Open 361 Days a Year: Admissions 10:00am – 3:30pm; park closes at 4:30pm

Red tailed hawks

Red Tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis

Red-tailed hawks are diurnal hunters who swoop down upon their prey in a steep dive.  Hawks, along with other birds of prey, are pest control specialists, regulating numbers of destructive rodents and other small animals.  They live mainly in deciduous forest areas, adjacent fields, and forest openings where they hunt for a variety of prey including rodents, rabbits, reptiles, amphibians, and even insects.  The red-tailed hawk is adaptable and is able to live in close proximity to humans.  Pairs maintain a territory year round and mate for life.  As with many other animals, habitat loss remains the primary threat to the continued well-being of these birds.  They are also accidentally killed or injured each year due to collisions with automobiles, towers, fences, and windows.  Legal protection, including prohibiting hunting and feather possession without special permits, has helped the red-tailed hawk to make a dramatic comeback in many areas.



Date of Birth: July 1997

Xena came to the WNC Nature Center in August of 1999 as a yearling bird. Not long after fledging, Xena was struck by a vehicle. A motorist found her alongside a roadway and took her to the Carolina Raptor Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Unfortunately, her damaged wing had already begun to repair itself and there was little else that could be done for her. Xena serves as an education ambassador for the WNC Nature Center and all wildlife. She lives off display and comes out for programs.

What makes Xena Unique? Although Xena was injured here in the Southern Appalachian region, she is most likely a northern bird who was migrating to the south. Her large size and banding pattern on her tail are indicative of the birds that breed farther to the north. She also used to look to the sky frequently when it became fall, believed to be her natural instinct of migration.


Cirrius (left)

Date of Birth: Unknown

Cirrius came to the WNC Nature Center in May of 2004 from a rehabilitator in Hendersonville, North Carolina. It is not possible to determine her age because Cirrius was hit by a car when she had her adult feathers. Birds go through two phases of feathers in their life, juvenile and adult, and once they have their adult plumage, there is no way to age them. Part of her wing had to be amputated after her accident so she cannot not fly properly.

Cirrius has a unique look. Her feathers around her face fan out making it look like she has a crown.

Toli (right)

Date of Birth: Unknown

Toli came to the WNC Nature Center in March of 1998. Like Cirrius, Toli was wild born, but was injured as an adult making it not possible to age him. Toli sustained an eye and wing injury after being hit by a car. Since birds depend on their ability to fly and their sense of sight so much, Toli would not be able to survive in the wild.

An easy way to Toli apart from Cirrius is by looking at their eyes. Toli is missing one eye due to his injury.

Meet our other animals

American Black Bear

American Black Bear

Generally shy and reclusive animals, black bears avoid human contact and are not normally aggressive. Two black bears, Uno and Ursa, live at the Nature Center.

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Red Wolf Karma

American Red Wolf

Red wolves are highly endangered species that has been eliminated from almost all of its natural range. Our breeding pair of red wolves, Karma and Garnet, are part of the AZA Species Survival Plan.

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Angora Goat

Angora Goat

Angoras are primarily browsing animals and thrive best where there is a good cover of brush, weeds, and grass.    Disliking the rain, Angoras are well adapted to a dry, mild climate.

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