Atlanta Audubon was recently awarded a grant from the Georgia Ornithological Society’s (GOS) Bill Terrell Avian Conservation Grants fund to implement bird-friendly habitat restoration at Big Creek Greenway in Alpharetta. Grant funding from GOS will be combined with funding from Patagonia Atlanta to allow Atlanta Audubon to restore approximately ten acres of important habitat along a stretch of the Greenway. Atlanta Audubon is partnering with the City of Alpharetta and the Ed Isakson/Alpharetta Family YMCA to complete this work.
Big Creek Greenway is a linear park that runs approximately eight miles from its northernmost point near Windward Parkway in Alpharetta to its southernmost point near Old Alabama Road in Roswell. This park has proved to be very important greenspace for resident and migratory birds in Fulton County, with more than 180 bird observations recorded on eBird, a real-time, online checklist program that has revolutionized the way the birding community reports and accesses information about birds.
The focus of this restoration project will be to create bird-friendly habitat by removing invasive and exotic plant species such as Chinese privet and oriental bittersweet, and installing native plants as appropriate that will assist resident and migratory birds to use the area as nesting, foraging, and stopover habitat.
In addition to the restoration work, Atlanta Audubon will monitor bird activity at the site and will create a set of data from which to better inform conservation decisions in the future. In particular, the data collected through field surveys and banding sessions will provide valuable information on individual and species movement, survival rates, annual apparent reproductive success, habitat selection, species density at focal locations, site fidelity, and dispersal of offspring. Additionally, this project will allow Atlanta Audubon to conduct volunteer work days and community education programming, which will help raise awareness of the importance of birds and healthy habitats.
“Alpharetta’s Big Creek Greenway is a highly used public amenity, not only by birders, but also by walkers, joggers, cyclists, and other who enjoy the outdoors,” says Nikki Belmonte, Atlanta Audubon Executive Director. “We are delighted to receive these grants from GOS and Patagonia that will allow us to remove invasive plant species and strengthen the native forest ecosystem to the benefit of birds and other wildlife. This project will provide a tremendous opportunity for us to create a strong public-private partnership to educate the public about the important dual roles that our parks must play as recreational and therapeutic spaces for people and high quality habitat for wildlife.”
Birds that will benefit from the habitat restoration work include several species that are listed on Georgia’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP), including the Brown-headed Nuthatch, Common Grackle, Chimney Swift, Brown Thrasher, Wood Thrush, and Rusty Blackbird. SWAP is a statewide strategy to conserve populations of native wildlife species and the natural habitats they need before these animals, plants, and places become rarer and more costly or difficult to conserve.
“The City of Alpharetta is grateful for our partnership with Atlanta Audubon, whose efforts benefit the local wildlife and residents,” says Jason Binder, Alpharetta City Council Member. “Maintaining natural habitats is essential for us to maintain the natural beauty and wildlife we all enjoy in Alpharetta.”
For more information on the Big Creek Greenway, visit
Atlanta Audubon Society is building places where birds and people thrive. We create birds -friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.
By Melanie Furr, Director of Education
When I texted David Bean on the way home from a recent family trip to Florida to let him know that we planned to drive by to look for “Charlie,” the Burrowing Owl who has spent the past three winters on his farm in Miller County, GA, he promptly texted me back, “stop by the house and we’ll fix you a cup of coffee.” I first met David and his wife Judy, the definition of southern charm and hospitality, when a good friend and I decided to chase a few rarities in southwest Georgia last winter. We’d been virtually introduced by a mutual friend and had been invited to stop in for breakfast when we arrived at their 1500-acre farm in the rural town of Donalsonville. Having never seen a Burrowing Owl before, I was eager to find it, but David assured us we’d get a glimpse. Over coffee we learned that David and Judy both grew up on farms in Donalsonville but spent many years in the northwest part of the state, where David had a career in law enforcement and Judy was a school superintendent. When they retired several years ago, they returned to Judy’s family farm in Donalsonville, moving into her childhood home that her parents purchased in the late 1940s. Their breeding stock of Angus cattle is also retired, grazing in wide open pastures, and the Beans are now focused on improving the land for wildlife, including Charlie.
When David emailed the Director of the Global Owl Project, David Johnson, to let him know about Charlie, he received a prompt reply that began, “A very exciting observation there. . .You have something very special!!!!” As Georgia’s only confirmed Burrowing Owl since the mid-1990s, Charlie is pretty extraordinary. According to Johnson, the rich brown coloration on the chest and flanks and the lack of a prominent white eyebrow and chin indicate that Charlie is most likely female. Based on her arrival in early October and departure in early May, he thinks she is probably a migratory western subspecies overwintering at the Bean farm, possibly journeying from as far north as the Dakotas or Manitoba, or maybe the Midwest. With a breeding range extending from central Mexico through most of the western United States into Canada (though absent in mountainous areas), the western subspecies of Burrowing Owl consists of migratory, partially migratory, and resident populations. (The Florida subspecies, found in southern Florida with disjunct populations in the panhandle and a few Caribbean islands, is non-migratory.) Limited data from geolocators suggests that owls from the northernmost breeding areas spread out across a remarkably wide area in winter, many leapfrogging resident populations in southwestern states to winter in Mexico. Johnson also noted that winter site fidelity is high, with owls returning to the “same burrow year after year, even if they do not use the same nest site.”
The only owls in the world that nest exclusively underground, Burrowing Owls are birds of dry, open places including deserts, prairies, pastures, and coastlines, but they have readily adapted to living in proximity to humans and can be found at golf courses, airports, and vacant lots. Both subspecies have faced significant population declines in recent decades, and the western subspecies is listed as endangered in several states in which it occurs. Habitat loss is a major threat, and in the west, the persecution of mammals like prairie dogs, badgers, and ground squirrels that provide the burrows the owls need compounds the problem. (The Florida subspecies will dig their own burrows.)
This year, when Charlie returned for the third consecutive winter, she found not one, but two luxurious new burrows awaiting her. (In previous years, she has roosted in a sewer pipe and an armadillo burrow.) Last spring, Wayne Schaffner helped David install the artificial burrows in a pasture near her previous roosts. Using plans suggested by the Global Owl Project, they dug five-foot deep holes and filled them with sand before installing the burrows, which David constructed with a 55-gallon drum cut in half for the main chambers and flexible corrugated drain pipe for the 10-foot long tunnels. On most days, Charlie can be seen sitting just outside one of her two burrows, which David has cordoned off with rails that keep her safe from the cows (and mark the spot for birders, who are asked to stay in their cars so they don’t disturb her). David says Charlie perches on a nearby fencepost at dusk, probably getting ready for her nighttime hunt.
Charlie is not the only notable snowbird on the Bean’s farm. A Vermillion Flycatcher and a Say’s Phoebe have also wintered there in recent years. David regularly sees Loggerhead Shrikes, American Kestrels, Great Horned Owls, and Cooper’s Hawks (which he calls “blue darters”), and he gave up his small flock of chickens a few years ago when a pair of Bald Eagles took up residence nearby. When I called recently to ask a few questions about Charlie, he’d just installed a nest box for a pair of Barn Owls he discovered roosting in his silo. (Charlie must be extremely savvy to make a living with so many aerial predators nearby!) In keeping with a practice started by his father, David has built and installed more than 40 bluebird boxes on his land, as well as giving them away to neighbors and friends. Birds aren’t the only beneficiaries of his handiwork though. During my recent visit, he showed me the nest box he made for a colony of wild bees after Hurricane Michael slammed the area last fall and destroyed their tree hollow. “Well, they’re so beneficial,” he replied, when asked what motivated him to help them.
I hope Charlie will return to Georgia for many years to come. She was lucky to land at David and Judy Bean’s farm, and the birding community has been lucky for the welcome we have received as well. If only everyone would be so gracious to strangers and the wildlife with whom we share the planet! I was excited to get a life bird when I first saw Charlie last winter, but I consider myself even more fortunate to have met the remarkable people looking out for her.
The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson
Reviewed by Anne McCallum
In this real-life detective story, the author, a journalist who survived the Iraqi War who finds solace in fly fishing, learns that one of the most promising up-and-coming fly-tiers of the younger generation (and a virtuoso classical flautist to boot) stole a massive number of irreplaceable exotic feathers and skins from a major natural history museum in England. This sounds to him like a story ready made to get his mind off a messy war and its tragic aftermath, and he jumps into it.
The book opens with the crime, but then backs WAY up to the real beginning of the story—the amazing life and collecting expeditions of Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin’s contemporary, who overcame huge personal disasters to become one of the greatest names in biogeography. The next chapter examines the museums that gathered and preserved these kinds of amazing collections for posterity—particularly the Tring Museum of uber-rich Walter Rothchild. The author also explores the millenary feather craze that almost wiped out the exotic birds themselves before women themselves began the pushback that lead to the legal protections that have become the bulwark against extinction. While wealthy women were sporting exotic feathers on their heads, wealthy men were using them for fly fishing on their estates—an avocation that has today morphed into the cultish fine art of fly-tying.
Enter young Edwin Rist, who, at 22 was so consumed with fly-tying that he was willing to risk his stellar musical career to stage a heist of some of the most gorgeous and irreplaceable Tring specimens to supply his own needs and to sell on secretive online sites. Guilty or not guilty, your honor? The remainder of the book explores Rist’s motivations, his methods, the discovery and solving of the crime, the plea, his co-conspirators, and the frustrating search for what remains of the stolen goods. Along the way the author meets one angry scientist, Dr. Richard Prum, who happens “to be looking for a journalist willing to shine a light on a hobby that he wanted to stigmatize into oblivion.” (188).
Those of us in the Early Birds Book Club all agreed we loved the book! We learned new and fascinating things in every chapter. Were the specimens ever recovered? Read and find out!
About the Early Birds Book Club:
The Early Birds will be reading and discussing Birdscapes: Birds in Our Imagination and Experience for our March 24 meeting. Instead of tackling the whole book, each Early Bird member is invited to read one or two chapters and present a short summary/commentary at the meeting. If you plan to attend, just pick one or two (or more) and join us for the discussion.
The April book is Of a Feather, by Scott Weidensaul. We will not meet in May as there is no meeting due to the Atlanta Bird Fest Closing Celebration.
The Early Birds is a drop-in book club. There is no commitment other than to enjoy reading and sharing books about birds and birding. Each meeting begins at 2:00 PM prior to the Monthly Meeting at Manuel’s Tavern. If you wish to join the Early Birds’ e-mail list for announcements and reminder notices, please e-mail Mary Nevil.
by Dottie Head, Director of Membership & Communications
Atlanta Audubon has awarded a Habitat Restoration Fund Grant to Candler Park Conservancy for a habitat restoration project in the City of Atlanta’s Candler Park, located at 1500 McLendon Avenue. This grant from Atlanta Audubon, made possible through the generosity of a private donor, will support work to restore a bird-friendly wetland habitat along the riparian corridor in the north-central portion of the park.
Candler Park encompasses 55-acres of historic green space, including a public golf course and a range of other recreational amenities, situated on the eastern side of Atlanta at the confluence of Freedom Park and Olmsted Linear Park. The park was donated to the City of Atlanta in 1922 by Coca-Cola magnate Asa Candler. Candler Park Conservancy was formed in 2015 to protect and improve Candler Park.
Since a successful stream restoration project in 2006-2007, Candler Park’s riparian corridor has evolved into a thriving urban wetland ecosystem hosting a range of native flora, birds, and other wildlife. According to eBird, a real-time, online checklist program, 95 different bird species have been recently spotted in Candler Park. However, the park’s riparian corridor is currently overgrown throughout its quarter-mile length with invasive and exotic plant species like porcelain berry, privet, and Japanese Chaff Flower.
Through the habitat restoration grant, Atlanta Audubon will fund the professional removal of these invasive and exotic plants, and installation of bird-friendly, site-appropriate, native plants. This work will be performed in cooperation with Candler Park Conservancy, the City of Atlanta, and other stakeholders. Atlanta Audubon and Candler Park Conservancy may also explore other opportunities enabled by the habitat restoration project like bird species abundance monitoring, community outreach programs, and Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary Certification.
“Atlanta Audubon is eager to work with Candler Park Conservancy to restore Candler Park’s riparian corridor and to replace invasive plants with native plants that benefit birds and other wildlife,” says Nikki Belmonte, Atlanta Audubon Executive Director. “This project demonstrates how parks can be urban refuges for wildlife while still serving multiple recreational uses for people.”
“We are so grateful for this generous grant to improve Candler Park,” says Perry Smith, a Candler Park Conservancy board member involved in the project. “Candler Park offers a great range of recreational uses, but it also serves complementary roles as a locally significant green space, watershed, and natural habitat. The park’s riparian corridor in particular has become an important urban habitat for birds and other species. We are excited to work with Atlanta Audubon and other stakeholders to make this part of the park more resilient, sustainable, and ecologically sound.”
The Habitat Restoration Fund is a new grant program of Atlanta Audubon sponsored by a private donor. Henderson Park, in Tucker, also received a 2019 grant, and there will be additional grant opportunities for 2020. To learn more about applying for the Atlanta Audubon Habitat Restoration Fund Grant, visit www.atlantaaudubon.org/habitat-restoration-fund.
Atlanta Audubon Society is building places where birds and people thrive. We create birds -friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.
CHIMNEY SWIFT TOWER PLANNED FOR SAMS LAKE BIRD SANCTUARY IN FAYETTE COUNTY: ATLANTA AUDUBON RECEIVES GRANT TO BUILD TOWER
by Dottie Head, Director of Membership & Communications
Atlanta Audubon will be building a 12-foot-tall Chimney Swift tower with a wrap-around educational kiosk at Sams Lake Bird Sanctuary, in Fayetteville, Georgia, thanks to a grant from the American Birding Expo Conservation Fund. Atlanta Audubon was one of seven recipients of grants from this organization.
Atlanta Audubon will partner on this tower project with the Southern Conservation Trust, a nonprofit land trust organization that manages eight public nature areas throughout south metro Atlanta, including Sams Lake Bird Sanctuary. To date, Southern Conservation Trust has conserved more than 32,000 acres across the southeast and is working to certify their public nature areas as Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuaries. The Chimney Swift tower installation at Sams Lake is part of Atlanta Audubon’s effort to conserve and raise public awareness of the habitat- and climate-threatened Chimney Swift.
Still a fairly common sight in Atlanta, Chimney Swifts are being forced to respond to additional threats across their range—from chimney capping, to tree removal, to a decreasing supply of insects due to pesticides, pollution, and climate change. Other issues, such as building collisions and challenges on swifts’ wintering grounds are exacerbating population declines. The conservation status of the Chimney Swift was recently updated to Vulnerable on the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
“The Chimney Swift is Atlanta Audubon’s focal bird species for 2019-2020, and we were delighted to receive this grant from American Birding Expo to construct a tower at Sam’s Lake Bird Sanctuary,” says Nikki Belmonte, Atlanta Audubon Executive Director. “Capable of consuming up to 1,000 insects per day per bird, Chimney Swifts are an important part of our southern landscapes, and our goal is to create more nesting and roosting habitat for these birds through towers like the one at Piedmont Park and Sam’s Lake.”
The American Birding Expo was founded by Bird Watcher’s Digest editor and publisher, Bill Thompson, III. The Expo provides bird watchers and nature lovers an opportunity to connect with birding-related companies and organizations, including optics manufacturers, tour companies, bird feeding stores, gift items, birding festivals and clubs, destinations, travel agencies, and more. To promote the conservation of wild birds and their habitats, The Expo Conservation Fund, supported by Expo raffles and silent auctions, annually grants funds to bird conservation organizations and projects.
"The Southern Conservation Trust is excited to work with the Atlanta Audubon on this project,” says Nick Kilburg, Southern Conservation Trust Director of Conservation and Outdoor Education. “The chimney swift tower will help the Trust further educational efforts while providing habitat for this vulnerable and beneficial bird."
Atlanta Audubon Society is building places where birds and people thrive. We create birds -friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.
The Southern Conservation Trust elevates nature through exceptional stewardship of conserved lands and public lands.
By Dottie Head
Sometimes you meet someone who just makes you say “wow!” That was my reaction when meeting Isabella Asztalos, from Norcross. A 13-year-old, home schooled 8th grader and two-year participant in the Atlanta Urban Ecologists (AUE) program, Isabella’s resume is impressive. What’s more impressive is her knowledge of and compassion for the natural world (especially birds!). Young people, like Isabella, give me hope for our future.
Isabella was part of AUE during the 2017-18 school year. She enjoyed it so much that she signed up again for 2018-19. If you’re not familiar with the program, AUE is an 8-month program offered by Atlanta Audubon, Blue Heron Nature Preserve and The Amphibian Foundation. These groups, along with other sponsors, collaborate to offer students in grades 8 through 12 an exciting glimpse into the world of wildlife conservation. By visiting different venues in the metro area, participants gain a diversity of experiences that include going behind the scenes at Zoo Atlanta, banding wild birds, and exploring Arabia Mountain's rich ecological systems. Each session is led by professionals who facilitate the learning and expose students to a variety of conservation and environment-based career pathways.
Isabella was fortunate to connect with Tixie Fowler, though Tixie argues it’s the other way around. Regardless, Tixie and Isabella were neighbors living within easy walking distance of Johnson Dean Forest, a small remnant pocket of forest located near bustling downtown Norcross. Joining them on a recent chilly morning walk through the forest, the camaraderie between the two was evident.
Tixie is the Executive Director of Gardens for Growing Community, a non-profit dedicated to connecting youth and nature. Despite the age difference, Tixie and Isabella hit it right off, and Isabella became Tixie’s “right hand helper” for many of the local workshops and community presentations that she organizes. “Isabella has always been very willing to jump in and help with all the details that go into setting up and running our conservation workshops,” says Tixie. “She also is an avid and hungry learner, and even when the content was on an adult level, she would sit patiently and fully engaged, soaking up every word. Her love for birds and her ability to identify them by song as well as shape and color totally amazes me–I wasn't a birder before I met Isabella, but she opened that world up to me.”
As an environmental educator, Tixie is actively involved in organizing community outreach activities, workshops and presentations. Isabella was usually seen at her side helping set up and manage events. They partnered with the Atlanta Coyote Project in an effort to calm their neighbors' fears about urban coyotes. Isabella helped the Norcross Garden Club conduct a “Bats as Pollinators” workshop and was a huge help at the club's annual plant sales. She also provided Tixie with valued insight into making activities more interesting for kids.
“Isabella was my assistant with the Kids in Conservation summer workshops during which youth spent the day outside exploring the forest learning about various areas of conservation, sort of a mini, localized AUE,” says Tixie. “If anything was boring or confusing, she would suggest ideas on how to make it better for kids.”
“She was also a great help with the other younger participants,” continues Tixie. “Although Isabella doesn't generally talk a lot, when the subject is about birds, wild animals and nature, her whole face lights up, and both kids and adults listen very respectfully to what she has to say. And the AUE instructors love her because she asks great questions!”
Isabella and Tixie are both active with the Friends of Johnson Dean Forest, a group of local conservation-minded volunteers who created and continue to maintain the trails and nurture natural habitat within the 11-acre city preserve. This work, inspired further by what she learned in the Kids in Conservation workshops, motivated Isabella to solicit the Norcross City Council last fall for a mayoral proclamation formally recognizing Johnson Dean as a valuable community asset. She also asked them to commit the funds needed for signage that would designate the preserve as an Atlanta Audubon Certified Wildlife Sanctuary. Isabella was assisted by 7-year-old Abby Maguire, another nature enthusiast she met in the Kids in Conservation workshops.
For their presentation to the City Council, Isabella and Abby laid out Audubon's requirements for certification Wildlife Sanctuary and explained why protecting native birds and plants is important. They engaged (and in some cases stumped) Council by asking several questions such as “what are the four things that wildlife need to survive and thrive?” and “why are birds important?” Taking the request very seriously, Council members asked the two girls several questions in return, and were impressed by their thoughtful and knowledgeable answers.
“After much discussion about protecting native birds and plants, the Mayor asked the girls to name their favorite bird,” recounts Tixie. “Abby instantly replied ‘the flamingo’, which cracked everyone up and basically sealed the deal on the decision to support the girls’ request.”
Fast forward to fall, when Atlanta Audubon certifiers visited the property and, agreeing with the young girls' assessment, officially certified it as an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. By this time, Isabella had been invited to serve on Sustainable Norcross' Bee City USA Committee, and asked to help develop a Youth Advisory Committee for the Sustainable Norcross team. Keep in mind, Isabella IS ONLY 13 YEARS OLD!
Unfortunately, Isabella is unable to continue these commitments because her father accepted a new position in south Florida, and Isabella's family relocated just before the first of the year. This ended her involvement with the City of Norcross and broke Tixie’s heart in the process.
“She was my nature buddy—I feel like an essential part of me is missing,” says Tixie. “But her mother recently sent me a video showing the siblings playing in the new pool, while Isabella was totally absorbed in exploring their new backyard and making some well-thought out decisions about where to hang her bird feeders. She truly and deeply loves wild things.”
While we’re all sad to see Isabella move to Florida, we can only imagine what conservation issues she will find to get involved with in her new home. Tixie assures me that they are keeping in touch, and that she will send us updates.
In the meantime, Tixie is helping Isabella sell her bird-themed note cards back here in Atlanta (did I mention that Isabella is also an accomplished artist?) The cards are available in the Atlanta Audubon store, with proceeds split between helping Isabella keep her birdfeeders full of tasty seeds and suet and supporting the Atlanta Audubon programs that have given Isabella the confidence and resources to make a difference in wildlife conservation. You may purchase sets of Isabella’s notecards in the Atlanta Audubon online store.
On Friday, February 8, the Atlanta Audubon Society officially recognized Briarlake Forest Park, in DeKalb County, as an Atlanta Audubon Certified Wildlife Sanctuary. The certification was a collaborative effort between Atlanta Audubon and the Friends of Briarlake Forest. The designation is a fitting tribute for the friends group that has worked tirelessly to protect and restore this 21-acre old-growth forest located near Northlake Mall.
The Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary Program encourages both private and public properties to enhance their land for birds and other wildlife by installing native plants and providing food, water, and shelter for birds and other wildlife.
“Atlanta Audubon is thrilled to partner with the Friends of Briarlake Forest Park to add this beautiful old-growth forest to our network of more than 500 certified wildlife habitats in Atlanta and north Georgia,” says Melinda Langston, Atlanta Audubon board member and Wildlife Sanctuary Program Coordinator. “The welfare of birds and other wildlife is directly linked to the quality of food and shelter available to them. The hard work of the friends group has not only created valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife, but has also preserved this wonderful forest located in central DeKalb County for future generations.”
The 21-acre Briarlake Forest Park was acquired by DeKalb County’s Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Affairs in 2015. The Friends of Briarlake Park have worked with DeKalb County to remove invasive plant species, such as privet and English ivy, and to add native plant species, including native azaleas, autumn fern, blueberry bushes, and native grasses that benefit birds and other wildlife. With multiple trails for public use, Briarlake Forest Park boasts more than 60 specimen trees, including a 250-year-old white oak that stands near the house on the property and several magnificent beech trees. Future plans call for the old homestead to be developed into an education center for the community.
“The friends group for Briarlake Forest Park wishes to thank Atlanta Audubon for recognizing the significant habitat that we have been able to save and protect for the future of our community,” says Margo Reynolds, a member of the Friends of Briarlake Forest Park and Chair of the Grounds, Trails, and Maintenance Committee. “Our goal is to maintain an environment that encourages protection for all of our bird species and other wildlife within the forest for generations to come and to educate our children about the value of having green space in our neighborhoods. Having a 21-acre old growth forest in the middle of an urban community is a rare and beautiful asset and having the bird population that the forest supports is a testament to nature that is a joy to behold.”
For more information on certifying a property as an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary, visit https://www.atlantaaudubon.org/wildlife-sanctuary-certification.html.
Atlanta Audubon Society is committed to building places where birds and people thrive. We create birds -friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.
Mark your calendars and make plans to attend Atlanta Audubon’s 4th Annual Atlanta Bird Fest, which will run from April 13 through May 19, 2019. The Southeast’s largest bird and nature festival, Atlanta Bird Fest features a full month of activities, including field trips to Georgia’s best birding hotspots, nature-based workshops, and guest speakers. Events are tailored to all levels of bird, nature, and outdoor enthusiasts—there’s something for everyone!
The 2019 Atlanta Bird Fest will kick off with an event featuring Noah Strycker. In 2015, Strycker set a worldwide record for his Big Year of Birding, spotting 6,042 of the world’s estimated 10,400 bird species in a continuous journey spanning all seven continents from January 1 to December 31. Strycker will be in town the weekend of April 13 and 14 leading birding trips and giving the keynote address at the Atlanta Bird Fest Opening Celebration on Sunday, April 14, at the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center.
Over the subsequent four weekend, there will be a variety of events for bird and nature enthusiasts ranging from a bird walk and luncheon at Serenbe, a Wine and Warblers Trip to north Georgia, a bird walk followed by a coffee and chocolate tasting on the Atlanta BeltLine, a field trip to see Red-cockaded Woodpeckers at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, a Shorebird Trip to the Georgia coast, and more.
The month-long event will end with a Closing Celebration at Sweetwater Brewery on Sunday, May 19, featuring Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, professor at the University of Georgia’s Department of Geography, the director of the UGA’s Atmospheric Sciences program, and past-president of the American Meteorological Society. Dr. Shepherd is a leading international expert in weather and climate. His TedX Talk on “Slaying the Climate Zombies” is still one of the most-watched lectures about climate change on YouTube. X Atlanta talk on "Slaying the Climate Zombies is still one of the mos
Early registration will begin on March 1, 2019, for Atlanta Audubon Society members and will open to the general public on March 8, 2019. For a complete listing of events or to register, please visit www.atlantaaudubon.org/atlanta-bird-fest.
Atlanta Audubon is building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.
AWARD WINNING PHOTOGRAPHS ON DISPLAY AT BRICKWORKS GALLERY ROADSHOW OF 2018 BEST AVIAN PHOTOS COMING TO ATLANTA FEBRUARY 9 TO 24
Atlanta Audubon and Brickworks Gallery will host the Audubon Photography Awards Exhibit from February 9 through 24, 2019 at Brickworks Gallery, near the Atlanta BeltLine. A public opening event is planned for Saturday, February 9, from 4:30 to 7:00 PM at Brickworks Gallery. David Ringer, National Audubon Society’s chief network officer, will be in attendance to meet Atlanta Audubon members and guests from 4:30 to 5:30 PM. In addition to promoting greater strength, diversity, and capacity throughout the Audubon network, David leads Audubon’s BirdFriendly Communities program, in which Atlanta Audubon is a leading national chapter. The event is free to attend, but registration is requested.
Selected from more than 8,000 entries, the winning photos were published in the Summer 2018 issue of Audubon Magazine and show bird life at its most vivid, vulnerable, formidable, and elegant. This year’s exquisite photographs celebrate the splendor of many bird species protected under the 100-year-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the most important bird conservation law, which is currently under siege in Congress and by the Department of the Interior.
Following the public opening event on February 9, the exhibit will be open for viewing through February 24 at Brickworks Gallery, located at 686-A Greenwood Avenue NE, in Atlanta. For more information or to register for this free event, please visit www.atlantaaudubon.org/audubon-photography-exhibit.
Parking Information: Parking is very limited. Brickworks Gallery has two dedicated parking spaces and a third shared handicap accessible space. Guests are encouraged to utilize a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft, or parking may be found throughout the neighborhood on Greenwood Avenue on the east side of Ponce de Leon Place Avenue.
About Brickworks Galley: Brickworks Gallery is located in an historic industrial-era building on the fabulous Atlanta BeltLine. The B. Mifflin Hood Brick Co. building, at 686-A Greenwood Avenue in the Virginia Highland neighborhood, has been refurbished and brought back to life as a gallery and meeting place. The gallery is a 5 minute walk north on the BeltLine from Ponce City Market, and a 5 minute walk down the BeltLine from the south-east corner of Piedmont Park. Come spend a day in our wonderful neighborhood of shops, restaurants and parks and visit the gallery to view our fabulous works. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 12:00 to 6:00 PM, or by appointment.
About Atlanta Audubon: Atlanta Audubon is committed to building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.
By Kiana Leveritte, Wildlife Sanctuary Program Intern
Lou Clymore has breathed life into the Atlanta Audubon Audubon Society for more than 12 years as a volunteer certifier for the Wildlife Sanctuary program. After taking a Tree Keepers class with Trees Atlanta, she was introduced to the literary works of Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, and she found the passion to make a difference. She began birding in her back yard, and now Lou doubles as a master birder and gardener, and her fervor for bird-friendly spaces is apparent in the zeal and attention she brings to the seven acres of flora in her back yard. As a certified Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary caretaker herself, Lou brings the same intensity to her yard and its best interests as she does to those spaces she certifies.
In each property she certifies, Lou is a fountain of wisdom pouring out support and advice to the property owners. Some might even consider her an avid environmental educator for her community. Her crusade brings her into different parts of Atlanta's concrete jungle, and she always loves seeing the spectrum of creativity people bring to their yards.
This same spirit of creativity shows when walking through her back yard. Although the beech tree is her personal favorite, Lou’s yard is a Piedmont native wonderland. From the array of native shrubs like hearts-a-bustin’, beautyberry, serviceberry, and American holly to the tall bigleaf magnolia, her yard has many sights to see. She has a glorious pollinator garden, trees, and winding vines that bring persimmons, blackberries, and mulberries into her household when they yield. Like many wildlife sanctuaries, Lou’s yard is home to many birds and other small critters, including beavers. Eastern Phoebes, Blue Jays, and Swamp Sparrows sing in your ears while Red-tailed Hawks, Brown-headed Nuthatches, and Sandhill Cranes fly overhead. It truly is a sight to behold. Everywhere you look, you see her love for the environment: bird boxes, bird baths, ground cover, plant diversity, and minimal invasive species so that the space thrives.
In her 12 years as volunteer certifier, Lou Clymore’s love for birds and the native Piedmont flora shines in the way that she guides people in her certifications and her surrounding community. The advice she offers to those who take the same torch is simple: “Enjoy it. Take in the experience as a volunteer certifier. Make memories, and learn what works as you go.” She also encourages other certifiers not to stray from being inquisitive about the properties and to revisit for clarity if needed. Her last piece of advice is to remain organized and keep copies of all the paperwork used in case of mishaps or misunderstandings.
Lou Clymore, we thank you for all your hard work and dedication to your community and the Wildlife Sanctuary program for the Atlanta Audubon Society. Your efforts are a reminder to us all on what it means to create thriving, bird-friendly spaces in Atlanta and its surrounding areas while encouraging others to do the same.