And in the neatest thing we've seen today category...
As a site on the North Carolina Birding Trail, Mountain Region, and being that there are thousands of acres of National Forest surrounding the Inn, we've become used to seeing and hearing quite a few birds, some very common, some not so common. According to the NC Birding Trail Bird Search Database, you can potentially see over 120 species of birds right here at the Inn on Mill Creek:
One of our most frequently spotted winged residents is the Northern Cardinal (which happens to be the state bird of both our current home of North Carolina, and our original home state of Ohio). We have one cardinal couple in particular who likes to hang around our bird feeder. They're mainly ground feeders, eating seeds under the feeder that other birds like our Tufted Titmice and Carolina Chickadees toss out. Why go to the trouble of picking seed out of the feeder when other birds do it for you, right?
Today, papa cardinal came by and brought the kids for a lesson in "This bird feeder rarely goes empty thanks to some strange two-legged creature...she even throws seed right on the ground to make it easier for us to get." As mama cardinal plopped down on a tree branch to supervise, the two young cardinals observed the male cardinal for a while and did some of their own seed gathering, then one of them got tired of that, threw a little tantrum and demanded a little assistance.
We got photos of the whole thing and it was pretty entertaining. (Apologies for the grainy photos; we took them through one of the screened windows of the Great Room):
Birders are welcome to make an appointment to come out to the Inn for self-guided birdwatching opportunities. Simply e-mail us or call 828.668.1115 (we're available by phone between 9:30am and 9pm daily). For more information about the North Carolina Birding Trail, visit www.ncbirdingtrail.org.