Situated on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Grandfather Mountain Important Bird Area is one of the most diverse breeding grounds for birds in North Carolina and probably the second highest in the US. At least 118 breeding season species have been recorded and other are expected. This 12,679 acre IBA is located near the town of Blowing Rock, nestled in the ancient peaks of Grandfather which are the highest in the Blue Ridge. The site has an exceptional diversity of habitats, from rocky cliffs and balds to spruce-fir and cove forests, which support 60 rare plants and animals.
The site is significant for species of conservation concern, such as Coopers Hawk, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Brown Creeper. It is one of North Carolina’s key sites for Northern Saw-whet Owl. Significant spruce-fir forest exists on Grandfather Mountain and supports the suite of species associated with this habitat type.