July-August 2016                                                                                    emasnc.org

Upcoming Events UpcomingEvents
For more details see our Calendar of Events   or visit emasnc.org
Sat, Aug 13, 8am
Jackson Park Bird Walk

Sat, Aug 20, 8am
Black Mountain Birdwalk
Fletcher Park Birdwalk

Sat, Sep 3, 8am
Beaver Lake Birdwalk

Tue, Sep 6, 7pm
EMAS Board

Sat, Sep 10, 8am 
Jackson Park Birdwalk

Sat, Sep 17 8am
Black Mountain Birdwalk
Fletcher Park Birdwalk

Tue, Sep 20 
EMAS program featuring
Adam Warwick

Many thanks to the following hard-working folks who helped establish the Bird-Friendly Garden at the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary :

Pearce Mottershead
  South Core Environmental
Doug Johnston
Jamie Harrelson
Patti Liming
Diane Lombardi
Nancy Pelligrini
Jim Poling
Emilie Travis
Tom Tribble
Jon Whiteside

Sierra Club Sept. 7: How to Avoid a Third Gas Plant in Asheville

The Energy Innovation Task Force will provide an update on the task force's developing plan to move WNC towards cleaner energy. September 7, 7:00 p.m., Unitarian Church
For the latest schedule and any changes:
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Please Visit Our New Bird-Friendly Garden 

Photo by Will Stuart
EMAS now has a Bird-Friendly garden at our Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. The garden highlights an initiative by Audubon North Carolina to promote native plants as a way of counteracting loss of habitat and the impacts of climate change on birds. Much planning, planting and plumbing was done to create the garden. The watering system was installed with help from Doug Johnston and Gary Schenk, and several dedicated volunteers helped plant over 90 native plants. We've erected a Bird-Friendly gardening educational sign, designed by Emilie Travis, and have free gardening brochures available in the kiosk for the public. My special thanks goes to Diane Lombardi, who designed the garden. We are also grateful to Audubon NC for a grant that partially funded the project and to an anonymous donor for a generous donation.

In 2014, the National Audubon Society released its long-term climate science study which confirmed that climate change is the single greatest threat to North American birds. Since then, perhaps the most frequent question I receive is: "What can I as an individual do to help birds deal with the effects of climate change?" There are many answers to this question, some of which include installing solar panels or driving a hybrid car. You can also reach out to elected officials to share your concern about climate change. But if you have a little outdoor space, the easiest action you can take is to make your yard more bird-friendly by planting native plants. A growing population and increased development means there are fewer undeveloped areas in our state. Migrating birds cannot always stop to refuel in a state park or wildlife refuge. This is why your yard matters so much. A garden rich in native plants will help bird populations, both residential and migratory, to be more resilient in the face of climate change. 

I invite you to tour our garden to gain some inspiration on using native plants in your own garden. Then plan to visit one of the local nurseries that are participating in Audubon's Native Plants of the Year Program. You can learn more by visiting the Bird-Friendly Gardens page at our website,   http://emasnc.org/birdfriendly.html.

There are thousands of gardeners and birders in western North Carolina. We can be a force for change and help birds. 

Thanks and Good Birding!

Tom Tribble President
EMAS Board of Directors

EMASSeptemberprogram Black Bears
of Western North Carolina

Tuesday September 20 7 p.m. 
Reuter Center, UNCAsheville

Join us for a special presentation by Nature Conservancy biologist and bear expert Adam Warwick on the ecology of black bears. Adam will discuss results of research on local bears and the interface between black bears and humans in Western North Carolina. 

Adam Warwick is the Southern Blue Ridge Stewardship Manager for the Nature Conservancy. He focuses on habitat restoration issues including supervising controlled burns, restoring mountain bogs, and addressing forest health issues.

All EMAS programs are free and open to the public.

 The Return of Rick Pyeritz' Bird Notes

From 1989 through 1998 I wrote a monthly article, Bird Notes, for the Raven's Nest, and I'm now reviving that column. A guiding vision for this effort can, in part, be explained by the following quote attributed to Richard Feynman, the late Nobel Laureate physicist: "You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you are finished, you will know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird. You'll only know about humans in different places, and what they call the bird. So let's look at the bird and see what it is doing---that is what really counts." I would like to write about not only what a bird is doing, but, also, the how and why of bird behavior. I'll also share what some observers of the natural world, like Elliot Coues, John Burroughs, Henry Beston, Rachel Carson, have written about birds.

My first article addresses the question of how a bird can sustain the intense effort of flying for long periods at elevations higher than Mount Everest and how birds breathe at such high altitudes. If you are interested in finding out, you'll find my article at this link.

Editor's note: Rick Pyeritz has lived in Asheville for the past 30 years. He worked as a physician at the MAHEC Family Practice Residency and at UNCAsheville. He wrote for the Raven's Nest newsletter from 1989 to 1998.

Birdathon May Birdathon wrap-up

Photo by Rick and Nora Bowers
Our sincere thanks go out to all those who donated to Elisha Mitchell Audubon's Birdathon. Through your generosity, we've received an amazing $6,321, well surpassing our goal of raising $5,000 for a UNCA environmental education scholarship and for the American Bird Conservancy. The project we donated to focuses on enhancing habitat in the Nicaraguan highlands for two key-note overwintering species, the Golden-winged Warbler and Wood Thrush. Since the 2010 Birdathon, our chapter has raised over $34,000 for bird conservation. We are most grateful for the generosity of our members who made a donation. Please find their names listed here. And, if you haven't sent in your tax-deductible contribution yet, please click here for a donation form.

Thank you all very much again for your generous and important support
beaverbits  Beaver Bits
Text and Photos by Vin Stanton

Virginia Creeper Sphinx has a 1" wingspread and is an uncommon, interesting moth found at BLBS. The larval host plants are Virginia creeper and wild grape, while the adult nectars on flowers. Its range extends from Maine to Mexico.

Spangled Skimmer
is a large (2" long) dragonfly that is common at BLBS. The male is primrose blue, while the female thorax is brown with cream along its sides. Note the distinctive light dot on the upper edge of the wings.

Pictured is a male Ebony Jewelwing damselfly (2" long). They are often seen fluttering in the shadows near water. The male has a metallic green thorax which can fluctuate from dark blue to black depending on the light. Females are similar to males with the exception that the wings are not as dark and have a white spot near the tip.

Northern Water Snake
is a common, non-venomous snake that is seen throughout the summer. I usually find them near the large rocks at the outflow of the eco-pond. Note the striking pattern of brown spots along the body. This snake can range from   2-4 feet long.

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) is a summer breeder often heard chattering in the tree tops. Note the striking coloration of gray above and white below and a black tail bordered with white. Their scientific name means tyrant or king.
Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society |  emas@emasnc.org | PO Box 18711 Asheville, NC 28814