Best Birding Spots in Brunswick County

If bird watching is your hobby, you’ll be excited to know Brunswick County is home to six spots to view these majestic creatures inhabiting our Islands. The locations along the coast of Southeastern NC and its varied ecosystems make it a natural haven for hundreds of species of birds - yes hundreds! In fact, over 330 species have been spotted in Brunswick County alone!

Below are the NC Birding Trail sites located in the county and the species of special interest specific to each one.


Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve

6150 Rock Creek Rd NE - Leland

175-acres of natural nature preserve located in a rural setting of Brunswick County in the town of Leland. Ev-Henwood possesses amazing natural and cultural resources, and native plants and animals can be observed while walking through the vast seven miles of maintained trails. Species of interest include: Prothonotary Warbler, Swainson's Warbler, Summer Tanager, Blue Grosbeak, and Indigo Bunting.


Brunswick Town Fort Anderson Historic Site

8884 St. Phillip’s Rd SW - Winnabow

A pre-Revolutionary port on North Carolina’s Cape Fear River, Brunswick was toppled by British troops in 1776 and was never rebuilt. During the Civil War, Fort Anderson was constructed atop the old village site and served as part of the Cape Fear River defenses below Wilmington before the fall of the Confederacy. Today, it is one of North Carolina’s state historic sites and a working archaeological site. Species of interest include: Bald Eagle, Prothonotary Warbler, Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Seaside Sparrow, Painted Bunting.


Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve

1 Lees Rd, Boiling Springs Lake

This 6000+ acre preserve includes a bounty of rare flora and fauna, including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, a variety of carnivorous plants, rough-leaf loosestrife and a variety of orchids. Did you know that Brunswick County cultivates the largest variety of rare plant species in North Carolina?!  This preserve contains over 400 vascular plant species, including the rare Venus Flytrap.  The Boiling Spring Lakes Nature Trail permits visitors to walk through a portion of the preserve with the trail beginning at the Community Center just off Hwy 87.  Species of interest include:  Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Summer Tanager, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, & winter sparrows.   


Southport Pier & Riverwalk

S. Howe Street, Southport

This small, handicapped-accessible pier near the mouth of the Cape Fear River is located adjacent to Waterfront Park, where amenities include a water fountain, park benches, a gazebo, swings and usually an ice cream truck during the season. The Riverwalk Trail begins near the city pier and heads west along Bay Street and rounds the small bay of the yacht basin before winding back to a boardwalk on a small peninsula where you’ll find wood signs marking the trail along the way. Specific species of interest include: White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Seaside Sparrow, Painted Bunting, raptors & terns.


Bald Head Island Conservancy

700 Federal Rd, Bald Head Island

The Bald Head Island (BHI) Conservancy is part of a non-profit organization founded in 1983 whose mission is to protect, preserve and promote the natural environment of the Smith Island complex. This unique area includes Bald Head, Middle and Bluff Islands, all of which are bounded by the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean in southeastern North Carolina. The Conservancy offers various family adventure programs during the summer as well as kayaking and birding expeditions throughout the year.

A little over 3 miles long and less than 1 mile wide in most areas, BHI boasts 14 miles of pristine beach, including Cape Fear Point, the southernmost cape in North Carolina. There are 10,000 acres of salt marsh and approximately 180 acres of protected maritime forest. Species of interest include: Wilson's Plover, Piping Plover, Sandwich Tern, Least Tern, Painted Bunting, & wintering waterfowl.


Green Swamp Preserve

Hwy 211, Supply

This 15,000-acre nature conservancy that includes numerous varieties of plant life and wildlife, such as the vulnerable Venus Flytrap, and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

The Green Swamp contains some of the country’s finest examples of longleaf pine savannas. The open savannas have a diverse herb layer with many orchids and insectivorous plants. Almost 13,000 acres of the preserve are comprised of a dense evergreen shrub bog (pocosin) dominated by gallberry, titi, and sweetbay. Species of interest include: Chuck-will's-widow, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Swainson's Warbler, Bachman's Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow.