The Raven's Nest
May 2019
Upcoming Events
All EMAS Meetings/Walks are Free and Open to All!
It's EMAS Birdathon Time!
Spring birds are arriving daily and that means it’s time for the Elisha Mitchell Birdathon! Our teams have their binoculars at the ready, sandwiches made, and cars gassed up in anticipation of the EMAS Birdathon 2019! It's a marathon day spent birding from before dawn to way past dark to raise money for bird conservation. Our teams are eager to go birding, but this event cannot succeed without you because it is your contributions that make Birdathon a success. We are grateful for your past generosity which has helped us raise over $50,000 for bird conservation! We hope you’ll help us again this year to have a successful event.
Golden-winged Warbler by A. Lenk 

Birdathon 2019 donations will fund a $1,000 scholarship for a UNC-Asheville Environmental Studies student and BirdScape, an American Bird Conservancy program. The goal of BirdScape is to define large, priority landscapes throughout the Americas that support populations of migratory birds of highest conservation concern. Many of our nesting migratory birds, such as Wood Thrush, Golden-winged Warblers and others, have had precipitous drops in their populations. Our donations will go to a BirdScape program in the Central Andes of Colombia, an area that is extremely important for these birds and other species that nest in our mountains. ABC will be working with multiple partners to create a region-wide effort to protect bird habitat. You can read more about it by linking to our Birdathon Donation Form.
We hope you will support our efforts with your generous donation. You can make a contribution by sending in the Birdathon form or by donating online via Paypal at our website . Please be sure and note in the provided space that it’s for the Birdathon and give the team’s name if you are supporting one. 

Our May EMAS program will feature Holly Robertson from ABC who will tell us all about the BirdScape initiative. We invite all to come.

Thank you very much for your generous donation!
EMAS May Program:
Protecting the Wintering Grounds of Migratory Birds
By: Holly Robertson of American Bird Conservancy
Tuesday, May 21st: 7:00 PM
Reuter Center, UNC Asheville Campus
It's no small feat to conserve birds that travel 4,000 miles or more each year across continents and international borders. In fact, it’s one of the most ambitious undertakings of American Bird Conservancy (ABC); ensuring priority species have the habitat they require at all stages of their life-cycles. Migratory birds are particularly vulnerable while on their wintering grounds in Latin America and the Caribbean, where they occupy an area that is approximately one quarter the extent of their total breeding range in the U.S. and Canada. Such a concentration means migrants are at greater risk of threats like habitat loss. With deforestation rates still on the rise in Latin America and the Caribbean, ABC is scaling up conservation efforts, and in 2017, launched the BirdScape initiative. Learn about this new endeavor and how it will benefit entire suites of migratory birds, including those that breed in North Carolina.
Holly Robertson is a Senior Development Officer with American Bird Conservancy and has been working with the organization’s migratory bird program since 2013. She holds a B.S. of Wildlife Ecology from the University of Maine and a Master of Science degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from University of Wisconsin-Madison. The American Bird Conservancy is a non-profit organization whose mission is conserving native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. Their vision is to realize “an Americas-wide landscape where diverse interests collaborate to ensure that native bird species and their habitats are protected, where their protection is valued by society, and where they are routinely considered in all land-use and policy decision-making.”

EMAS programs are free and open to the public.   An optional $5 donation is requested only at our May program to support our Birdathon fundraiser. Thank you!
Photo of Wood Thrush by G. Lavaty
Bird Notes
by Rick Pyeritz

Almost every birder has a favorite bird. One of mine is the Blue-headed Vireo. As one of the first returning migrants to the Southern Appalachians, it’s appearance heralds spring’s awakening. I know that the cold, dreary days of winter will soon be over when the sweet, slow, dulcet notes of its song ring out. Right on time, as usual, it sang from the tulip poplars behind our house on March 15. If, like me, you’re a lover of the Blue-headed Vireo, follow the link to learn more about this special bird. 
Blue-headed Vireo by A. Lenk 
Nominations for the EMAS Board of Directors
The EMAS Nominating Committee is pleased to announce that they will present the following slate for vote by the membership at the June 18 meeting. (If there are any other nominations for the board, they will be accepted from the floor). Nancy Casey is on the slate as EMAS President and Susan Richardson as Secretary. Noah Poulos is a nominee for new At-large member, and Bethany Sheffer is up for re-election as At-large member. Please take the time to get to know our candidates by reading a little about them here . We encourage everyone to come to the June EMAS program meeting where you will get a chance to vote on the slate and to meet the candidates. We all thank these folks for giving their time and talents to serving on the EMAS board.
The Birder's Eye: Warbling Away in the Springtime
by Simon Thompson
Like their namesakes in North America, the Old World Warblers are highly migratory and millions of them make the journey from Africa north into Western Europe each spring, and like birders in the US, European birders look forward to their arrival every spring. But why are warblers called warblers? Well, the name originated in Europe probably in the 1600’s, with the name being used in North America by the end of the 1700’s. 

Many Eurasian warblers have fairly long, complicated songs, with several species being renowned songsters. The Eurasian Blackcap has a classic warbling song. Willow Warblers have a gently undulating song which may be described as “warbling” and Sedge, Marsh and Reed Warblers have chattering, repetitive songs which again, could be described as “warbling”- well, maybe. 

Now we cross the Atlantic. When the English settlers landed in the New World, they gave birds they came across similar names to those from Europe, so we have robins, buzzards, and yes, warblers. While North American warblers are certainly brightly colored and lovely to look at, their songs could never be described as warbles, aside from the somewhat random chattering song of the Canada Warbler. Black-and-white Warblers have a very lisping song; Ovenbirds and Kentucky Warblers sing a strident, if simple, selection of phrases; Cape May Warblers have a somewhat random, high-pitched song that sounds as if they are still practicing, and Blue-wings – well, it’s barely even a song.

For Simon’s full musing on warbling warblers, please read on .

Photo of Blackpoll Warbler by A. Lenk 
Chapter Outreach and Volunteering

Volunteers for Elisha Mitchell Audubon have been active bringing the wonder of birds to over 850 people at 15 public outreach events this spring. One of the most enjoyable annual events for EMAS volunteers is the NC Arboretum’s Mountain Science Expo in late April. Part of the North Carolina Science Festival, this family-friendly event featured hands-on demonstrations, guided programs and exhibits. Participating science-oriented and non-profit organizations offered activities, demonstrations and information, awarding passersby the opportunity to learn about everything from robotics to the amphibian life cycle. EMAS engaged kids and families in trying their skills at identifying their favorite backyard birds. We also shared information about the importance of native plants to birdlife, and sometimes we just listened as folks spoke about their passion for our feathered friends. The event drew nearly 3,000 attendees, and we spread the word about birds to many of them. Big thanks to our EMAS table volunteers Bethany Sheffer, Nancy Casey, Kate Johnson, Nancy Pellegrini and Tom Tribble.

We’d also like to send our thanks to the crew of volunteers who worked so hard on March 30 th at the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary work day. They really helped keep the Sanctuary in shape for birds and birders. Our thanks to Phil Croll, Florrie Funk, Jamie Harrelson, Diane Lombardi, Diane Matheson and Steve Yurkovich.
Beaver Bits
Text and Photos by Jay Wherley
Many times, a posted bird sighting from Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary will include a location with a nickname. Folks may not be familiar with some of those locales by name. Here is a diagram and list of the named spots so you’ll know where to look when this happens. Formal names are in parentheses.

  1. The Gazebo
  2. The Meadow
  3. Filter Pond Overlook
  4. The Island (3 & 4 are The Dr. Ed Hauser Ecofilter Wetland)
  5. South Creek
  6. The People Tree and nearby South Overlook
  7. North Overlook (The Huisking Overlook)
  8. North Creek
  9. The Woods or The Middle
  10. Cattail Marsh
  11. Wooden Bridge
  12. Entrance to Perimeter Trai
  13. Golf Course Pond
* * *
The regular migrants have returned with sights and sounds of Yellow-throated Warbler, Orchard Oriole, and Warbling Vireos present around the sanctuary.

Notable recent sightings at Beaver Lake include Bald Eagle and Prothonotary Warbler.
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