Audubon to host talk on songbirds and their shifting breeding range in southern Appalachia

ATHENS – Two UGA graduate students will discuss their graduate research regarding two species of Neotropical migrant songbird species, Black-throated Blue Warblers and Canada Warblers at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next monthly meeting.

Ryan Chitwood and Sam Merker, both Master’s students at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, will discuss their research regarding migratory songbirds in southern Appalachia. Mounting evidence suggests that climate change is shifting species’ ranges poleward, but few studies have attempted to uncover the mechanisms that drive range shifts. Sam and Ryan will discuss two different approaches they are using to address this issue when the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society holds its next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 2, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Audubon to host talk on Northern Saw Whet Owl populations in Georgia

ATHENS – Local biologist will discuss biology, population monitoring, and conservation of the Northern Saw Whet Owl at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next monthly meeting.

Charlie Muise, a local biologist, will discuss his work with Northern Saw Whet Owls in Georgia. Georgia was once believed to be too far south for persistence of the Northern Saw Whet Owl’s population, Charlie however has disproved this belief. Muise will discuss how his work is helping researchers, scientists, and conservationists understand more about the southern range populations of Northern Saw Whet Owls when the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society holds its next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 5, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Corrections to the December 2016 Yellowthroat Newsletter

 

At the November Monthly Meeting for Oconee Rivers Audubon Society, we had Will Harlan speak about his book Untamed about Carol Ruckdeschel and Cumberland Island. Carol heard about Will's presentation, and she read our summary of Will's talk. Carol asked that we share some points of clarification regarding Will's presentation and our subsequent summary. Below are some corrections shared directly from correspondence with Carol that she would like shared with our group:

  • I have no "conservation management plans" per se.
  • No one thwarted making the marriage place of JFK Jr. and Carolyn open to public tours. There are bus tours through the Wilderness there every day.
  • I do NOT recommend controlling the horse population to maintain healthy herds.
  • I oppose controlled burns in the Wilderness area.
  • I did not help start a federal agency.
  • I never directly helped design the trawler enabling device (TED).
  • I never planned to leave the island except to protect my life.
  • It is my belief that the island needs no one; would be better off without us. 

 

Audubon to host talk by environmental steward on history and conservation efforts of Beech Haven property

 

ATHENS – Vice chair of the Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission and National Park Service retiree will discuss Beech Haven – a hidden ecological sanctuary in the heart of Athens, GA at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next monthly meeting.

Nat Kuykendall, the vice chair of the Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission, will trace the fascinating history of the Beech Haven property, discuss on-going efforts to protect the site, and Beech Haven’s exciting potential as part of the Athens-Clarke County Greenway Network when the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society holds its next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, December 1, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Audubon to Host Will Harlan, Author of Untamed

ATHENS – National bestselling author known for his work featured in National Geographic Adventure and appeared in Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, and on The Oprah Winfrey Show will discuss his latest book, Untamed – at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next monthly meeting.

Will Harlan, editor in chief of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and an award-winning journalist, will speak about his book Untamed and, in doing so, the importance of conservation on Cumberland Island when the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s holds its next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 3, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Georgia Museum of Natural History to host Oconee Rivers Audubon Society

 

Join us on Thursday, October 26 - 6:00-8:00pm

ATHENS- Tucked away on the back side of the Statistics building at the University of Georgia is the Georgia Museum of Natural History. Inside, a small display room invites guests to see mounted specimens of the Carolina parakeet and the Ivory-billed woodpecker. Spread across the room are mammalian skeletons and hundreds of irridescent butterflies lined up in cases. Whichever exhibit is on display, the room brings us to a different place and a different time.

This room, however, is a drop in the bucket. The Georgia Museum of Natural History posesses huge collections of insects, birds, fish, and marine life. The only problem is that the collection is usually off-limits. Stored in an Atlanta Highway warehouse, the annex as they call it, contains thousands of specimens that the public can rarely see.

The O'Grady Bird Habitat Restoration Project: Restoring wildlife-friendly plantings to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia

Located on the banks the Middle Oconee River, an important migratory corridor for many of eastern North America's imperiled songbirds, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia (SBG) is Athens' premier birding spot. Recognizing its value as habitat for breeding, overwintering, and migratory birds, Bill and Karla O'Grady spearheaded efforts to document bird sightings at the SBG starting in 2004.   They recorded their sightings on eBird, the largest online repository of citizen science bird data. To date, 180 bird species have been recorded in the SBG, and the O'Grady's efforts resulted in the State Botanical Garden being declared a Georgia State Important Bird Area.

To honor their contributions, and the memory of Karla's late husband Bill, Oconee Rivers Audubon Society (ORAS) is partnering with the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in its ongoing efforts to remove invasive plants and restore native, wildlife-friendly plants. Restoration of native plants will provide food, shelter and nesting sites for birds and other wildlife.

To do this, we have established a dedicated fund to which ORAS members, friends of the O'Grady's, and the general public can directly contribute to habitat restoration and maintenance. Additionally, ORAS has pledged to continue monitoring how birds respond to these habitat improvements by completing regular bird surveys in the floodplain. ORAS will also offer volunteer hours to assist with plantings and invasive species removal. More details on how to volunteer will be outlined in future ORAS monthly speaker meetings, our email listserv and newsletter.

L-R: Bill and Karla O'Grady at the State Botanical Garden; Swainson's Warbler; Creole Pearly-eye; Thomas Peters and a healthy canebrake

O’Grady Habitat restoration project update and workday, Dec 10th

Thanks to your generous donations, so far we have raised an impressive $6,600 towards our habitat restoration project at the State Botanical Garden - THANK YOU! This will ensure that we can plant new, and replenish existing, stands of native rivercane in the floodplain of the botanical garden over the course of this winter.

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