The
Raven's
Nest
May
2022
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.

May 14, 8 a.m.

May 21, 8 a.m.

June 4, 8 a.m.

June 11, 8 a.m.

Programs/Events

May Program
Tuesday, May 17 at 7 p.m.
Curtis Smalling
Chasing Golden-Winged Warblers
Join us in person at the
Reuter Center, UNCAsheville
or watch on our Facebook page

Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary Native Plant Tour
Saturday, May 28, 1-3 p.m.

June Program
Tuesday, June 21 at 7 p.m.
Cherie Pittillo
Pink Birds: Spoonbills vs Flamingos
Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, June 7 at 6:30 p.m.
Open to everyone. Contact us to attend
President's Message
Dear friend,

Fellow Bird fans, it’s springtime! Our woods are once again filling with spring migrants and summer residents as they join our year-round avian denizens. For birders its perhaps the most exciting time of year. And for Blue Ridge Audubon, our Birdathon, a much-anticipated annual fundraiser is underway! Birders are planning their epic day of birding, competing both to identify the most species of birds in a 24-hour period and to raise the most money for bird habitat conservation.

After several years of raising funds to support critical winter habitat for migratory species in Central and South America, we’re focusing locally this year. Donations will go to the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) to help them restore and maintain breeding habitat for the imperiled Golden-winged Warbler. These striking birds are in steep decline and the early successional habitats they need to nest are increasingly rare in the Southern Appalachians. SAHC has been instrumental in conserving key mountain habitats in western North Carolina as well as maintaining appropriate nesting habitats for Golden-winged warblers. We are thrilled to support their efforts.

I urge everyone to consider a contribution to this worthy cause this spring. If you choose to, you can donate online here, and can write your favorite team’s name in the remarks box. To mail in a donation or to learn more about this year’s Birdathon, here’s our downloadable form.

We believe so much in helping the Golden-winged Warbler that our Blue Ridge Audubon Board voted to match up to $10,000 of Birdathon contributions with equal funding from our endowment. Your contributions this year will have twice the impact on bird habitat!

We welcome everyone to attend our special Birdathon program on Tuesday, May 17. We’ll have a raffle with donations of day trips from Ventures Birding Tours and backyard birding gifts from Wild Birds Unlimited! North Carolina Audubon’s Curtis Smalling will give a talk on challenges facing the Golden-winged Warbler. If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing Curtis before, he is a dynamic and engaging speaker and passionate conservationist. Details are listed in this newsletter—I hope to see you there.

Thanks as always for your support of birds.

John Koon
President, Blue Ridge Audubon

Black-throated Blue warbler by Alan Lenk
Chasing Golden-winged Warblers: 
An Update on Conservation and Science
for an Imperiled Species 
Curtis Smalling
Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter Program
Tuesday, May 17, 7 p.m.
Reuter Center, UNCAsheville
or watch on our Facebook page
We invite you to join Blue Ridge Audubon for our special May Birdathon program. We are thrilled that Curtis Smalling will be speaking about his work on Golden-winged Warbler conservation. Golden-winged Warblers are a bird of high conservation priority across their range, which includes the Southern Appalachians. They have the smallest population of any bird not on the endangered species list. Curtis will share what has been learned by scientists in the past two decades both here and on the wintering grounds of the Golden-winged Warbler. This research is helping guide conservation efforts on both public and private lands. Advances in technology have allowed scientists to learn so much more about the migration routes, wintering sites and just amazing details of the daily lives of these charismatic warblers. Curtis will discuss how these pieces fit together to help this beautiful bird.
Curtis Smalling is Director of Conservation for Audubon North Carolina where his work includes overseeing the Working Lands, Coastal Sanctuaries, and Bird Friendly Communities programs. Curtis is also an integral member of bird conservation working groups which include the International Wood Thrush Conservation Alliance, the International Golden-winged Warbler working group and the Cerulean Warbler Technical working group. He is a contributing author and editor of several books and an avid, longtime birder.

Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter programs are free and open to the public. We do hope you will choose to make a donation of at least $5 to our Birdathon at the May program and be entered in our raffle!

Golden-winged Warbler by Alan Lenk
Everyone Can Birdathon!
We’re inviting everyone to participate once again in our Everyone Can Birdathon! Just pick a day in early May, and go as near or far as you like. Head out with your friends and family, find some birds, and share your results online here. You can post photos of your Birdathon memories to Facebook/Instagram and tag Blue Ridge Audubon @blueridgeaudubon.

Getting pledges to support your Big Day is a great way to fundraise. It’s easy for your friends and family to make a donation at our website. Donors can specify that it’s for the Birdathon and name the team/birder that they’re supporting. You can also share a link to our Birdathon donation form where donors can learn more about Golden-winged Warblers and how we are supporting their conservation. Please consider making an online donation or visit our website. You can also print out the donation form and mail a check to: Blue Ridge Audubon Birdathon, PO Box 18711, Asheville, NC 28814.

Now get out there and have some fun birding!
Congratulations, Sarah!
We are thrilled to report that Sarah Branagan, President of UNCAsheville Audubon, received the Outstanding Campus Leader Award at the Audubon North Carolina Summit in Charlotte on April 23! Sarah was presented with this award for campus and community leadership. 
 
Sarah is a remarkable and committed person. For the last two years, she has not only served as president of the UNC Asheville student chapter, but also on the Blue Ridge Audubon Board of Directors. During that time, she has distinguished herself as a leader and innovator. For her senior project, Sarah created lesson plans for local elementary school teachers who can bring their classes to Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary and have a ready-made program that follows state standard of learning guidelines. Our board is thrilled with this accomplishment.

Sarah was a founding member of the Coalition for a Bird-Friendly Asheville whose mission is to advocate for the protection of birds through making windows bird-safe and requesting a 'lights out' commitment from the public during migration months. Sarah, Paulina Jones, UNCA vice-president, and Daniella DiBella-Lenaway, Blue Ridge Audubon board member, collaborated to promote a city-wide Lights Out Initiative here in Asheville. Their efforts were rewarded in February when Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer proclaimed March through May, and September through November as “Bird Migration Awareness Months” (photo of proclamation).

Sarah will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Environmental Management and Policy. An outstanding student, Sarah was selected as a UNCA Community Engaged Scholar. Sarah will continue her education at UNC Wilmington, where she will seek a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Science in Environmental Science.

We congratulate Sarah on this well-deserved award and wish her the best as she moves forward in life!
Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter News
The Blue Ridge Audubon Nominating Committee is pleased to announce that they will present the following slate for vote by the membership at the June 21 meeting. Linda Walker is on the slate for re-election as Treasurer and Marianne Mooney for Vice-president. Returning At-large board members are Danielle DiBella-Lenaway, Tom Tribble and Jay Wherley. We have two new At-large board members to present to our membership, Clayton Gibb and Casey Girard. Please take the time to get to know our new candidates by reading their bios here. Then come to the June Blue Ridge Audubon program meeting where you will get a chance to meet them and vote on the slate. The board thanks all our candidates for their willingness to serve on the board.
Sign up for Advocacy Day!
Do you care about birds? Do you believe native plants help birds and make our communities healthier? Are you passionate about protecting land for people and birds? Join Blue Ridge Audubon for Advocacy Day on June 8th! We’ll meet online with state lawmakers in the NC General Assembly and advocate for two important bills that need our help to get across the finish line. All advocates are welcome, regardless of experience level. Registration is open for just three weeks—sign up today
Devil's Courthouse Volunteer Opportunity
The Blue Ridge Parkway's Volunteers in Parks (VIP) program is recruiting for a new rovers program at Devil's Courthouse at milepost 422. Volunteers will engage visitors, answer questions, and share information about critically imperiled resources at the site, including sensitive plants and peregrine falcons. Members of the rover team will have a direct impact on preserving park resources and serving visitors at one of the Parkway’s most iconic locations. Volunteers are asked to commit to a weekly, 3 hour shift, either 10 am-1pm or 1pm-4 pm, from April 1 - July 3. Click here for more information.
Beaver Bits
Text and photos by Jay Wherley
It has been exciting lately to see more birders getting out to Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. We are working on upgrades to make the sanctuary even more birdable for all of our visitors. Soon there will be a lower height kiosk and lower viewing sections at various places around the boardwalk.
Our goal aligns with this vision from the advocacy group Birdability:

“Birding truly is for everybody and every body, regardless of disability or other health concerns”.

If there is something that prevents you from being able to observe birds in the sanctuary, please let us know.

* * *
Notable recent sightings at Beaver Lake include Kentucky Warbler and Ring-billed Gull.
Images:
American Redstart, Beaver Lake, April 2022
Green Heron, Beaver Lake, April 2022
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
mooney.marianne@gmail.com
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.