Upcoming Events
Bird Walks

We are sorry to report that Blue Ridge Audubon bird walks will be suspended through the winter due to continuing concerns about Covid 19 and public gatherings.

Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary remains open to the public and we invite all members to visit.
BRAC Programs

Window Pain: Helping Birds Survive a Human World
Heidi Trudell

Tuesday, March 16 at 7 p.m. on the BRAC Facebook page. Details in the March newsletter.

Please check our website and Facebook page for updates.
Blue Ridge Audubon News
Dear friend,

Happy New Year to all Blue Ridge Audubon members! We look forward to better year and the promise of meeting in person again before too long. Though we haven't been together, the board has still been busy with initiatives and keeping the ball moving forward even during these challenging times. On a lighter note, we’d like to formally unveil our new Blue Ridge Audubon logo. It was created by Eric Pieper, of Homestead Creative Studio here in Asheville. Eric donated a lot of his time in coming up with this beautiful Cerulean Warbler/Blue Ridge Mountains design. We’re very happy with it and hope to have t-shirts ready by the time we all meet in person again. 

If you'd like to be more involved with the Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter, we are seeking qualified candidates for at-large board member positions. After being waylaid by the pandemic last year in our search for new board members, we are optimistic that we will be able to find and meet with interested candidates on Zoom and perhaps in person well before our June election. The Nominating Committee is board members Susan Richardson, Marianne Mooney, Nancy Casey and Tom Tribble.

The BRAC board meets 9 times a year and board members are required to sit on a committee and help facilitate the annual plan. More information about chapter activities is available on our BRAC website. If you’re interested in joining the board, please send an email to
GBBC & the NC Bird Atlas
Great Backyard Bird Count

The 24th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will be held Friday, February 12, through Monday, February 15, 2021. The GBBC is a free, fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world. On the program website participants can explore real-time maps and charts that show what others are reporting during and after the count. In 2020, over 268,674 people from 194 countries counted an incredible 27,270,156 birds and identified 6,942 bird species. Incredible! Join the count this year!
The North Carolina Bird Atlas

Start the new year by getting involved in a new state-wide community science project for the birds, the North Carolina Bird Atlas. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and a group of agencies and organizations launched the project January 15 to harness the power of thousands of bird lovers like you. By getting involved as a volunteer observer, you’ll help researchers better understand and protect birds, all while having fun outside and making new friends. Learn more and get involved by visiting
Black History Month
by Susan Richardson
February is Black History Month and, if you are interested in learning more about Asheville’s Black History, schedule a walking tour with Hood Huggers International ( Profits from the Hood Tours are used to support several projects, including bird-friendly initiatives such as the Smith Mill Creek Greenway and solar panels for the Burton Street Community Center.

Another local group in Asheville that embraces nature is Outdoor Afro Asheville which has a presence on Facebook, Meetup and Twitter. Outdoor Afro strives to reconnect African-Americans with natural spaces and hosts several activities, including birding. Their goal is to “help shift the visual representation of who gets outdoors.” Anyone is welcome to join this local group of over 100 members!

For a more “contemporary” history, and if you missed last year’s Black Birder week, you can still view the discussion panels online. Listen to the moving insights from young Black birders about Birding While Black. Hosted by Tykee James, National Audubon Society’s Government Affairs Coordinator, it’s an inside look at the difficulties faced by Black birders and researchers, particularly in the field. You can also catch on Facebook, the BRAC presentation, Flocking Towards Inclusive Birding with Deja Perkins, urban ecologist and science communicator.

Bird Notes
by Rick Pyeritz
Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.
Friday, March 13th, 1993, 7 p.m.: Blowing snow and howling winds-- the start of the storm of the century. Jugs of water filled, extra blankets on the bed but power out already. “Not a fit night out for man nor beast.” (W.C. Fields)

Saturday, 8 a.m.: The dawn greeted me with 3 feet of snow and temperatures in the teens. Activity at the bird feeders drew me to the window, but then I spotted a dark object in the snow. Venturing out into the storm, I found a robin, quite frozen. Walking back to the house, I heard the sweet notes of a Fox sparrow. Later that morning, I reflected on the discordant fates of the two birds, one dead and one with the energy to produce its wonderful song. Follow this link to learn about the amazing adaptations that enable birds to survive the winter’s cold.

Snowy owl in Minnesota by Alan Lenk
Beaver Bits
Text and photos by Jay Wherley
I usually concentrate on the bird species seen at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, but mammals do make an appearance now and again. A Gray Fox and I came face to face on the boardwalk in September 2019. Quite a treat as Gray foxes are elusive and rare to spot in the wild, being mainly nocturnal. Note the black tail tip, which distinguishes it from the Red Fox. I’ve seen White-tailed Deer a few times inside the sanctuary. And of course, Black Bears – especially cubs. I’m attaching a photo of cubs playing in a tree in the sanctuary.
Gray Fox, BLBS, September 2019
White-tailed Deer, BLBS, June 2018
Black Bear cubs, BLBS, September 2015
In the avian arena, six Common Mergansers continue their winter pattern of early morning departure with daily dusk return to Beaver Lake. It is presumed that they spend their day on the French Broad River feeding.

* * * * * *
Notable recent sightings at Beaver Lake include Ring-billed Gull and Great Horned Owl.
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.

Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter
PO Box 18711
Asheville, NC 28814

Raven's Nest Editor: 
Marianne Mooney

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.