The Raven's Nest
March 2019
Upcoming Events
All EMAS Meetings/Walks are Free and Open to All!
Advocacy Corner:
Flock to Raleigh to Speak Up for Birds on Tuesday, March 26!
by Nancy Casey
Elisha Mitchell Audubon’s advocacy efforts have really taken flight! With a deep commitment for championing birds, we adopted our formal advocacy plan last year and immediately got busy sending out Advocacy Alerts. Take a look at our Advocacy page on the EMAS website .

Audubon North Carolina Lobby Day is Coming!
Now, EMAS is gearing up to flock to Raleigh on Tuesday, March 26 to take part in Audubon North Carolina’s 3rd annual Lobby Day. Together, we’ll meet with our state legislators at the capitol to voice our strong support for birds. You don’t need to be an expert to speak up for birds! Audubon North Carolina will be hosting webinar trainings and providing us with talking points in advance. Please consider joining EMAS and other Audubon chapters around the state for ANC Lobby Day on March 26 in Raleigh! Click here to sign up!
Re-cap: Audubon Advocacy Training
In other news…. EMAS co-hosted a phenomenal weekend advocacy training last month as part of our Audubon in Action grant with High Country Audubon Society (HCAS) in Boone. Led by passionate and knowledgeable National Audubon and Audubon North Carolina staff members, almost 50 attendees met in Morganton, NC to learn effective tools for advocating for birds. EMAS and HCAS members were thrilled to welcome 22 motivated students from UNCA, Appalachian State and Lees-McRae. Together we got energized learning valuable skills we can use to promote clean energy in our state on behalf of birds.
Click here to read more... plus an Advocacy success story!
EMAS March Program:
Conserving Birds on North Carolina's Working Lands
Tuesday, March 19: 7:00 PM
Reuter Center, UNC Asheville Campus
1 University Heights, Asheville, NC 28804
One of Audubon NC’s most important bird conservation programs is “Putting Working Lands to Work for Birds and People.” The program’s mission is to restore habitats for birds across North Carolina through a collaborative approach with forest managers and land owners. By developing partnerships and offering training opportunities, management plans and demonstration sites, Audubon NC provides landowners with the tools to enhance their property in cost-effective ways while supporting struggling populations of priority bird species like the Golden-winged Warbler. Aimee Tomcho, Audubon’s Conservation Biologist, will give an overview of this and other strategies Audubon is employing to “protect birds and the places they need.” Learn where this work is being done and how you can help with what some have called the greatest hope for conservation.
Aimee Tomcho has worked as Audubon North Carolina’s Conservation Biologist since 2013. She has been an ecologist and educator for more than 20 years in positions with the US Forest Service, National Park Service, Virginia Tech, and on military installations in the southeast. She earned her Master of Science at Clemson University, studying Fire Ecology in the Southern Appalachians under Dr. J. Drew Lanham. She currently resides in Burnsville, NC with her two sons Ben and Jayce.

All EMAS programs are free and open to the public.

Golden-winged Warbler by Ed Burress
Bird Notes
by Rick Pyeritz
This month’s Bird Notes features Part 2 of a look at Tim Birkhead’s book on the life of Francis Willughby, arguably the world’s first true ornithologist. As we catch up with our hero, he’s just about to embark on a 20-month scientific tour of Europe. In the 17th Century, that was no easy feat and required a level of mobilization that we can only imagine. Juxtaposed with Rick’s travel preparation for his first birding trip to Arizona, it’s worth gaining an appreciation of 17th Century scientific journeys by reading this month’s Bird Notes. As to the importance of what he accomplished, the classification system developed by Willughby formed the basis of those used by all subsequent generations of biologists. To read on, please click here .
Planting for Birds and Pollinators
Gardeners, grab your shovels! Just in time for spring gardening, Audubon North Carolina is providing a list of almost 700 recommended, bird-friendly native plants to serve as a guide for gardening enthusiasts across the state. Gardeners interested in which plants help birds and pollinators will find the answers here. The list includes shrubs, trees and perennials along with the wildlife benefits of each species, plus information on where the plant will thrive in your garden.

The list includes only plants native to North Carolina that directly benefit birds or other wildlife, especially pollinators. It also includes every North Carolina species that appears in Dr. Larry Mellichamp’s excellent gardening book, Native Plants of the Southeast. Exciting new additions to the list cover plants that are becoming more widely available and popular, such as sedges and goldenrods, as well as three lesser known milkweeds and four ironweed species.

Habitats, from cove forests to old fields, and from bogs to floodplains, are now included to help you group plants according to the ecological communities in which they occur in nature. The list includes plants that vary in availability from widely available at retail nurseries to available only as pass-alongs from gardeners. Check out the list here, , then grab your gardening tools and get planting!

Mockingbird and Winterberry Holly by Will Stuart
Beaver Bits
Text and Photos by Jay Wherley

Coming soon to Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary – new Purple Martin housing! Six gourds, that can serve as homes for Purple Martins, will soon be erected. The new gourds will be provided with predator guards to ward off snakes and owls. Entrance holes will have an excluding shape to keep European Starlings out. Box relocation to the sanctuary itself will allow for regular nest box monitoring.
While these cavity nesting birds have been observed infrequently at Beaver Lake, they have not been seen using any existing gourds. Purple Martins are unique in their reliance on human provided housing in Eastern North America. They arrive in our area in the spring after wintering in South America. Their diet consists of flying insects (though not mosquitoes, which fly low and mostly at night – opposite of martin feeding). Clutch size is typically 3-6 eggs. Keep your eyes and ears open for any signs of this species and stay tuned for more news on their use of the new homes.

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Notable recent sightings at Beaver Lake include Gadwall and Canvasback ducks.

  • Purple Martin, female, with nest material
  • Purple Martin hatchlings in nest
About The Raven's Nest
Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society
PO Box 18711 Asheville, NC 28814

EMAS is a chapter of the National Audubon Society, serving Buncombe, Henderson, and surrounding counties in western North Carolina.

Content Editor: 
Marianne Mooney

Technical Editor: 
Nick Dugan

Our mis sion is to promote an awareness and appreciation of nature, to preserve and protect wildlife and natural ecosystems, and to encourage responsible environmental stewardship.

Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
For the latest information and schedule changes,
check the EMAS Website or Facebook page