Upcoming Events
Bird Walks

Blue Ridge Audubon will be holding Bird Walks in some parks this month. Walks are free but you must sign up to attend using the links below. There is a limit of 12 people. Masks are required.

April 10, 8 am Jackson Park

April 17, 8 am Owen Park

Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary remains open and free to the public.
BRAC Programs

with Freya McGregor
Tuesday, April 27 at 7 p.m.

A Safe Place to Land
with Maria Whitehead, PhD
Senior Program Manager SE
Open Space Institute
Tuesday, May 18 at 7 p.m.

BRAC Board Meeting
Tuesday, May 4 at 6:30 p.m.
Board of Director meetings are open.
Email us if you'd like to attend on Zoom:
Blue Ridge Audubon News
Dear friend,

We’re happy to announce that this year Blue Ridge Audubon will again have a Birdathon! Our vaccinated Birdathon teams will be ready to go in May on a one day race to out-bird each other. But we’re also offering the “Everyone Can Birdathon” component too. There was so much enthusiastic participation from friends, families, and birders last year that we wanted to keep the spirit of everyone birding “together”. We’ll have more details in the May newsletter but mark your calendars for Everyone Can Birdathon on the weekend of May 14-16. We hope you’ll join in the fun.  
Even if you don’t go birding, there is another important way that you can contribute to the cause: by making a donation. Our Birdathon serves as a fundraiser that supports an American Bird Conservancy project focused on the neo-tropical migrants that nest here in Western North Carolina. We also fund a scholarship for a UNCAsheville environmental studies student. You can learn more about the American Bird Conservancy project and get a mail-in donation form here. You can also contribute online by using the donate link at the bottom of the first page on our website. Please remember to select Birdathon from the drop down menu at PayPal. Your generous donation will help us reach our goals.

Thank you to all who participate and donate!
Blue Ridge Audubon April Program
Tuesday, April 27 at 7 p.m.
Because Birding is for Everybody and Every Body!
Freya McGregor
This free event is co-hosted by Blue Ridge Audubon, Cape Fear Audubon, Forsyth Audubon, and Audubon North Carolina. Click here to register to receive the Zoom link via email.
Birding can bring so much joy and empowerment to everybody, but not every body is able to go birding easily. Birdability is a non-profit organization focused on removing barriers to access for birders with mobility challenges, blindness or low vision, intellectual disabilities, mental illness, hearing loss, and other health concerns. Birdability is all about sharing the joy of birding with everyone. Join Freya McGregor to learn about why this should matter to you even if you don't have an accessibility challenge. Freya will illustrate ways to be a more welcoming and inclusive birder. She’ll share the Birdability Map and resources for birders with accessibility challenges.
Freya McGregor is an Occupational Therapist and the Birdability Coordinator. Freya has been birding since her childhood in Australia thanks to having birder parents. As an Occupational Therapist, she is knowledgeable about modifying physical and cultural environments, adapting tasks and equipment to enable participation, and running public health programming. She also has a background in blindness and low vision services. Freya is passionate about enabling all birders and potential birders to enjoy birding and nature as much as she does. 

Top photo: Ed Leathers at BLBS with family
Bottom photo: Freya McGregor
News of Interest

The North Carolina Arboretum will host an online version of the Mountain Science Expo on Thursday and Friday, April 23 and 24. On Friday at 11:45, Blue Ridge Audubon will host a 30 minute presentation for all ages titled Birds Near You! Check out the complete schedule here: Mt. Science Expo

Managing Your Audubon Membership

Love Audubon but not the junk mail? Contact Audubon and ask to be removed from the marketing mailing list. Call or write Audubon customer service (toll-free at 1-844-428-3826 or email for questions about: your membership (renewing, extending, or updating your information) and requests for removals from mailing lists. A small monthly donation to Audubon will keep your membership going!
National Deaf History Month
by Susan Richardson
Have you ever tried birding without relying on bird calls and songs to know which birds are around you? Imagine birding without actually being able to hear the birds. For those who are either hearing impaired or deaf, that is their way of life. The National Deaf History Month runs from March 13 to April 15 and the National Audubon Society has a wonderful YouTube video on Birding 101 using American Sign Language: ASL (American Sign Language): Birding 101 - YouTube. If you are interested in simulating the experience of a deaf or hearing impaired person, you could wear ear plugs while birding to see what it is like to experience nature and birds without the benefit of sound. You may feel a bit disoriented, but I expect that you would focus more on visual cues such as movements in bushes, trees, on the ground, or in flight. 

Anyone can enjoy nature and birding wherever they may be, whether at home or elsewhere. The joy of identifying birds knows no boundaries! If you watched the Birding 101 video above, you may have noticed the signing for the word "bird." It is a very clever visual: hold your hand up to the right side of your mouth and, using your index finger and thumb, move them out and back as if you had a bird beak/bill. Go ahead and try this when you are on the trails and, who knows, you may find a fellow birder that knows what you are signing or inspire someone else to learn what you are signing. Your next assignment, should you feel motivated to learn more, is to watch the video again to learn the sign for "Eagle." During these times, you could use one of these signs as a greeting rather than the traditional handshake. Have fun and I will be watching for your 'signs' on the trails!

White-breasted Nuthatch by Randy Richardson
Bird Notes
by Rick Pyeritz
Often, I am asked if I have a favorite bird. It depends upon which bird my memory is dwelling on at the time of the question, I suppose. As I write this article, a few memorable bird sightings come to mind: the Golden-headed Manakin performing its mating ritual on a lek in Trinidad, or the Lilac-breasted Roller sitting in an acacia bush in Kenya, or an African Fish-eagle perched on a leafless limb with a storm-threatening sky in the background. This time of year, as migratory birds are starting to return to the eastern deciduous forest, one of my favorite birds is the Black-and-white Warbler. To find out why this unobtrusive warbler is a particular favorite of mine, follow the link.

Black-and-white Warbler by Alan Lenk
Beaver Bits
Text and Photos by Jay Wherley
A birder’s thoughts turn to colorful spring warblers in the month of April here in Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. With well over 2 dozen warbler species possible during the month, one might wonder where to look in the Sanctuary to find these species. Here are some general guidelines:
Ground walking warblers such as Ovenbird and Connecticut Warbler: central wooded area.
Louisiana/Northern Waterthrush: edges across from overlooks and any low wet areas such as inside area between overlooks.
Prothonotary Warbler: far side of North creek, lakeside along south perimeter trail
Orange-crowned, Wilsons, and Nashville Warblers: low/mid areas of meadow / border
Blackburnian Warbler: high in trees
Canada Warbler: thicker cover and lower in trees
Hooded Warbler:far side of filter pond and creek area, tends to be low
Other Warblers: in mixed flocks feeding at mid-tree level

Images: Yellow-throated Warbler, Beaver Lake April 2020
Ovenbird, Beaver Lake, 2019
* * * * * *
Notable recent sightings at Beaver Lake include
Green-winged Teal and Horned Grebe.
About the Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter
Blue Ridge Audubon is a chapter of the National Audubon Society, serving Buncombe, Henderson, and surrounding counties in western North Carolina.

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are
tax-deductible to the extent
allowed by law.

Raven's Nest Editor: 
Marianne Mooney
Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter
PO Box 18711
Asheville, NC 28814

Blue Ridge Audubon's mission is to protect birds and the places they depend on. We believe that a world in which birds thrive is a world that benefits all living things.

Our vision is a vibrant and just community where the protection of birds and our natural world is valued by everyone.
For the latest information and schedule changes,
check our Website or Facebook/Instagram page.