Sylvan Heights Bird Park offers cheep thrills

Sylvan Heights Bird Park, in Scotland Neck, is home to more than 2,000 birds – and boasts one of the largest waterfowl collection in the world.


From Charlotte, Scotland Neck is about 235 miles, a four-hour drive. Scotland Neck is northeast of Rocky Mount.

To see and do

Mike and Ali Lubbock are co-founders of Sylvan Heights. Mike, a native of England, was director of aviculture at the United Kingdom’s Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust before coming to the states. Ali, hailing from Scotland, was a researcher at the Trust. The couple began their own breeding center in 1985 in the North Carolina mountain town of Sylva. The business relocated to Scotland Neck, in the eastern part of the state, four years later (but kept “Sylvan” in the title).

Over the past 25 years, Sylvan Heights has earned a reputation as one of the premier waterfowl conservation and breeding preserve in the country.

In recognition of their similar conservation and education goals, the N.C. Zoological Society formed a partnership with Sylvan Heights. Eighteen acres of woodland adjacent to the Scotland Neck facility have been developed into a public area featuring aviaries and an education center.

The aviaries carry a continental theme and are populated with waterfowl native to North and South America, Europe, Africa and Australia. There are only eight species of swans in the world – and all are found at Sylvan Heights.

More than 100 varieties of geese and ducks are exhibited at the Sylvan Heights’ park. Among the nonwaterfowl inhabitants are emus, pheasants, toucans, cranes, macaws, parrots, kookaburras and owls; a wetlands habitat provides safe haven for beavers and a variety of reptiles. Shaded pathways connect the exhibits and stations around the grounds provide detailed information about specific birds.