High elevation and precipitation levels in the mountains of Garrett County, Maryland, create avian habitats that closely resemble those found hundreds of miles farther north—providing birdwatchers an opportunity to observe a myriad of nesting species typically found in New England and Canada. Join naturalists and birding leaders Matt Felperin and Joley Sullivan for a full day of exploration in the Maryland panhandle region bordering Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Travel west on I-68 to the Sideling Hill welcome center in Hancock to view the 340-foot cut considered one of the best rock exposures in the United States. Enjoy some strategic stops along the way to look for Henslow’s sparrows, bobolinks, and grasshopper sparrows in a meadow habitat, as well as a meadow/scrub/forest-edge habitat that’s home to black-billed cuckoos and golden-winged, blue-winged, and cerulean warblers.
Cross from Allegheny County into Garrett County to explore New Germany State Park. With diverse forests and miles of trails, this mountain gem is nestled between the 2,900-ft. Big Savage Mountain to the east and the Eastern Continental Divide along Meadow Mountain to the west. Be on the lookout here for Blackburnian, Canada, and magnolia warblers, red crossbills, and rose-breasted grosbeaks—and salamanders.
End the day at the Finzel Swamp Preserve near Frostburg, a unique ecosystem of frost pocket/mountain bog, and watch for ruffed grouse, Nashville warblers, broad-winged hawks, and Alder flycatchers.
Participants enjoy an included box lunch in the bird-filled great outdoors.
Know Before You Go
- The tour departs by motorcoach from downtown Washington, DC with a designated secondary pick-up outside the city. Content delivered by the study leader on the way to the destination, after the secondary pick-up, is an integral part of the study tour experience. Meeting the group once the tour is en route is discouraged.
- Tour participants meet at and leave by bus from the Holiday Inn Capitol, with a pickup stop at the I-270 Exit 26 Urbana carpool parking lot at about 5:55 a.m.
- Walks are along even terrain; hiking boots and backpacks are recommended.
- Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Friday, June 2, 2023.
- Smithsonian is a mask-friendly environment. Masks are strongly recommended to be worn on buses at all times and may also be required at various indoor sites.
- For additional tour information: