Each season has its own pageant of woodland flora & fauna. In addition to Callaway’s acclaimed Day Butterfly Center and Birds of Prey Shows, it’s not unusual to spot native wildlife, and of course beautiful blooms, as you explore the grounds. Here’s what you can look for as you hike, bike, drive, and make new discoveries throughout our 2,500 acres.
Look for Buffleheads and other Wintering Ducks on the lakes. Flocks of Robins and Cedar Waxwings gobble up beautiful red, orange, and yellow Holly berries, which are best observed along the Holly Trail in Meadowlark Garden. While there, you’ll also discover the papery flower buds of Edgeworthia, the spidery petals of Witch Hazel, as well as fragrant Daphne, Carolina Jessamine, and Japanese Camellia.
The Bluebirds begin to scout for nesting locations, Spring Peepers call out at night, and Purple Martins arrive from their Winter homes in South America. Also watch for a Mourning Cloak Butterfly in flight on a sunny day. Come March, the cheery music of Cardinals, Chickadees, Flickers, and Carolina Wrens fills the air.
Seek out the Lenten Rose on the Rhododendron Trail or in the Azalea Gardens, Trillium along the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail, and vibrant Daffodils and Pansies throughout the grounds.
In March and April, Callaway literally hums to life. Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds arrive from their overwintering grounds in Mexico and Central America. Watch for them nectaring on the Azaleas. The open, airy Native Azalea shrubs debut their colorful blooms in the Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl and along the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail. Cultivated Azaleas in varying colors and shapes can be found in the Overlook Garden as well.
Songbirds such as Cardinals, Robins, Titmice, and Woodpeckers are busy feeding their young. Great Blue Herons gracefully patrol lakes and ponds for fish. Stroll through the grounds to discover Trout Lillies, Dogwoods, Magnolias, Mountain Laurels, and Fringe Trees with their drooping white flowers.
Cinnamon Ferns line the ground near the Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel, while Rhododendrons display their pale pink, white, and purple bouquets for the world to see.
In June, Fireflies light up the Summer night sky, while female Water Turtles wander across dry land, searching for places to lay their eggs. Look for large Fox Squirrels – their black masks are unmistakable as they scamper among the trees, particularly around Callaway’s golf course areas.
As the Summer sun makes itself known, watch Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies nectar on brilliant Plumleaf Azaleas and friendly Dragonflies dart about from lake to lake. Atop Callaway Discovery Center Bridge, our fish feeders make it easy for you to interact with the Bluegill Bream in the water below.
Blueberry bushes, once bearing white, bell-shaped flowers, display their delicious fruit in Summer. Sourwoods, Southern Magnolias, and Bottlebrush Buckeye show their beautiful, white blooms. Butterfly bushes lure winged beauties, while Pitcher Plants captivate insects, then digest them for nourishment. And stunning Crape Myrtles exhibit their pink, purple, white, and red flowers around Robin Lake Beach and the Butterfly Center.
As Summer comes to a close and Fall begins, catch a glimpse of the Kingfishers as they dive for fish in our many lakes. A trip to the Day Butterfly Center will not disappoint as over a thousand Blue Morpho Butterflies take flight. Along the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail, you can see the purple blooms of Joe Pye Weed and the bright yellows of Goldenrods. In the Meadowlark and Overlook Gardens, the delicate Spider Lily radiates long red anthers that are sure to catch your eye.
In October, Monarch Butterflies migrate through this area on their way to Mexico, and Cloudless Sulphur Butterflies are commonly seen nectaring on Fall-blooming flowers. Summer colors change to Autumn hues, as Chrysanthemums pop up throughout the grounds and green leaves turn to reds, oranges, and golds amongst the trees. Maples (both American and Japanese), Sweetgums, Sourwoods, Hickories, Dogwoods, and Fothergilla shrubs put on a Fall show for all to enjoy. And Muhly Grass produces clouds of reddish-purple seed heads, resembling cotton candy.
Go for a hike, and catch the Chipmunks and Gray Squirrels feasting on their bounty of acorns. In the Meadowlark Gardens, the Deciduous and Burford Hollies begin to display their bright red fruit. Magenta berries appear along the stems of American Beautyberries – catch a glimpse after they shed their leaves.
Throughout this season, you might catch Woodpeckers, Titmice, Chickadees, Cardinals, and many other species of birds visiting the bird feeders found throughout the Gardens.