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

By all accounts, the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society's 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary was a huge success! We welcomed over 175 folks to our beloved Sanctuary on a beautiful September day for “bird-infused” educational fun for the whole family. 

As celebrants made their way around the boardwalk they were treated to live reptiles, engaging information on bees, butterflies, bird-friendly gardening, and of course, lots of lake-side birdwatching. Smiling-faced children borrowed kid-friendly binoculars and scrambled around on a nature treasure hunt. They also got to use their artistic talents to “Join the Flock.” The Hop served up ice cream to cool them off, while grown-ups enjoyed bird-friendly shade-grown coffee. We gave away bird houses to 15 lucky families. And all agreed: Carlton Burke’s live raptors stole the show! 
We especially thank our esteemed guests: NC State Representatives Susan Fisher and Brian Turner, Asheville’s Vice Mayor Gwen Wisler and Buncombe County Board of Commissioners’ Chair Brownie Newman, who each shared about the Sanctuary and what a special place it holds in our community. 

We also heard from Scott Parker, who 30 years ago, led the effort to raise $400,000 to buy and preserve the land for our Sanctuary. He was just 28 years young when he took on that huge challenge and dared to dream big! We thank him and all the donors, including the City of Asheville and Buncombe County. 

We are so grateful to all of our amazing volunteers who made the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary Celebration so special for all! Click here to see more photos!
Travels with Migratory Birds
Dr. Bruce Beehler
7 pm Tuesday, October 22, Reuter Center, UNCA
Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, will host renowned ornithologist Dr. Bruce M. Beehler for a special presentation on migratory birds. Dr. Beehler will recount his amazing journey following the spring songbird migration from the coast of southeastern Texas north through the Mississippi River watershed to the boreal forests of northern Ontario. His goal was to spend time with all thirty-seven eastern wood warblers at their favored stopover sites and at their nesting grounds. During his hundred-day trip, he visited scores of local, state, and national parks and wildlife refuges critical to bird migration. His presentation will touch on wildlife, nature conservation, migration research, American history, and rural culture. Dr. Beehler will share stories and photos from his travels and will discuss the importance of conserving habitat throughout the Western Hemisphere to ensure the well-being of migratory songbirds
Dr. Beehler is an ornithologist and naturalist who has spent his scientific career studying and working to conserve birds and their habitats. Aresearch associate in the Bird Division of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, Dr. Beehler has published twelve books and authored more than a hundred articles about birds and nature. He received his PhD at Princeton working on the behavioral ecology of Birds-of-Paradise and is an authority on New Guinea birds. He is co-author of the Princeton Field Guide Birds of New Guinea.
Signed copies of Dr. Beehler’s book,  North on the Wing: Travels with the Songbird Migration of Spring,  will be available for purchase at the lecture.

All EMAS programs are free and open to the public.
The Nature Conservancy in North Carolina
Elisha Mitchell Audubon is honored to partner with The Nature Conservancy of North Carolina on our October program. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has played an important role across the world in bird conservation through the acquisition of sensitive lands, the restoration of critical habitats, and now the advancement of clean energy and climate change policy. Since its founding in 1977, the North Carolina chapter of The Nature Conservancy has protected more than 715,000 acres of land in places ranging from the Outer Banks to the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Much of their land acquisitions were made on behalf of conservation agencies and are now in public ownership and accessible as state parks, wildlife refuges, and nature preserves. TNC provides the science needed to help agencies like the U.S. Forest Service maintain healthy forests and they work with many agencies to ensure that water sources and rivers are protected. 

The preservation of the renowned biodiversity of the mountains of North Carolina has led TNC to protect more than 160,000 acres of land within an hour’s drive of Asheville. Local TNC projects and purchased lands include Hickory Nut Gorge, Mt. Mitchell, Bluff Mountain, Grandfather Mountain, the Roan Highlands, the Plott Balsams, and areas along the Green River. The Asheville office staff works on many local projects including preserving threatened bird species like the Golden-winged warbler by using their expertise in controlled burns to restore Golden-winged habitat here in the mountains. To learn more, visit The Nature Conservancy of North Carolina's website .
Golden-winged Warbler by Alan Lenk
On the Wing
by Noah Poulos
Each year the late summer doldrums set in, and the realization that autumn signifies the beginning of the dormant period in our temperate region sinks deep. One aspect that defines Appalachian summers for me is color. The blazing of wild azaleas, staggering their blooms as you travel up the mountain. The brightness of a Tanager, making a mockery of those who dare to call a Cardinal “red”. The brilliance of a Red Eft, making its way across the forest floor during its brief stint on land. And while autumn is not short of color, it comes with a taste of loss, for when the leaves fall, it is a long time before our days again resemble an artist's palette.
As October nears and summer turns to autumn, the light changes, the temperature changes, the colors change. Much as my energy fades as the clock ticks closer to bedtime, the earth and all of the life inhabiting it find rest all in forms of their own. Trees drop their leaves, mammals hibernate, birds lose their color and fly south. And as the autumn months go by and new birds pass through and familiar birds take off, I watch their unbelievable journey take place, and I experience a freedom and joy, much like that that come with the colors of summer.

Please click here to read Noah’s Fall Migration article.

Northern Flicker by Will Stuart
Beaver Bits
Text and photos by Jay Wherley
Let’s talk sparrows. Birders have warmed up their identification skills with the somewhat tricky Fall warblers – but the different sparrows found in October at Beaver Lake can be even more challenging. Eleven species of sparrows have been recorded in that one month at the sanctuary. Here are a few ID tips:

  • Chipping Sparrow – look for the dark eyeline both front and back of eye
  • Savannah Sparrow – usually shows yellow patch in front of eye, crisp markings.
  • Fox Sparrow – thick arrow-like streaks on chest, gray on face.
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – like a Song Sparrow with extra fine delicate streaking, yellow at base of bill. (pictured above)
  • Swamp Sparrow – rufous wings, blurry to non-streaked gray breast. (pictured below)
  • Field Sparrow – small pink bill on cute face with white eye ring.

One species of sparrow not yet seen in the Fall at Beaver Lake? Vesper Sparrow.
Notable recent sightings at Beaver Lake include Wilson’s Warbler and Golden-winged Warbler.

Lincoln’s Sparrow, Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, 11 October 2015
Swamp Sparrow, Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, 5 October 2015
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