridge Nature Center offers birders and nature enthusiasts numerous opportunities for wildlife watching. Features of interest to most visitors include a hawk-watch platform, feeding stations for songbirds and hummingbirds, and butterfly gardens. Trails meander from butterfly gardens through hardwood forests, spruce and cedar stands, open fields, and pond habitats. Buddleia, echinacea, and other blooming flowers in the gardens attract large numbers of butterflies such as pearl crescent, monarch, meadow and great spangled fritillaries, eastern tiger swallowtail, sphinx moth, and various skippers. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are found within these gardens, as well as at the various nectar feeders interspersed throughout this part of the complex. The woodlands and brushy areas hold year-round treasures such as pileated woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, great horned owl, song sparrow, red-tailed hawks and white-breasted nuthatch. Nesting residents include wood thrush, orioles, yellow-breasted chat, red-eyed vireo, white-eyed vireo, and scarlet tanager. Two ponds are easily accessible by trails. As its name suggests, the wood duck pond is home to nesting wood duck. The cattail pond is visited by red-winged blackbird, green heron and safely guarded by common yellowthroat. More open areas attract eastern bluebird, eastern kingbird, and American goldfinch. An occasional raptor, such as Cooper's hawk and American kestrel may be hunting these fields. In fall, the hawk-watch platform is a good spot for viewing migrant broad-winged hawks.
From I-81, take Exit #150. Go 0.1 miles on US 220A South to US 11. Turn left on US 11 North and follow it 2.6 miles to Rt. 651/Stoney Battery Road in Troutville. Turn right and follow 0.9 miles to Woodpecker Ridge Nature Center (#941) on the left.