New River Corridor IBA

The New River Corridor Important Bird Area, spanning both Ashe and Alleghany counties near the Virginia border in north western North Carolina, includes a relatively narrow floodplain and adjacent slopes along the lower portions of the South Fork and North Fork of the New River in northwestern North Carolina.

It is thought to be the oldest river system in North America and one of the oldest in the world. Much of the area along the river is highly modified by humans and has been converted to agricultural fields in the past. Residential housing is quite common. A narrow fringe of shrubs and trees between the river and farmland or housing remains, however, and this is the area of primary significance for birds. 

The 31,643 acre site is one of the best areas in North Carolina for breeding Warbling Vireos and Baltimore Orioles. The riparian zone supports a significant number of Willow Flycatchers and Least Flycatchers. The state’s first breeding record for Tree Swallow was found along the river. Orchard Oriole and Yellow-throated Vireo are found on the site as well as Golden-winged Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler and Yellow Warbler.

Agriculture and conversion are some of the biggest conservation threats for the area, but recreational development, residential and commercial development are also a concern.The clearing of vegetation down to the stream bank for pasture, Christmas tree plantations, and croplands are significant concerns. Residential and commercial development on and in close proximity to the stream bank threaten habitat. The site has become very popular among recreationists, which has led to concern for streamside habitats.