Upcoming Events
Birding Events

Join us for one of
Blue Ridge Audubon's Saturday field trips. Free and open to all.

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

June 18, 8 a.m.

July 2, 8 a.m.

July 9, 8 a.m.

July 16, 8 a.m.

June Program
Tuesday, June 21 at 7 p.m.
Cherie Pittillo
Pink Birds:
Spoonbills vs Flamingos

Join us in person at the
Reuter Center, UNCAsheville
or watch on our Facebook page

Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary Native Plant Tour
Saturday, June 25, 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,

Whew! It’s been a busy spring. After getting our Lights Out Asheville initiative passed by the Asheville City Council earlier this year, we have been following up with intense engagement with city administrators and local businesses to enlist their support in turning building lights off at night to help with the recent spring migration and in anticipation of fall migration. 
Also, the Birdathon has been in full swing, raising money to support Golden-Winged Warbler breeding habitat on lands acquired by the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. My team and I had a great time searching for birds, and we’ve been busy seeking donations to support us. It’s not too late to contribute to this worthy cause! Donate on online here.
Finally, several members have just wrapped up participation in Audubon North Carolina Advocacy Day, a valuable opportunity in which Audubon members get to interact directly with our elected representatives in Raleigh to press the case for supporting bills that are beneficial to birds and the places they live. One of the bills that we supported this year was Senate Bill 628, a bipartisan bill introduced that will ensure that native plants are used to landscape state-owned property. Why is this important to birds? It’s pretty interesting why. Planting a native oak tree on the grounds of a state office building lot will require less fertilizer and care, but the real win is that the oak tree canopy can support over 500 species of caterpillars, whereas a gingko tree introduced from Asia is a host tree for only 5 local caterpillar species. That makes a huge difference to breeding birds when a brood of chickadees will consume an average of 6,000 caterpillars before they fledge! Thanks to all the volunteers who helped out in Advocacy this spring, whether it be from participating in Advocacy Day, or even just responding with an email to an Audubon Advocacy Alert. Every response does make a difference.
We have one more program meeting before the summer eases our schedule. On June 21st, we will have an excellent presentation on Roseate Spoonbills and Flamingos by Cherie Pittillo, and it is also our annual membership meeting where we will elect officers and members of the Board of Directors to new terms. Come on out and meet our new board members and connect with our wonderful chapter members. Hope to see you there!

John Koon
President, Blue Ridge Audubon

Golden-winged warbler by Alan Lenk
Pink Birds:
Spoonbills vs Flamingos
Cherrie Pittillo
Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter Program
Tuesday, June 21, 7 p.m.
Reuter Center, UNCAsheville
or watch on our Facebook page
People have always been enchanted with pink birds, and in the Americas, no bird species are pinker than the Roseate Spoonbill and the American Flamingo. Besides their amazing color and large size, both species share a number of interesting attributes like their fascinating feeding habits. They also serve as indicators of healthy ecosystems. We invite you to learn more about these charismatic species at a special program with Cherie Pittillo who will describe their behaviors, their life history and illustrate her talk with her own photos. 
Living in both Florida and the Yucatán, Cherie has had the opportunity to photograph uncommon close-ups of both birds. She has banded flamingos in the Yucatan and discussed their behaviors and historical data with experts. An author and award-winning photographer, Cherie’s photographic publications range from BBC books to biology textbooks. Since 2011, she has written a monthly column, “Backyard Birding in Merida, Yucatan and Beyond,” for The Yucatan Times. She’s an avid traveling birder with a master’s degree in biology and is a former Blue Ridge Audubon board member.

Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter programs are free and open to the public. 

American flamingo by Cherrie Pittillo
Blue Ridge Audubon Birdathon Results
The Blue Ridge Audubon Birdathon teams have battled, or rather, birded it out, and we have a winning team! The teams all gave it their best, spending one day trying to see or hear as many bird species as possible. Having a plan, stamina, and in-depth knowledge of birds and bird songs is essential. And some rare birds dropping in on the chosen day helps too, like the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that popped up at Mills River park. It's all great fun and for the worthy conservation cause of helping create and maintain nesting habitat here in the mountains for Golden-winged Warblers.

The teams have done their part and now it’s up to you. We are most grateful and so appreciate your support in making the Birdathon a success. Please follow this link to the Blue Ridge Audubon Birdathon page where you can learn more about where the donations are going, and make a contribution either online or by sending a check to P.O. Box 18711, Asheville, NC 28814. Please note online or on your check that it's for the Birdathon. Thank you so much!
And now, in a major upset, the winning team is the Not-So-Common Loons with 125 species! The Beaver Lake Bluebirds came in second with 120 species, and the Peregrines were close behind with 106 species. Our congratulations to team Loons! You can read their big day report here

Scissor-tailed flycatcher by Alan Lenk

Not-So-Common Loons,
l. to r. Casey Girard, Jay Wherley, John Koon
In Remembrance of Janie Owens
The Blue Ridge Audubon community is saddened by the sudden passing of our dear friend, Janie Owens. Janie was a wonderfully warm and inviting person, an outstanding birder, and a longtime supporter of our chapter. She rarely missed a program meeting. For years she was a key member of the Golden-wings Birdathon team, proudly known as "the best darn all-woman Birdathon team in Western North Carolina." Her team often won the friendly competition. Janie had encyclopedic knowledge of every bird, flower, butterfly, dragonfly and damselfly out there -- It was always a joy to spend a day with her. Several friends have contributed remembrances which can be read here. All of us at Blue Ridge Audubon offer our heartfelt condolences to her husband, Larry, and the entire Owens family.
Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter News
2022/23 Blue Ridge Audubon Board Slate of Candidates

At our May board meeting, the Blue Ridge Audubon Board of Directors approved a slate of candidates that was presented by the Nominating Committee. Current board members nominated as At-Large Members are Danielle DiBella-Lenaway, Tom Tribble, and Jay Wherley. Nominees for officers are Marianne Mooney, vice-president, and Linda Walker, treasurer. We are also pleased to nominate two new At-Large board members: Casey Girard and Clayton Gibb.

Come on out to meet our candidates and to vote in person at our June 21 program meeting! We thank all our candidates for giving their time and talents to serving on the Blue Ridge Audubon board.
Homeschool Children Enjoy Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary
Susan Richardson

On May 9, a group of twelve homeschool children and several of their parents enjoyed a bird outing around our Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. Led by three volunteers, the kids warmed up by flapping their wings, shaking their feathers and bobbing their tails. They enjoyed interacting with the various bird nests that our chapter has collected over the years and examining feathers. As we traveled around the boardwalk, the children spotted several birds including a red-bellied woodpecker, eastern bluebirds, Canada Geese and several swallows. We discussed the importance of native plants and trees, various types of bird habitats, conservation, bird calls and songs, and the history of the sanctuary. It is always a joy to share our love of birds with curious and enthusiastic young children and their parents! It was also a delight to see other school groups exploring the sanctuary that morning. 
New! Plants for Birds Tours
Blue Ridge Audubon is pleased to announce its new Plants for Birds tours, to be conducted on the 4th Saturdays of each month at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. These walks will focus on the native plants, trees, and shrubs that sustain the birds who visit our sanctuary. Naturalist Randy Richardson will highlight blooming wildflowers and notable trees and shrubs, sharing anecdotes about each along with their role in supporting our avian visitors.
Randy is a graduate of the N.C. Arboretum's Blue Ridge Naturalist certificate program. Upon retiring from a career in engineering and manufacturing he returned to his childhood fascination with the natural world. A member of the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary Committee, Randy recently completed a survey of plants found at the sanctuary and identified over 140 native perennials there, as well as many dozens of species of trees and shrubs. He leads forest walks at the N.C. Arboretum as well as for other local organizations.

Wild Geranium by Randy Richardson
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.