Thousands of people travel each year to the small North Carolina town of Scotland Neck to visit Sylvan Heights Bird Park, home of one of the world's largest and most unique collections of ducks, geese and swans.
Sylvan Heights was created by Mike and Allie Lubbock. Mike's career with birds began at the prestigious Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust in England, where he held positions as Curator and Director of Aviculture.
Throughout the years, Lubbock has traveled around the world with his conservation efforts. But his ultimate goal of establishing his own avian collection became a reality several years ago, when he and his family opened Sylvan Heights Bird Park.
The park is a one-of-a-kind attraction designed to give you an up close experience with more than 2,000 ducks, geese, swans, and other exotic birds from around the world.
The 19-acre facility features large aviaries displaying birds from North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. And many of the birds, like the Whooping Crane, is on the endangered species list.
"We actually have about eighteen endangered species here at Sylvan Heights and the majority of them are waterfowl," said Brent Lubbock, Membership Director at Sylvan Heights Bird Park. "Endangered means there are hardly any left in the wild and the ones here are the last hopes that if something goes wrong in the field, there is population here that can be re-introduced back."
One of the most popular attractions is the Bird's Nest Tree house, an accessible tree house where visitors can enjoy a bird's-eye view of the park's wetlands. Visitors can also enjoy a beaver pond blind for wildlife observation.
But it is the Landing Zone that both kids and adults alike love to visit. It is an enclosed exhibit where you can interact with hundreds of parakeets and other birds, who will fly and land on you, while you hold a seed stick.
And the Landing Zone also features about a dozen Flamingos that are comfortable enough with visitors to eat out right out of their hands.
In addition to the public exhibits, Sylvan Heights puts significant work into waterfowl conservation efforts at the Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Breeding Center. The staff helps some the world's most threatened waterfowl through breeding programs that may help them escape extinction.
Guided tours are available, but one of the best ways to see the wildlife is by strolling along the paths that take you into the habitats of birds from around the world.
"If you are in eastern North Carolina, it is a great place to come for the day," explained Lubbock. "You can bring a picnic. We have a playground. There is a tree house overlooking the wetlands. We have the Landing Zone, of course, where you can hand feed the parakeets and flamingos. I mean if you are just looking for a wonderful way to spend some time with your family outdoors and see something unique, Sylvan Heights is definitely the location and the place to do it."
You can visit on your own, but the staff at Sylvan Heights Bird Park offers different programs all year long for school groups as well as adults on conservation of birds and their habitats. And thru a program with the North Carolina Zoo and North Carolina Aquariums, memberships to Sylvan Heights Bird Park are available.
Sylvan Heights is located off Highway 258, Scotland Neck, in Halifax County, North Carolina.
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