Reynolda was the estate of R. J. Reynolds, and Reynolda House is now an art museum. The property, stretching for a mile along Reynolda Rd. from Coliseum Dr. to Wake Forest Dr., is generally the best birding destination in town. Every warbler, thrush and vireo on the county checklist are seen here, as are tanagers, orioles and both Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoo. For this reason, it also is a stop on the N.C. Birding Trail.

The entrance for the museum is 0.2 mile northwest of Coliseum Drive. After entering, take the right intersection. The part of the drive from the left turn to the house is “Warbler Lane”. Sun reaches these tall trees early, and five species in one bush can be expected during migration. However, do not dismiss the trees and shrubs on either side of the extended lawn. The gravel road where you turned left takes you to the creek trail. The upper trail intersection is another “hot spot” where you can experience “warbler neck”. The service road along the other side of the creek is good for thrushes and tanagers, and can lead you on a long hike. The near creek trail is favored by joggers, doggers and birders, and will end at Lake Katharine and Reynolda Village.

Also check the edge of the meadow, especially at the along the sharp curve on the southeast side, for migrating passerines. Bluebirds nest in boxes in and around the meadow, which is being managed to encourage the growth of native grasses and wildflowers and thus improve bird habitat. Meadowlark winter in the meadow but have yet to nest there.

Photo by Jean Chamberlain

To start by Lake Katharine, enter Reynolda Village at By Way Street 0.3 mile southeast of Wake Forest Dr. Follow left and go right to the lower parking lot. The lake is now a marsh, and should be inspected for Solitary and Spotted Sandpiper, Green Heron, Night Heron, Wood Duck, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Catbird, Red-winged Blackbird and Red-shouldered Hawk, among others. The cottage-style boat house marks the lower end of the creek trail. Six woodpecker species, three owl species and several flycatchers visit or nest at Reynolda.

Bird Count teams usually take advantage of Reynolda Village for snacks and meals. Restrooms beside the greenhouses are open year-round. The property is held by Wake Forest University, and the gates on the drive for Reynolda House really are locked when the signs say they are.