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  • Writer's pictureAl Friedman

Jockey's Ridge State Park Updates/Events

We have the inside scoop on what's going on in the park from Joy Greenwood, Jockey's Ridge State Park Superintendent.

The sand project is nearly 80% complete, and we hope to be done moving sand by Easter! Currently 3,000 cubic yards of sand is being moved from the southeast corner of the park to the sound swim beach, covering roots and smoothing out the beach, creating a nicer beach experience for those visiting the sound this summer.

After the summer tourist season, the Town of Nags Head will redo the sound access parking lot and add a turn around so that cars do not have to back out if it is full. Please have patience this summer as this popular and unique public sound beach access can get very busy with vehicles and pedestrians.

We will be planting native vegetation on the slopes and will plan work days soon... please let us know if you are interested in volunteering!

Visitor Center Upgrades

The design for the new visitor center is almost finished; it has been sent to the state construction office for approval. If you would like to see the proposed design, you are welcome to stop by the office in the Visitor Center. We are also making good progress on exhibits and are gathering pictures, artifacts and writing the text for the exhibit panels. When completed, the auditorium will be more accessible to park visitors with exhibits and a place to hold functions, when not being used by park programs.

Upcoming Events and Programs:

Look for kites flying high on the ridge April 19 and 20 as Kitty Hawk Kites puts on their “Fly Into Spring” Kite Festival. It will take place on Friday and Saturday from 10am-4pm. Come enjoy some fresh spring air, high flying kites, and all around fun on the dunes.

On April 21, a special annual Easter program is on Jockey's Ridge again; the Easter Son Rise Drama Celebration. This is produced by Sail Ministries.

We hope to see you at Earth Fair OBX VII at Dowdy Park in Nags Head on Saturday, April 27th from 1-4 P.M. This year’s theme focuses on Positively Protecting Habitats! Don’t miss this chance to meet representatives from organizations that work hard to preserve the ecosystems and scenic beauty that have made the Outer Banks famous around the world.

The sound kayak program starts in May and is every Wednesday at 10am. Please register as we are limited to 12 people per trip. This is a free program, thanks to the Friends of Jockey's Ridge purchasing the kayaks. If you wish to make a donation to the group, you may do so online or there is a donation box in the Visitor Center. This helps us to continue offering programs for free. Thanks!

We will be participating in the Tourism Day Celebration at the I-95 N. Welcome Center on May 10, showing appreciation for travelers to our state.

In coordination with the Outer Banks Running Club, the Killer Dunes 2-Miler & Fun Run event will be held on July 4th. Look for registration to be opening soon. Bring a team, bring your friends, bring your family... it is sure to be a killer day at Jockey’s Ridge State Park! Proceeds benefit Friends of Jockey's Ridge.

The park's summer schedule is online so check it out and plan now for your vacation! We will be adding more when we get our seasonal employees on board. Look for impromptu educational talks on the back deck this summer!

Crows by Ranger Jennifer Cox:

Crows are members of the Corvidae family (called corvids) that are very common in most parts of the world. In the park specifically we have American (corvus brachyrynchos) and Fish (corvus ossifragus) crows. The Fish crow is a bit smaller than the American crow but we can mainly tell them apart by the calls. The Fish crow has a two part call, or caw, that sounds like “ca-caw”, whereas the American crow has more of a one part call, “caw”. There are many other sounds they can make, such as a warning call or quiet sounds like private conversations. Crows have been present in myths, folklore, and legends all across the world. They take on many different characters depending on the story. They have been called creators, tricksters, symbols of bad luck, protectors, side-kicks, teachers, and messengers, just to name a few.

Crows adapt well to urban areas and their population is increasing. This can be attributed to them being opportunistic feeders. They can feast on nuts, carrion, insects, sometimes other birds, and they even are known to be able to open up a trash bag and feed on its contents. They usually gather in large groups, especially in the non-breeding season. You could call these a flock of crows but they have also been known to be called a “murder of crows”, which I, personally, find more poetic.

Take time to watch a murder of crows one day and see if you can spot the sentinel. There is always one or two watching from above or below that will give a warning “caw!” if a predator or threat approaches. The Great Horned Owl is one of their main predators. If they see the owl ahead of time, or just spot one even minding its own business, the crows will harass or mob the owl until it is finally irritated enough to leave the area.

It is not by chance that crows are referred to in so many ways in myths, folklore, and legends. Crows complete tasks that show a sign of intelligence higher than other birds. One type of crow, the New Caledonian Crow (corvus moneduloides), that lives in the South Pacific is known to make hooked tool to explore holes while foraging. These “tools”, made of small sticks and leaves, are put to the side for use again later. Crows, and their close cousin, ravens have demonstrated problem solving and counting skills. Crows are even known to recognize certain humans, for good or bad, and avoid or interact with them accordingly. There are even a few crows on social media that I, myself, like to follow.

Friends of Jockey's Ridge State Park Nags Head, NC

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