Upcoming Events
Bird Walks

Blue Ridge Audubon Bird Walks are free but you must sign up on Eventbrite to attend using the links below. There is a limit of 12 people. Sign ups begin the Sunday before the walk. Please cancel your reservation if you can't make it.
Masks are required.

Many thanks to the guides at Ventures Birding
who are leading our walks.

May 8, 8 am Jackson Park

May 15, 8 am Owen Park

June 5, 8 am Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary

BRAC Programs

Swallow-Tailed Kites
with Maria Whitehead, PhD
Senior Program Manager SE
Open Space Institute
Tuesday, May 18 at 7 p.m.

Land Conservation
with Jay Leutze
Tuesday, June 15 at 7 p.m.

BRAC Board Meeting
Tuesday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m.
Board of Director meetings are open.
Email us if you'd like to attend on Zoom:

Beaver Lake Alert!
Work to dredge the ecofilter wetland at the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary will begin on Monday, May 3. The gravel parking lot will be closed to allow large dump trucks to carry out sediment. The Sanctuary will be open but parking will be very limited.
Blue Ridge Audubon News
Dear friend,

We’re so happy that this year Blue Ridge Audubon will again have a Birdathon! Our Birdathon teams will be ready to go in May on a one day race to out-bird each other. More good news is that we’re also keeping the Everyone Can Birdathon component. There was so much enthusiastic participation from friends, families, and birders last year that we wanted to keep the spirit alive of everyone birding “together”. Mark your calendars for Everyone Can Birdathon on the weekend of May 14-16. Everyone can participate, anywhere, anytime and do your own "Big Day". Keep track of all the bird species you see or hear all day long and fill out this form. We hope you’ll join in the fun.  
Even if you don’t go birding, there is another important way that you can contribute to the cause: by making a donation. Our Birdathon serves as a fundraiser that supports an American Bird Conservancy project in Colombia benefiting neo-tropical migrants that nest here in Western North Carolina. We also fund a scholarship for a UNCAsheville environmental studies student. You can learn more about the American Bird Conservancy project and get a mail-in donation form here. You can also contribute online by using the donate link at the bottom of the first page on our website. Please remember to select Birdathon from the drop down menu at PayPal. Your generous donation will help us reach our goals.

Our May program is the traditional Birdathon fundraiser event. We will be hosting it on our Facebook page and hope you’ll join us for a fascinating talk by Dr. Maria Whitehead on the charismatic Swallow-tailed Kite!

Thank you to all who participate and donate!
Blue Ridge Audubon May Program
Tuesday, May 18 at 7 p.m.
Swallow-tailed Kites:
Finding a Safe Place to Land
Dr. Maria Whitehead
Click on Blue Ridge Audubon's Facebook page to watch!
You don't need a Facebook account to view the program. If you have trouble accessing the live video, try refreshing the BRAC Facebook page shortly after 7 pm. If you have "liked" our page and you're on a desktop computer, you can click Watch on the Facebook home page and then on Live to find our live feed. On a smartphone, click Live Videos. Can't watch it live? The recording will be available on Facebook to watch anytime.
Join us for an exploration into the journey of the Swallow-tailed Kite. Dr. Maria Whitehead will explore the conservation efforts surrounding a beloved migratory bird of the Southeast, the Swallow-tailed Kite. Kites are considered one of the most threatened birds in the Southeastern US without federal protection. Kites face numerous challenges related to habitat loss, social dynamics of the species, and climate change. Dr. Whiteheads talk will focus on how research, habitat protection, conservation planning and stewardship have worked together to better understand the enigmatic species and to ensure this amazing bird has a safe place to land.
Maria Whitehead is Senior Program Manager at the Open Space Institute, where she works across the eastern United States on varied conservation projects and initiatives including interpreting climate science for land-protection professionals and communities impacted by climate change. During her professional career, she has held positions as an ornithologist, professor, and conservation professional. Dr. Whitehead has worked for 15 years in the direct conservation of land and water and the interdisciplinary realm of avian conservation, climate adaptation and community resilience.  She has taught courses in Ornithology, Conservation Biology, and Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation at Furman, The Citadel and the College of Charleston.  She continues to serve as an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston guiding graduate student research in avian studies.  

Top photo: Swallow-tailed Kite
Bottom photo: Maria Whitehead
Chapter Election:
We need your vote!
At our April meeting, the Blue Ridge Audubon Board of Directors approved a slate of candidates presented by the Nominating Committee. The membership is asked to vote on the proposed candidates for the Board of Directors using the link shown below. We encourage all BRAC members to cast their vote. The 2021/2022 BRAC board slate is: Nancy Casey, President, and Kelley Coleman, Secretary. Current board members nominated as At-Large Members are Kristin Anderson and Susan Richardson. We are very pleased to nominate four new At-Large board members: John Koon, Yuhan (Douglas) Rao, Bonnie Snyder, and Leslie Stewart. There will also be a vote on a proposed change to the chapter by-laws, adding an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee to the BRAC standing committees.

Please vote by June 15th by clicking this link. Get to know our new board candidates by reading about them here. We all thank our candidates for giving their time and talents to serving on the Blue Ridge Audubon board. When we can meet again in person, we look forward to introducing our new At-large directors to our chapter.
Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month
by Susan Richardson
May is a month to enjoy all that springtime has to offer such as blooming wildflowers and spotting migrating birds in our communities. May is also Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month. The National Audubon Society published an article last year outlining the ways that AAPI Heritage month intersects with birds (How Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month and Birds Intersect | Audubon). The article gives examples of birds in literature, art and music. For example, in East Asian countries, the crane represents luck and longevity. By folding 1,000 paper cranes, according to Japanese legend, one is granted a wish and good health. So, collect some paper and start folding those cranes!

I also learned from the article that falconry, or the sport of hunting with birds of prey, has been popular across Asia for thousands of years. The birthplace of this art can be traced to Mongolia around 3,000 years ago however Iran and the Persian Empire have also been credited.

If you are interested in dance, the Cendrawasih dance was first performed in the 1920s and inspired by birds of paradise, or burung cendrawasih in Indonesian and as manuk dewata ("the bird of the gods") in Balinese. This dance is performed by two women and features the birds' mating rituals. The dancers wear feather headdresses and flowing scarves similar to the colors of the birds of paradise's wings. You are welcome to follow the choreography using the following YouTube video as your guide: BALI'S CULTURAL SERIES | CENDRAWASIH DANCE - YouTube

It is inspiring to see how other cultures embrace their appreciation of birds. I hope you all can celebrate your love of birds this month by watching our birds build their nests and raise their young and, at the same time, have a renewed appreciation that birds touch the lives of all nations and cultures around the globe!

Mourning Doves by Randy Richardson
Migratory Bird Act Revision
From the Birding Community E-Bulletin
In early March, the Interior Department formally rescinded a contentious Trump Administration legal opinion that concluded that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) covered only the intentional killing or injuring of birds. The department said in a more recent statement that the previous opinion had "overturned decades of bipartisan and international consensus and allowed industry to kill birds with impunity." Environmental groups and eight states had actually sued to challenge the Trump Administration move.
"The Biden administration is doing the right thing by refusing to defend the prior administration's illegal and ecologically disastrous interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, one of the nation's bedrock conservation laws," said Eric Glitzenstein, director of litigation at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Millions of birds were at risk of unnecessary death from a Trump-era rule, but the Biden administration has made a better choice," said Renee Stone, senior vice president for conservation programs and general counsel at Defenders of Wildlife. The Department of the Interior is now launching the potentially lengthy process of rewriting the rule.

For a statement on the significance of this action, see the American Bird Conservancy:
The monthly Birding Community E-bulletin, is full of cutting edge news about birds. It's editors are the renowned team of Paul Baicich and Wayne Peterson. To get on the mailing list:

Tennessee Warbler by Jim Poling
Tree Dedication at Beaver Lake
To honor Len Pardue, long time Blue Ridge Audubon board member and BLBS advocate, a White Oak tree was planted at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary on April 26. Len passed away last October and the tree is dedicated in his memory.

Len worked tirelessly championing the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, and guided the chapter through a successful fundraising campaign which supported upgrades to the Sanctuary. He and his wife Esther devoted countless hours helping to maintain our special Sanctuary. “Len was a dedicated advocate for Audubon and birds.Though quiet and unassuming, he never hesitated to share his wisdom with the Board. We listened. He was loved by all and was a mentor to me.” --- Tom Tribble, past President.

Remember Len fondly the next time you walk the boardwalk and see the White oak tree spreading its branches to welcome birds and people.

Our thanks to Asheville Greenworks for delivering the tree to BLBS.

Image: Esther Pardue & Tom Tribble
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.