Upcoming Events
Birding Events

Join Blue Ridge Audubon for birding three Saturdays each month.
Free and open to all.

Many thanks to the guides at Ventures Birding
for leading our outings.

August 20, 8 a.m.

September 3, 8 a.m.

September 10, 8 a.m.

September 17, 8 a.m.

Swift Night Out!
Thursday, Sept 29 at 6:45 p.m.
Civic Center Parking Lot
Seventh Floor

Blue Ridge Audubon Program
Tuesday, October 18, 7 p.m.
Reuter Center UNCA

Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary Native Plant Tour
Saturday, August 27, 1-3 p.m.

Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, September 6 at 6:30 p.m.
Open to everyone. Contact us to attend
President's Message
Dear friend,

It’s been a warm, muggy July, my yard is looking lush with all the summer showers, and the hummingbirds are once again fighting over the feeder. Late summer is here, and what a great time to be in the Blue Ridge Mountains!
While I do enjoy summers, I am really looking forward to the coming year. The Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter Board of Directors met recently for our annual retreat to review the past year and plan for next year. This past year we had some great successes. The Lights Out! Asheville advocacy campaign to recruit government and commercial building tenants to turn their lights off (or shield the light downward) to help protect migrating songbirds stands out as a huge win for birds. And there have been other wins as well. We have made some major repairs and improvements to Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. Our Birdathon raised over $15,000 (including our matching funds) to help restore and protect Golden-winged Warbler habitat in the North Carolina highlands on Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy lands!
We also had some great programs this year, with engaging speakers on topics that ranged from resurrecting the Passenger Pigeon to Roseate Spoonbills. I am sure that those who attended these meetings came away very pleased with a delightful experience. But frankly, they were not well attended, and this may just be one of those shifts in “normal” that the post-pandemic world has created. At our retreat we reflected on our programming, and this year will offer a greater variety of programs that will be fun and engaging for our members. Some will be 'traditional' evening programs at the Reuter Center, but we are mulling new ideas like a Birds and Brews event with beginning birdwatching lessons or trivia contests for bird-lovers; a spring Beaver Lake celebration family event; and possibly morning Birding and Coffee. First up will be our annual Swift Night Out on Thursday, September 29. Last year, this was our best-attended event, even before counting the 7,000-10,000 chimney swifts that came!
Watch for more details about these events in coming months. And if you have any other great ideas for programming and events, please send them my way— we plan these events for you, our members, after all!
Best regards,

John Koon
President, Blue Ridge Audubon

Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Jay Wherley
Lights Out! Asheville
Paulina Jones
Fall bird migration will be underway in just a few short weeks. In preparation, the Coalition for a Bird-Friendly Asheville is springing into action with our Lights Out! Asheville campaign, ramping up outreach this month to raise as much community awareness as possible before fall migration begins. Lights Out! Asheville encourages all business owners, residents, and building managers to extinguish non-essential outdoor lighting between midnight and 6 a.m. during spring and fall. Many birds migrate at night using natural light cues like the moon and stars. Unfortunately, light pollution emitted from urban centers disrupts migratory birds along their nighttime journeys. Brightly lit buildings draw birds towards cities, making them susceptible to the many lethal threats posed by the human-built environment (e.g., fatal window collisions). Fortunately, a simple thing like turning out lights can help birds navigate our environment and protect them from harm.
Our immediate plan is to strengthen relationships with our partner organizations and utilize their networks to increase the Lights Out! program’s reach. We will be engaging with the City of Asheville to continue providing guidance on responsible outdoor lighting at a city level. Local business owners can expect to hear from Andrea Carver, our UNCAsheville McCullough Fellow/UNCA Audubon Chapter Vice President. Lots more people will hear about us as well. We’ve gotten some great press recently, and you can read about our program this month in The Laurel of Asheville, and next month in Rapid River Magazine.
Help us spread awareness of the program with your friends, family, and co-workers! The success of the Lights Out! Asheville program relies on community awareness and participation. Please sign our pledge to turn lights off and celebrate your commitment to reducing light pollution at the Coalition for a Bird-Friendly Asheville’s website!
Paulina Jones is a co-founder of the Coalition for a Bird-Friendly Asheville and the Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter’s Program Coordinator for “Lights Out! Asheville”
Thank You, Birdathon Donors!
Our sincere thanks go out to all of you who donated to Blue Ridge Audubon's 2022 Birdathon. Through your generosity, we’ve tallied $7,787, which the Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter has matched dollar for dollar. We presented a check for $15,574 to the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy which will support their important work of creating and maintaining habitat for Golden-winged Warblers here in our mountains.
Since the 2010 Birdathon, our chapter has raised over $70,000 for bird conservation. We couldn’t have done this without the generous support of our members. There is still time if you haven't sent in your tax-deductible contribution yet and want to help Golden-winged Warblers. You can use our donation form or donate online at our website. It's never too late for you to help birds! Thank you so much, we appreciate your support!

l to r, Marianne Mooney, BRAC vice-president, John Koon, BRAC president, Marquette Crockett, SAHC Roan Stewardship Program Director and Carl Silverstein, SAHC Executive Director
Golden-winged Warbler News
NC Wildlife Resources Division
This spring, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Division wildlife diversity staff captured and color-banded 22 Golden-winged Warblers in the Cheoah Mountains (Graham County) for a study led by the University of Maine to better understand annual survival of this rapidly declining migratory bird. Between summer jaunts to western North Carolina to nest in brushy field habitat or patches of recently logged forest, Golden-winged Warblers make a 2,000-mile trip to their wintering grounds in the Andes Mountains of northern South America. Quality habitat is needed at each leg of the journey.
Wildlife Commission staff deployed 12 birds with nanotags, a type of coded radio transmitters that are detectable on the Motus Wildlife Tracking Network. Hopefully the tagged birds are picked up on Motus receiver stations during migration and at their overwintering sites in Colombia and Venezuela. Staff will search for both tagged and color-banded Golden-wings next year when the birds return to nest in the Cheoah Mountains. The data collected will help to determine whether to federally list the species. It’s already a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in North Carolina. 

Photos of Golden-winged Warbler and technician Clifton Avery by Chris Kelly
Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary News
Tom Tribble
The ecofilter wetland at the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary is once again dry following damage from a heavy rainstorm on July 12. This time it’s because of a break in the drainage pipe. Twice before the pond dried up after filling with sediment from sink holes in 2013 and 2019. The wetland was constructed to protect downstream waters by treating surface runoff through biological absorption by wetland plants. The plants absorb nutrients and other chemicals, including organic compounds and heavy metals. The pond also traps sediment from the storm water system before it can reach Beaver Lake.
When the pond was constructed, a 4-foot diameter pipe was installed at the outlet to the small creek that drains into Beaver Lake. The entrance to the pipe was closed off by welding a piece of steel at the end. An overflow drain was installed so that if water topped the dam, it could pour into the pipe. Some very strong thunderstorms came through the area on July 12, dropping several inches of rain. The water roared down the storm water drain system and into the pond. The pressure was apparently so great that it burst through the welded piece of steel. Water is now flowing unobstructed out of the old pipe, and hence, an empty pond!
Blue Ridge Audubon met with South Core Environmental, a local company that does wetland restoration. The company is confident that the damage can be repaired. Unfortunately, their schedule will prevent them from doing the project for a couple of months. We look forward to restoring the ecofilter wetland to fulfill its intended purpose of protecting the water quality of Beaver Lake and downstream waters.
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.