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.

December 17, 9 a.m.

January 7, 9 a.m.

January 14, 9 a.m.

January 21, 9 a.m.


Blue Ridge Audubon Programs
will resume in March.

Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, February 7 at 6:30 p.m.
Open to everyone. Contact us to attend

Happy Holidays!
photo by Will Stuart
President's Message
Dear friend,

The days are getting ever shorter, and the hermit thrushes and juncos have reappeared in my backyard, sure signs that the end of 2022 approaches. For the Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter, 2022 has been a busy year and we have been able to achieve a lot for birds. Most notably, we recorded a great conservation success with our Lights Out Asheville Initiative. Since Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer signed a Proclamation in January supporting Bird Migration Awareness Months, we have devoted over 2000 volunteer hours to promote Lights Out! awareness with local businesses and expand the reach of bird-friendly lighting practices. We also raised over $17,000 during our annual Birdathon. All donations went to protect and restore local Golden-winged Warbler breeding habitat in partnership with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. Additionally, we funded our annual scholarship to help a UNCAsheville student pursue a degree in Environmental Studies, and we allocated funding for a Motus tower installation in our area.

At our Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, 2022 saw lots of investments and improvements. Major projects included repaving the parking lot; repairs to the boardwalk; installation and repairs to the split rail fencing; improvements to the entrance kiosk and lake overlooks to improve their access for birders with disabilities; further improvements in invasive plant control and restoration of native plants in the sanctuary; and dredging and repairs of the Ecofilter Pond. All in all, our Beaver Lake expenses totaled over $25,000 in 2022!

While we don’t anticipate this level of expenses in 2023, frankly, we hadn’t budgeted for this amount in 2022 either. The Ecofilter Pond repair was necessary after a thunderstorm blew out the plug in the pond’s dam, and the overlook and boardwalk repairs were much more than anticipated after discovering some unsafe conditions as well as a vandalism episode.

But this turned out not to be a big problem because our membership has been very generous with donations in recent years. As a result, we had the financial flexibility to make these unforeseen repairs while continuing to be able to fund the bird conservation priorities that continue to make a difference for the birds. 

I thank you for your continuing generosity to Blue Ridge Audubon — your contributions DO make a difference! I hope you agree with me that we have been good stewards of your money this year, and I pledge to continue to do so in the future. In this season of giving, please consider a holiday gift to the birds that we love. You can send a check or pay online. Check our donation page for details. We at Blue Ridge Audubon thank you and wish you a festive holiday season with bright prospects for 2023!

Best regards,

John Koon
President, Blue Ridge Audubon

Dark-eyed Junco by Alan Lenk
Wild Bird Research Group
Did you know that critical migratory bird research is happening right here in Asheville? The Wild Bird Research Group (WBRG), a non-profit organization, has been running a bird banding station at the North Carolina Arboretum for four years. Top-notch avian technicians and volunteers monitor migrating warblers, flycatchers, and other passerines that move through our richly biodiverse region.
Over the course of the season, WBRG operated 20 mist nets and banded 90 birds. The most commonly encountered species were Louisiana Waterthrush, Worm-eating Warbler, and Northern Parula. Highlights included a late-June White-eyed Vireo, a surprising bird because of the timing (June is a little early for post-breeding dispersal) and because of the location (the forested habitat immediately surrounding the station is not the preferred habitat of the White-eyed Vireo). The bird most likely ventured from a neighboring open field. Also of interest were two recaptured Louisiana Waterthrushes that were originally banded at the station in 2020.
This season’s banding crew was composed of many volunteers, including Clayton Gibb, who's on the Blue Ridge Audubon Board of Directors and a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA). Other volunteers included master bander and UNCA ecology professor, Dr. Andrew Laughlin, and Kristin Anderson, past president of UNCA Audubon and Arboretum employee.
Established in 2011, WBRG’s mission is to conduct science, build knowledge, and foster appreciation for the conservation of wild birds throughout the Americas. They operate banding stations and research projects in New Jersey and North Carolina, and previously in Costa Rica. Find out more about the Wild Bird Research Group by visiting their website or following them on Instagram. We’ll be hearing more about WRBG in the future as we explore collaboration opportunities, including helping to establish a Motus station in the southern Appalachians. 
Adapted from the WBRG newsletter, with permission
Photos courtesy of WBRG
Treasured Tree Honored at BLBS
Blue Ridge Audubon thanks board member Jay Wherley for submitting a Treasured Tree application to honor the majestic People Tree at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. The tree is one of the largest and most impressive specimens in the Sanctuary and we are grateful to Jay for garnering recognition for this wonderful tree.

Please see Jay's article below to learn more about "The People Tree".

Jay Wherley and Alison Ormsby at The People Tree
Beaver Bits
Text and Photos by Jay Wherley
On December 2nd members of Blue Ridge Audubon and the Asheville GreenWorks
Treasured Trees Committee met at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary to honor the box elder
known as “The People Tree”. The box elder is a native maple species with soft wood and branches that may break off over time. This can provide opportunities for cavity nesting birds such as woodpeckers and nuthatches – both of which were exploring the tree during the ceremony. This tree is also a host plant for several species of moths and butterflies and its seeds persist into the winter as a late season food source.
“The People Tree” draws in painters, writers, climbing children, birders and birds – and as shown in the attached photo, even a Hoary Bat. Look for the new plaque indicating Treasured Tree status on this tree located on the outside of the boardwalk near the southern overlook (which is newly updated with accessibility viewing framework).

Notable recent sightings at Beaver Lake include Merlin and Purple Finch.

Hoary Bat on The People Tree, Beaver Lake, April 2018
The People Tree plaque, Beaver Lake, December 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
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.