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.

October 8, 8 a.m.

October 15, 9 a.m.

November 5, 9 a.m.

November 12, 9 a.m.


Blue Ridge Audubon Program
Snowy Owls with Denver Holt
Tuesday, October 11, 7 p.m.

Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary Native Plants for Birds tours will resume in March.

Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, November 1 at 6:30 p.m.
Open to everyone. Contact us to attend
President's Message
Dear friend,

It’s been a great fall migration so far. Even when casually encountered, the transient migrants have been a delight to me as my white oak tree has been filled with warblers and vireos picking off worms to fuel their journey further southward. 

Just where are these birds headed? In some cases, we are still figuring that out. Only in the last 30-40 years have biologists figured out where Connecticut Warblers and Bicknell’s Thrushes go to winter. But data collection in ornithology is really exploding with modern technology and the ability to put nanotransmitters on even small songbirds so that scientists can follow their movements precisely. One such technology to track these birds is Motus Wildlife Tracking System, which is essentially a network of towers than can interrogate the nanotransmitters these birds are carrying as they fly nearby, giving us a real-time location and individual identification of that bird. No longer do scientists have to hope that the band they placed on the leg of a Bank Swallow in New England will be spotted and recorded in their wintering ground in Amazonian Columbia or any points in between to figure out their migration path!

Blue Ridge Audubon is funding the installation of one of these Motus towers in Western North Carolina next year. We hope that this network expansion will help enhance the migration data not only of the migrating birds passing overhead but also of our migratory species that call the Blue Ridge Mountains their summer home. Cerulean Warblers and Golden-Winged Warblers are some of the most threatened songbirds because their winter and migratory habitats are just as threatened as their summer mountain homes. We hope that a greater understanding of their migration patterns will help us construct a more comprehensive recovery and preservation plan for them.

We can join these efforts thanks to the generosity of you, our members. I thank you for your continuing support of Blue Ridge Audubon, protecting birds and the places they need to thrive.

Best regards,

John Koon
President, Blue Ridge Audubon

Cerulean warbler
Breeding Ecology of the Snowy Owl
with Denver Holt
Tuesday, October 11, 7 p.m.
Reuter Center, UNCAsheville
Join Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter for a very special program on the charismatic Snowy Owl by one of the species’ foremost experts. Denver Holt, founder and president of the Owl Research Institute, has been a leader in owl research, education, and conservation for over 30 years. Since 1992, he has been studying the breeding ecology of Snowy Owls at Utqiaġvik, Alaska, the northernmost town in the United States and one of the Snowy Owl’s top breeding grounds.
Holt’s Alaskan Arctic research on the Snowy Owl has been featured in the National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine and the New York Times. In 2018 Holt received the prestigious Chandler S. Robbins Award from the American Birding Association. Holt speaks around the world and enjoys guiding nature tours and continuing to learn new things about wildlife and the natural world.

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

Snowy Owl by Alan Lenk
Denver Holt by Melissa Groo
Lights Out! Asheville
by Paulina Jones
This month has been off to a busy start for the Lights Out! Asheville team. The program was covered by the Laurel of Asheville and Rapid River Magazine. 103.3 Asheville FM broadcasted an interview that I did with one of the radio station’s environmental reporters. Also, keep your eyes out for a video feature on Spectrum News 1 in the coming weeks.

Our community outreach activities continue to grow, we’ll be at the Collider on October 20th at 10 a.m. Danielle and Andrea are also working on coordinating a Lights Out themed mural to be installed in the South Slope business district! Do you have ideas about other community outreach opportunities? We’d love to hear about them! Email your ideas to
For those new to the Lights Out! Asheville program, visit to learn about the program, why it is important, and how you can participate.
Here is a short list of actions you can take to make your home, business, and community more bird friendly during the fall and spring migration periods:
  • Extinguish all non-essential outdoor lighting from 11pm-6am during the spring and fall
  • Use down shields and warm temperature LED bulbs in essential outdoor lights
  • Where possible, utilize motion sensors on outdoor light fixtures
  • Close blinds/curtains/shades and use task lighting indoors at night
  • Ask the City to install downshields on your neighborhood streetlights (Contact: Joel Tweed, Traffic Engineering Division, 828-259-5873,
  • Consider requesting that unnecessary streetlights be removed in your neighborhood: requesting the removal of a streetlight

The success of this program relies on community participation! Add your name to our growing list of program participants by signing the pledge form on our website. Together, let’s make Asheville an exemplar community leading the way towards a bird-friendly urban environment.
Open Space Bond
A $30 million Buncombe County Open Space bond is on the ballot in the upcoming election. The bond funds will be used to protect mountains, meadows, productive farmlands, and clean water in streams and rivers. County leaders have set a target of protecting 6,000 additional acres by 2030, mainly through conservation easements which the bond will help fund. Once achieved, fully 20% of the land in Buncombe County will be preserved for future generations. This bond will also support development of recreational trails and greenways across the community as well as provide for the development of natural hiking trails and other open space for passive recreation that is environmentally beneficial. Read more about the bond here. The Blue Ridge Audubon Board believes that this bond will be good for people and for birds!
Bears Bees + Brews Festival
Saturday, October 8, noon to 5 p.m.

Bears Bees + Brews Festival is a free, family-friendly event to highlight support for wildlife and wilderness. Show your love for wild creatures large and small, from bears to bees, and birds too. Enjoy family-friendly fun, learn from experts of local wildlife and conservation organizations, enjoy sweet and savory bites, and tasty brews. There will be a live mural painting, games, art, raffles, a photo booth and more! Be sure and participate in the Best-Dressed Wildlife Creature Contest. The Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter will have a table so come dressed as a bird!
Future Plans for Max Patch
The Appalachian Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest will host two events regarding plans for the Max Patch area, a famed Golden-winged Warbler nesting area. The first event will be an open house at Spring Creek Community Center from 5:30-7:30 pm on Wednesday, October 12. The second event will be a virtual presentation from 7:00-8:30 pm on Tuesday, October 18. These events will cover visitor use management and ecological restoration at Max Patch, and proposals regarding construction of a bathroom and new parking at Max Patch. An extension of the current Forest Service Closure Order at Max Patch will also be discussed.

For more information about Max Patch, please visit: To attend the October 18 virtual event, here’s the presentation link.

Golden-winged Warbler by Alan Lenk
Beaver Bits
Text and Photos by Jay Wherley
Can you think of a bird species that’s not seen all year at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary until the month of October? Sometimes asymmetric migration routes and timing bring us a species in the fall we do not get in the spring. Both of the following species are challenging to find and i.d.

One species seen here only in September and October is the Philadelphia Vireo. This small vireo has unmarked wings and pale-yellow underparts. It’s smaller than the Red-eyed Vireo but looks very similar to the Warbling Vireo.
The other possibility, though rarer, is the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. This Empidonax species could have been more accurately named Yellow-throated Flycatcher since other similar species can show yellow washed bellies (e.g. Acadian Flycatcher) but the yellow-washed chin and throat area are a good field mark for this bird.
Notable recent sightings at Beaver Lake include Nashville Warbler and Mourning Warbler.

Philadelphia Vireo, Beaver Lake, October 2016
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Beaver Lake, September 2018
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.