The Raven's Nest
November 2019
Upcoming Events
EMAS Meetings/Walks are Free and Open to All!
President's Message

The Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society has been super busy this fall.

With a lot of help, we erected a Chimney Swift tower at Asheville’s Isaac Dickson Elementary School. In October, the school held an outdoor dedication ceremony, complete with a specially-composed song, "Little Bird." All the children sang, and some played violins and ukuleles too -- it was priceless! Check out the photos and video . We are so very grateful to Ed and Jane Isbey who made a generous donation for the tower and educational sign. We also thank the school’s experiential learning department, music teacher Jennifer Fowler, Principal Brad Johnson, PTO co-president Matt Menne, and especially Elisha Mitchell Audubon’s Tom Tribble for making this wonderful project happen. 

Also this fall, over 100 folks joined us for “Swift Night Out” in downtown Asheville to watch migrating Chimney Swifts. We participated in the Asheville Coffee Expo talking about a simple way to help protect birds: choose shade-grown coffee. We were also at the Climate Justice Rally, and held a "Climate Watch Party" to hear about Audubon’s ground-breaking study Survival by Degrees (see below for more). Most recently, we teamed up with our friends at Wild Birds Unlimited for in-store events and the NC Arboretum’s “Birds and Brews” night. Click here to see 2 pages of great photos !

What are we up to next? We’re co-hosting a symposium on Climate Change and Asheville’s Urban Forest . Plus, we're marching in the Asheville Holiday Parade at 11 am on Saturday, November 23! Bring the kids and grandkids and have some fun as we celebrate Birds of Peace!

We also hope to see you at our November program meeting!

Good Birding,
-Nancy Casey
Audubon's Legacy: Artists, Scientists, Writer, and Conservationist
Bill Steiner and Cindy Buckner
7 pm Tuesday, November 19, Reuter Center, UNCA
In partnership with the Asheville Art Museum , the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society is pleased to present a program celebrating John James Audubon and a new Art Museum exhibit. Naturalist and painter John James Audubon has long been a figure of fascination for both birders and artists. His seminal work, Birds of America , features 435 life-sized prints depicting birds in their natural settings. But Audubon was also an explorer, self-taught scientist, and a
conservationist. Join author and collector Bill Steiner for a look at Audubon's art and his contributions to science. Steiner is joined by Cindy Buckner, the museum's associate curator, for a preview of A Telling Instinct: Audubon and Contemporary Art , the Museum’s upcoming exhibition examining Audubon’s anthropomorphic and storytelling approach, and its resonance with contemporary artists. 
Bill Steiner is a field ecologist and expert birder who, along with this wife Peg, has compiled one of the most significant private collections of Audubon prints in the United States. Bill began collecting Audubon prints in 1997 without knowing how varied the Audubon print world was. He realized that “an astounding amount of information on Audubon prints can only be found in the heads of museum workers, gallery owners and antiquarian book dealers.” Bill soon set out to catalog all things Audubon. His book, Audubon Art Prints: A Collector's Guide to Every Edition , was published in 2003 by the University of South Carolina Press and is considered the definitive book on Audubon prints.

Cindy Buckner is a specialist in American art and in the history of printmaking. She earned her master’s degree in art history from Washington University, followed by doctoral coursework and an M.Phil. degree at the City University of New York. Ms. Buckner served as Associate Curator at the Grand Rapids Art Museum for eight years where she curated over thirty exhibitions. She joined the staff of the Asheville Art Museum as associate curator in February of 2018.

All EMAS programs are free and open to the public.
Birds are telling us:
It’s time to take action on climate change
Audubon’s new report, Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink , shows that two-thirds of North American bird species are at risk of extinction from climate change . Even common birds in western North Carolina, like the Eastern Towhee and Brown Thrasher, will experience declining populations and radically different ranges in the near future.
The website includes a first-of-its-kind zip code-based climate visualizer , which shows you how climate change will impact birds here and around the country. 

It’s not all bad news: the report also tells us that we already have a lot of the tools we need to reduce the effects of climate change, and if we act now, there is still time to create a brighter future for birds and people.  

Click here to learn about what actions you can take to help birds.

Also, check out this short video about the report, and spread the word to your family and friends, and on social media: #BirdsTellUs .
Bird Notes
by Rick Pyeritz
…if called by a panther,
Don't anther.
Ogden Nash, 1902 – 1971 

Ogden Nash, an American humorist, was known for his rhyming verse usually depicting his disbelief and dismay at the problems of modern American life. Animals and birds were frequent subjects of his hilarious poems which never seem to go out of style. His use of rhyming, misspelling, and short verse made him a unique, humorous voice of the 20th C. For a lighthearted laugh, follow this link to read a few of his poems about birds. 
A Birders Eye
by Simon Thompson
Those Sneaky Sparrows (part 1)
An eye-stripe glimpsed in a dense thicket; a soft call-note heard from a wet ditch; a brown blur in the forest undergrowth – all are sure-fire indications of those sneaky sparrows. Some of us love New World sparrows, but others hate them. “They all look the same” is a complaint I often hear. Well…..yes! To be honest, most sparrows are essentially little brown birds, but the complicated feather patterns vary considerably between many of the closely-related species. Their habitat preferences also differ, with some species preferring wet, long-grass ditches, and others, thick underbrush. Some are only found in open, park-like habitat, while others are never seen out of dense cover. 
If attention to detail is what drives your birding, those sneaky sparrows are the perfect family of birds to get into. Their overall brown plumage is a complex series of spots, streaks and stripes – all unique to the species. It’s a lot of fun to figure them out.

Follow this link for Simon’s sparrow synopsis!
Beaver Bits
Text and photos by Jay Wherley
The seasonal turnover of bird species is upon us. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have not been seen in the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary since early October. Most of the migrating warblers have moved through on their way south. Large stands of traveling Tree Swallows are still seen occasionally as they swoop over the lake for insects. 

The first ducks (Blue-winged Teal) are arriving and will soon be joined by other species. White-throated Sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers have arrived. November at Beaver Lake is a good time to look for Horned Grebe (pictured), Winter Wren, Rusty Blackbird (pictured), and Fox Sparrow.

Notable recent sightings at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary include: Great Egret and Gray-cheeked Thrush
Horned Grebe, BLBS Fall 2015
Rusty Blackbird, BLBS Fall 2017
About The Raven's Nest
Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society
PO Box 18711 Asheville, NC 28814
EMAS is a chapter of the National Audubon Society, serving Buncombe, Henderson, and surrounding counties in western North Carolina.

Content Editor: 
Marianne Mooney

Technical Editor: 
Nick Dugan
Our mis sion is to promote an awareness and appreciation of nature, to preserve and protect wildlife and natural ecosystems, and to encourage responsible environmental stewardship.

Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
For the latest information and schedule changes,
check the EMAS Website or Facebook/Instagram