Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: (540) 999-3433, email@example.com
- Site Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset; admission fee
- Visit Website
Site MSD05: Big Meadows, Shenandoah National Park
Elevation: 3548 ft. Big Meadows is aptly named since it's the largest open area in the entire park. The meadows location directly across from the Big Meadows Visitor's Center makes it easily accessible. The large grassy plain makes a fresh change from the forest landscape. The meadows host numerous sparrows with chipping, field and song sparrows all being numerous and easy to spot. Other residents of the meadow include eastern bluebird, indigo bunting, eastern towhee and American goldfinch. The clear open view of the sky makes raptor watching easy. Look for turkey and black vultures, red-tailed hawk and American kestrel. During migration large numbers of broad-winged hawks and the occasional bald or golden eagle can augment these species. Big Meadows is incredible for the butterfly enthusiast. The acres of blooming wildflowers support a wide assortment of species including eastern tiger, black, pipevine and spicebush swallowtails, great spangled and variegated fritillaries, silver spotted skipper, common wood-nymph, orange sulphur and American copper. Dragonflies are less numerous although black saddlebags can often be seen skimming across the meadow.
From Dark Hollow Falls, the Big Meadows Visitor's Center is directly across the street.