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Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

Site Information

  • Site Contact: (540) 999-3433, james_atkinson@nps.gov
  • Site Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset; admission fee
  • Visit Website

Facilities

Camping Environmental Study Area Fee Hiking Trails Parking

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Site MSD06: Milam Gap to Tanners Ridge Fire Road

Description

Elevation: 3235 ft. The Appalachian Trail from Milam Gap to the Tanners Ridge Fire road takes the visitor through deep-rooted home sites with few remaining remnants other than numerous apple trees now gone wild. However, these former orchards provide great foraging for white-tailed deer while hosting a great variety of bird life. In the spring, several species of warbler breed along the trail and can be heard loudly proclaiming their territory. As the summer progresses the singing gradually stops and once the year's chicks are hatched, the birds leave their territories and move around more freely. In late summer the warblers join with the rowdy Carolina chickadees and tufted titmice to search for food and the occasional screech owl to scold. Search these mixed flocks for red-eyed and blue-headed vireos, ovenbird, worm-eating, black-and-white, hooded and chestnut-sided warblers. Some of the forest residents tend not to associate with chickadee and titmouse. Look for veery and wood thrush to be out on their own exploring the leaf litter for worms and other tasty morsels. While exploring this trail listen carefully for the high-pitched squeaks of eastern chipmunk and the lower churring growls of gray squirrel. Both of these native residents can make exciting noises that can often lead the unwary in search of non-existent birds.

Directions

Continue south 1.4 miles on Skyline Drive from Big Meadows to the parking area on the right.

Loop Map