December 2018

Sat. Dec 15, 9 am
Swannanoa Valley Birdwalk

Sat. Jan 5, 9am
Beaver Lake Birdwalk
Sat. Jan 12, 9am
Jackson Park Birdwalk

Sat, Jan 19, 9am
Swannanoa Valley Birdwalk

Sat. Feb 2, 9am
Beaver Lake Birdwalk

For details on Upcoming Events see our  Calendar  on

presidentsmsgPresident's Message
Audubon, National Geographic and several other organizations collaborated to designate 2018 The Year of the Bird, with the goal of celebrating birds and encouraging people everywhere to take action to help birds. 

Elisha Mitchell Audubon embraced the call to action!  Through programs, presentations, and bird walks, EMAS reached more than 1,900 people, including more than 500 children this year. 

As you read through our highlights and accomplishments, I hope you will consider EMAS in your end-of-year charitable contributions. Our local chapter relies almost entirely on donations from our members and supporters to fund our work and for the upkeep of Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary -- one of Asheville's treasures. Please visit the  EMAS Donation webpage to donate on-line or send a check to EMAS, PO Box 18711, Asheville, NC 28814.  

One exciting success in 2018 was our collaboration with St. Eugene Catholic Church and Asheville Catholic School to establish a Bird-Friendly Garden on an abandoned lot near the church. We are already planning for continuing our work with St. Eugene's into 2019.

We continued our attack on invasive plants at the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. EMAS is the only Audubon chapter in North Carolina to own and manage a nature preserve. More than 200 species of birds have been identified in the Sanctuary, which receives more than 50,000 visitors a year. The Sanctuary is a haven for birds and beloved by the community.

EMAS was honored to host Audubon North Carolina's 2018 Summit. Almost 50 EMAS members attended, helping us achieve the largest turnout ever for this biannual event - 130 Audubon members from across the state.

Perhaps most importantly, EMAS adopted a formal Advocacy Plan to direct our efforts to encourage our friends to support Audubon's mission - "To Protect Birds and the Places They Need."  We issued Advocacy Alerts to oppose changes to the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Species Act and to oppose opening our oceans to new offshore drilling.  EMAS members met with legislators in WNC and attended Audubon NC's 2018 Lobby Day at the General Assembly in Raleigh to support clean energy for birds.  More than 100 of you signed a petition or emailed your support for a resolution to transition the City of Asheville's municipal operations to 100% renewable energy by 2030.  The City Council unanimously passed the resolution.  Thank you for embracing birds!

Our annual Birdathon raised more than $7,500, every penny of which went 1) to conserve habitat in Central America for our migratory birds and 2) to support a scholarship for an environmental studies student at UNC Asheville. We are so grateful to all who generously donated to the Birdathon.

Again, please help us continue to make a difference for birds by making a year-end, tax-deductible donation to Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society! Except for a relatively small annual contribution from National Audubon, EMAS relies entirely on donations from our members and supporters to fund our work. Our budget for the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary this year was over $10,000. Please visit the  EMAS Donation webpage  to donate on-line  or send a check to EMAS, PO Box 18711, Asheville, NC 28814. You are Audubon!

Thanks and Good Birding!

Tom Tribble, EMAS president
trainingFREE Audubon Training Opportunity!
Learn how to Effectively Advocate for Birds and Clean Energy
Nancy Casey, Rep. Susan Fisher, Bethany Sheffer and Tom Tribble at Audubon North Carolina's 2018 Lobby Day
As mentioned in Tom's message above, EMAS ramped up advocacy efforts in 2018. As a part of this, we teamed up with High Country Audubon in Boone to receive a grant from National Audubon! 

As part of the grant we are proud to offer FREE training to learn effective ways you can become a champion for birds and clean energy in North Carolina!

Come prepared to gain valuable skills used to promote clean energy, and committed to put your training to work on behalf of birds and the habitat they need. Various advocacy tools will be covered including: starting a petition, communicating with legislators, and writing letters to the editor/op-eds. The curriculum is based on the organizing techniques developed collaboratively by the Midwest Academy and national and state Audubon staff.

Participants are required to watch at least two webinars and should be willing to dedicate at least 4 hours collecting signatures in support of clean energy at events this spring. In addition, we hope that most attendees will participate in Audubon North Carolina's Lobby Day (currently scheduled for Tuesday, March 5). That day we'll travel to Raleigh to talk to our state legislators about the importance of clean energy for birds.

WHEN:     Fri. Feb. 1 - Sat. Feb. 2, 2019

WHERE:   Morganton, NC
Friday 2/1:
    6 - 8 pm Dinner then optional brewery visits in downtown Morganton
    Lodging at Hampton Inn, Morganton
Saturday 2/2:
    7 - 9 am Optional birding!
    9 - 4 pm Training at Patton High School

HOW:     Click here to sign up by Friday, Jan 25.

COST:    Absolutely FREE! No-cost training, lodging and food! (Courtesy of Audubon in Action grant) 

**Space for this training is limited and registration is required.

Sign up by Fri. Jan 25 or contact Tom Tribble ( ) and Nancy Casey ( ) for more information.   
birdnoteBird Notes
by Rick Pyeritz
"My musical friend, at whose house I am now visiting, 
has tried all the owls that are his near neighbors with a 
pitch pipe and finds they all hoot in B-flat.
He will examine the nightingales next spring."
- Gilbert White

Get out your pitch-pipes, for this is an excellent time of year to listen for the largest owl of southeastern North America, the Great-Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus. Activities such as establishing territories, breeding, and raising young have ceased for other birds while the "Hoot Owl" is just getting started now. While this supreme nocturnal predator figures prominently in the myths and legends of many cultures, its natural history is equally, if not more fascinating.  Please follow this link to read all about the Great-Horned Owl.

When birding here in Western North Carolina, looking for ducks and geese is not one of the activities that immediately spring to mind. The mountains are rich in many bird species, such as warblers and other woodland birds, but ducks? 

Aside from the ubiquitous Canada Goose and abundant Mallard, the only wild duck we can regularly expect during the summer mon
ths is the beautifully-plumaged Wood Duck. However, during the winter, searching for ducks does seem a little more worthwhile. As the weather gets colder, as it has already started to do this year, the migrating waterfowl will appear on our local lakes and rivers. Although the number of waterfowl here in the mountains and foothills of the Carolinas cannot compare with the vast flocks along North Carolina's coast and Outer Banks, we still manage to attract a reasonable selection of birds on some of the larger rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Here, if the water remains open throughout the colder months, we can expect small flocks of geese and ducks on many stretches of water. 

Simon's article continues here.

Content Editor: 
Marianne Mooney

Technical Editor: 
Nancy Casey

For the latest information and schedule changes, check the EMAS Facebook page:

Like us on Facebook

Enjoy this
Text and Photos by Jay Wherley
The calendar month
of December includes the first sightings at Beaver Lake of Snow Goose (2017) and Ross's Goose (2013 Christmas Day). The other two species of geese that have been been  reported over the years at Beaver Lake are the Canada Goose (very common) and Greater White-fronted Goose (rare).

Snow Geese can appear in either a white or blue color morph (see photo below). In either case a "grin patch" is visible in the middle of the bill as a dark curved area. Ross's Geese are  almost always in a white morph appearance and have little to no grin patch.

One other type of goose has been seen in Buncombe County, but not yet at Beaver Lake - the Cackling Goose.

* * *
Notable recent sightings at Beaver Lake include Fox Sparrow and Snow Goose.
Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society | | PO Box 18711 Asheville, NC 28814