The Bullhead Mountain?Mahogany Rock
Important Bird Area runs along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Alleghany and Wilkes Counties. Elevations range from 425 to 1,190 m (1,394?3,904 feet). The highest point is the peak of Bullhead Mountain, which is one of the most prominent
landscape features in this region of the state. The Mahogany Rock overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, located at milepost 234, has been one of North Carolina?s most popular hawk-watching sites for more than three decades.

Ornithological Summary

The mountain ridges, beginning at Bullhead Mountain and continuing southwest, serve as a significant migration corridor for raptors. Both spring and fall migration counts have been ongoing for more than a decade (Criteria 5). A Kirtland's warbler was sighted on Bullhead Mountain in 1999 and a Northern Goshawk was observed in 2001, both of which are extremely rare in North Carolina. A summary of the most recent hawk counts from Bullhead Mountain can be found on:
Key Bird Species

Conservation Issues

Residential and commercial development on private land.

Lower elevations remain in private ownership. Some have been cleared and replanted in pines. Cell-phone towers have been proposed in previous years, but were defeated due to local opposition. Surveys of landbirds during the breeding season, migration periods, and winter are needed.


Most of the site is in state or federal ownership and is protected. Bullhead Mountain was recently acquired and is now part of Stone Mountain State Park. The Mahogany Rock area is on the Blue Ridge Parkway and is protected and managed by the National Park Service.


hardwood forest, mixed forest, cove hardwood forest

Land Use

conservation, recreation/tourism, residential development

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