February 2018                                                                  emasnc.org

Upcoming Events
For more details see our Calendar of Events   or visit emasnc.org
Upcoming
Sat, Feb 17, 9am
Swannanoa Valley Birdwalk

Feb 16-18 Great Backyard Bird Count: Friday, Beaver Lake 9am and Saturday, Owen Park 9am

Sat, Mar 3, 9am
Beaver Lake Birdwalk

Sat, Mar 10, 9am
Jackson Park Birdwalk

Sat, Mar 17, 9am
Swannanoa Valley Birdwalk.

Sierra Club Meeting 

Steffi Rausch, lead organizer for the Asheville Chapter of the Citizens Climate Change Lobby, will share tips on how you can engage positively with your legislators, conservative friends, and relatives on the issue of climate change. 

Thursday, March 1 at 7:00 p.m. UU Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place 

Content Editor: Marianne Mooney, mooney.marianne@gmail.com
Technical Editor:  James Poling, james.poling@garrett.edu

For the latest schedule and any changes:
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2018 Declared Year of the Bird 

Red-tailed Hawk
by Peter Ferguson
The year 2018 marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. The Act was one of the first federal environmental laws and made it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, or sell migratory birds. In honor of this milestone, National Geographic, National Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and BirdLife International will join forces with more than 100 other organizations and millions of people around the world to celebrate 2018 as the "Year of the Bird." This effort aims to heighten public awareness of birds and the challenges they face, and to educate and inspire people to help. 

To get started, visit BirdYourWorld.org to discover simple but meaningful steps that you can take to help birds each month, and to join a pledge to participate. Monthly calls to action will offer opportunities to participate in community science projects, how-to's on creating a bird-friendly garden, and even simple suggestions like how to turn a child into a lover of nature. The campaign will also utilize National Geographic's portfolio of media platforms to reach millions of people around the world with engaging bird content. Mark Jannot, editor of Audubon magazine, believes that "Birds inspire us and have an almost magical way of bringing us together-and when we act together on behalf of birds, we can accomplish truly meaningful things".

 GBBC   Great Backyard Bird Count! 

The 21 st annual Great Backyard
Bird Count (GBBC) will take place this year February 16 th through the 19th. Launched in 1998 by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, this citizen science project was the first to collect data on birds online and to display results in near real-time. Last February, over 214,000 people in 120 countries totaled 5,940 species of birds creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded! Scientists use information from the GBBC to compile data regarding winter distribution and abundance of birds. The longer this data is collected, the more meaningful it becomes in helping scientist study birds. 

Pick up your binos and join in! Registered participants count birds for 15 or more minutes for one to four days and submit their lists. It's a free, fun activity for young or old, and experienced birders or beginners. Birds can be counted in your own backyard or seen on an outing. For more information on how to register and participate go to gbbc.birdcount.org

Join EMAS for a GBBC bird count! EMAS will participate in the GBBC by hosting bird walks at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary on Friday, February 16 from 9-11a.m., and at Owen Park on Saturday, February 17 from 9-11a.m. The bird walks are free and open to the public. No reservations are necessary. Please visit our website, emasnc.org for details and check our listserv for any updates. 


by Rick Pyeritz

Not all birds fly, Or sing, 
Or build nests. 
Yet all birds share one feature: 
Feathers. 
No bird lacks them or can survive or fly without them. 
Maryjo Koch 

Painted bunting
by David Morgan
Feathers are the topic for this month's Bird Notes, with a mention of the important role bird feathers played in the passing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Follow the link to learn about this fascinating and unique feature of birds! 

Drilling  
Make Your Voice Heard 
 on Offshore Drilling 


Interior Secretary Zinke announced Administration plans to open 90% of the Outer Continental Shelf off the U.S. coast to oil and gas exploration. The drilling plan runs from 2019 - 2024 and includes 47 potential lease sales along the Arctic, Pacific, and Atlantic coasts. 
David Yarnold, president of Audubon, says: "No coastal community - whether for people or birds - thrives in the shadow of offshore oil rigs. There are places where offshore drilling is already a fact. Let's make the smart choice to limit drilling to those places and not to take dumb risks like drilling in the Arctic or off coasts that rely on tourism. Coastal communities profit from sustainable beach tourism and protecting birds and the places they need, both of which would be directly affected by oil spills. This five-year plan ignores millions of Americans who don't want their shorelines put in harm's way." 

Make your voices heard and
Oil-covered Brown Pelican
by Win Mcnamee
comment on the offshore drilling proposal. The Public Input period for this proposal ends on March 9. Here is a link to an Audubon petition to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management where you can submit a comment for the public record: https://act.audubon.org/onlineactions/e_Vm3cJ1d0WzmFBz_TQ2sA2 

Steve Yurkovich, EMAS Conservation Committee Chair 

Text and Photos by Jay Wherley


With several cold snaps settling in this winter, birders have been on the lookout for interesting ducks and geese at Beaver Lake - at least before it was completely iced over. 

The first recorded report of a Snow Goose at Beaver Lake happened in December 2017 when a white morph (the most common) Snow Goose landed in a mix of Canada Geese near the "golf course pond". A few have also been reported in the general Asheville area, but seeing one at Beaver Lake was still a treat. 

An American Black Duck associated with several Mallards in late December. This duck was not obviously unique versus the others, but the solid dark body and bill color did differentiate it from the Mallards. Neither of these birds

stuck around for more than a few days. Join our listserv for up-to-date reports on birds seen at BLBS and elsewhere. 

Other notable recent waterfowl sightings at Beaver Lake include Redhead, Northern Pintail, and Gadwall. 

Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society |  elishamitchellaudubon@gmail.com | PO Box 18711 Asheville, NC 28814