NC Culture recently enjoyed a visit to one of our state treasures, the Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck. After hearing so much about this park, and seeing some of the amazing photos shared by respective NC photographers, the park had taken a high priority on our ongoing bucket list. Our friend, Keith Green, graciously allowed us to share some of his photos from his own trip, but before we get too far into that, we’d like to share a little history and info on the park.
Located in Scotland Neck of Halifax County, the park is open to all ages with a nominal entrance fee (please see below information). The park is home to over 2,000 birds, which include ducks, geese, swans, pheasants, and a large assortment of other birds. The park, although founded in 1985, actually opened in 2006, and has six continents represented: South America, North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. With 18 acres, there might be some concern about access for handicap, however, much of the park is on paved paths, and the paths that were ground were so even that walkers, etc, were not an issue.
SHBP was the brainchild of Mike Lubbock, a noted waterfowl aviculturalist, and the recipient of several awards regarding breeding programs for waterfowl. In fact, it is believed that many of these species would already be extinct if not for the efforts of Mike L and his dedicated staff. Thanks to their work, “Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Center, (is) now the largest and most biologically significant waterfowl collection in the world.”.
To learn more about Mike Lubbock, please click here.
Now for our trip!
A fairly short drive of roughly two hours from Raleigh (just to give you a central reference) was a pleasant experience thru the remaining fall colors and cotton fields of this part of NC. Immediately upon arriving, we were told that if we hurried, we could enjoy a short feeding time with an amazing amount of parakeets! This was a walk-in aviary referred to as the “Landing Zone”, with a double door entrance to prevent bird escapees, and believe me, it was needed, as these parakeets were in our pockets, in our purses, dangling off shoelaces, and anywhere else they could fit those teeny bodies! Between the sharp eyed woman who was selling bird food on a stick and the very adept woman who kept brushing them off of us with a broom, we managed to exit without any hitchhikers, and it was an experience I will not soon forget. The staff was wonderful about answering our many questions, too, as we did not expect to see parakeets..and what an array they were..just about every color under the sun, including one that was a “true” carolina blue! Unfortunately this particular one was very active, and I never could get an actual photo of the marvelous coloring to share with you.
Following the clearly marked paths, we wandered thru a vast array of birds, and also enjoyed a koi pond, as the majority of the birds are waterfowl. We eventually ended up at the Beaver Pond observation area, where you could open slots to enjoy activity in the vicinity.
From there, we also enjoyed an overlook that I believe was made of cypress, although I would not swear to this. With the elevation of this platform, you had about a 180 degree view of the pond, which was a special treat with the fall colors going strong.
Walking in a circular route around the park, we quickly were back in the world of diverse waterfowl, and we’d like to share some of the photos that Keith Green allowed us to use, just to give you a small glimpse of the different species you might see.
We finished up with a visit to the small but well stocked gift shop, where you could purchase books, postcards, identification guides, and other pertinent items, and we were waited on by “Reggie”, who also was well versed with knowledge of the birds. I would also like to mention that SHBP offers a wide selection of educational programs, including some summer camps, and more information on this can be found on their website.
To wind up our post, we’d like to mention the “Misson Statement”, something I always feel important to take a look at, as it usually gives you such a good idea of what to expect, and also the current list of items needed by the park, as this is a non-profit and dependant on help from the general public.
Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Mission:
Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park and Eco-Center is dedicated to educating people about the importance of conservation and research, focusing on waterfowl and wetland habitats.
Purposes and Objectives
1. To provide public education about the waterfowl of the world and the important role the many and varied species play in the ecosystem.
2. To engage the public in waterfowl conservation and the preservation of habitat.
3. To provide a world class destination for school and other groups with a special emphasis on reaching out to underserved populations and high risk children.
4. To develop science curriculum-based programs for school children in an effort to expand their educational experiences and make them aware of career opportunities.
5. To interpret and build on the strong traditions and history related to waterfowl in North Carolina.
6. To encourage waterfowl research, provide facilities to carry out captive research, and provide a research library to support these activities.
7. To provide a forum for public policy related to waterfowl and advise governmental authorities when appropriate to protect, foster and advance the rights and interests of those engaged in the keeping and rearing of wild waterfowl for scientific, recreational, commercial, and hobby purposes.
8. To place special emphasis on the captive propagation of rare and endangered waterfowl.
9. To engage in joint ventures with other like minded organizations or individuals to further the collective knowledge and conservation of waterfowl.
10. To evaluate the effectiveness of our program.
The following is a current list of needed items by the park..if you are planning a visit, and can help in any way, they would be very appreciative.
– Desktop or laptop computers (manufactured within the last 2 years) High priority
– Wooden storage building High priority
– Pressure washer
– Garden tools, brooms High priority
– Picnic tables High priority
– Wheelchairs with wide wheels High priority
– Cargo van to transport birds for outreach programs
– Gas-powered weed eaters, chain saws
– Lawn mowers (push mowers and riding mowers)
– Plants for botanical gardens
– Garden clubs and societies to help care for our plants
Links, hours of operation, and other necessary information;
PO Drawer 368 500 Sylvan Heights Park Way Scotland Neck, NC 27874
Phone: (252) 826-3186 Fax: (252) 826-3273
November through March Tuesday-Sunday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm CLOSED MONDAYS
Other Closings Closed Thanksgiving Day Closed Christmas Day
Adults (13-61) – $9.00 Children (3 to 12) – $5.00 Senior Citizens (62 +) – $7.00 Children under 3 – Free
All major credit and debit cards accepted