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When you visit Huntley Meadows:


Huntley Meadows Park

3701 Lockheed Blvd.
Alexandria, Va. 22306

Trails open dawn to dark daily

Current Visitor Center Hours




Holiday Hours

Friends of Huntley Meadows Park

2024 Annual Birdathon

Pictured from left to right: Volunteers Ron Clabbers, David Gorsline, and Scott Faulk, Riverbend Park Natural Resources Intern Natalie Brennan, avid birder Andy Higgs, FOHMP Board Member PJ Dunn, Riverbend Park Natural Resources Manager Casey Pittrizzi.

6 AM. Early bird(er)s in the Visitor Center parking lot. Heads cocked. Eyes surveying. Ears in tune. Eee-o-lay. Wood thrush. Zeeeeeeeeee-up! Northern parula. Birdy birdy birdy. Northern cardinal. There! In the bushes. Robin-sized. Gray. A squirrel? Mew mew. No, a Gray catbird! Again, mew mew. This time from the other side of the parking lot. Two catbirds.

6:30 AM. Others arrive to join the early bird(er)s. Peter peter peter. Tufted titmouse. Tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle. Carolina wren. Chip, chupety, swee-ditchety. This time, the early birders bring out the optics. This is one of those birds they don’t want to just hear. There! In the canopy. Gray above. Bright yellow below. A “necklace” of black stripes. A chorus of oohs and aahs. Positive ID. Canada warbler! So many sounds. A very busy morning in the Huntley Meadows parking lot. The 2024 Friends of Huntley Meadows Park (FOHMP) Bird-a-thon was off to a good start.

Every year for the past 28 years, a group of birders consisting of FOHMP volunteers, Park staff, and other Park volunteers, have scoured HMP far and wide to count as many bird species as possible. The present-day survey raises money to help support the HMP Natural Resource Management intern. This internship provides a young person with the opportunity to begin a career in conservation and to get hands-on experience in this wonderful Park.

So, early on the morning of May 7th, 2024, we enthusiastically began our count. There were three groups of volunteers. One started at 4:30 AM, somewhere off the beaten path on the side of the Park accessed via S. Kings Highway. Another group began counting at 6 AM, also on the S. Kings Highway side. The third group started in the Visitor Center parking lot off Lockheed Blvd.

As already mentioned, the parking lot was alive with bird activity. So busy, in fact, that it took an hour and a half to count the 42 species in the parking lot and on the Park entrance road! A good bang for the buck. Not a lot of travelling to see and hear so many different birds.

Overall, it was a good day for birding. Some of the highlights included Wood Ducks with babies, American Bitterns, a Dunlin, a Warbling Vireo, a Yellow-breasted Chat, 18 species of warblers, including one Cerulean! And of the 97 species tallied, one bird lived up to its reputation as “the most abundant songbird east of the Mississippi,” the Red-eyed Vireo. With a total count of 51 individuals, they took the top spot on our survey.

A big hand goes out to the dozen or so who participated in the annual bird count, some of whom travelled more than an hour one way to take part, and others who have been doing this count since its beginning, way back in ’97. It is so much fun to get together with old and new friends to count birds in support of the Natural Resource Internship. For the first time since the 2019 Covid epidemic, we were back at Denny’s, eating, laughing, adding up the morning’s tally, and hanging with those enthusiastic early bird(er)s.

Until next year!!

Thank you for your continued support,

The Board, Friends of Huntley Meadows Park