Audubon to host talk by invasive plant specialist on how to control invasive plants in your backyard

ATHENS – Invasive plant specialist will discuss control measures and ecological impacts of non-native plant infestations on natural plant communities and wildlife at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next monthly meeting.

Gary Crider, invasive plant specialist and local weed warrior, will discuss various facets of non-native plant infestations: impacts on native communities, identification tips, and outline control measures for particularly pesky non-native flora when the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society holds its next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Invasive plants disrupt ecological functions and reduce biodiversity. Homeowners and other citizens can play a critical role in helping prevent the introduction and spread of invasive plant species. With effective tools, techniques, and good management strategies, groups and individuals can have a real impact on the problem of invasive plants. Crider will outline how you can reduce non-natives on your property and more, which may lead to more biodiversity in your own backyard.

Audubon to host talk regarding the impacts of supplemental feeding on disease transmission in wildlife

ATHENS – PhD candidate at The Odum School of Ecology, at The University of Georgia, will discuss supplemental feeding and infectious diseases in wildlife at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next monthly meeting.

Daniel Becker, a Ph.D. candidate at the Odum School of Ecology, has been studying the complexities of supplemental feeding and wildlife health since 2012. Becker will be speaking on how supplemental feeding can impact disease dynamics in wildlife, which species are at higher risk for disease transmission as a result of supplemental feeding, and how to reduce pathogen spread when providing supplemental feed to wildlife. Many human activities intentionally or accidentally provide wildlife with abundance and accessible food resources, ranging from bird feeders and tourist handouts to landfills and agricultural fields. Changes to wildlife behavior and physiology can in turn have complex effects on the spread of pathogens, some of which can have harmful effects on wildlife and human health.

ORAS Accepting Applications for Conservation Grants

Oconee Rivers Audubon Society is currently accepting applications for the ORAS Conservation Grant, a small grants program with awards between $300-600. Georgia-based projects focused on bird research, conservation, and education are encouraged to apply. Please review the requirements prior to submitting your application. 

Details about the ORAS Conservation Grant program and a list of previous grantees are available here:

Please contact Brian Cooke at with questions or concerns.

Audubon to host talk on avian conservation initiatives in Atlanta: Project Safe Flight

ATHENS – Conservation director at the Atlanta Audubon Society, will discuss avian conservation initiatives in Atlanta at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next monthly meeting.

Adam Betuel, conservation director at the Atlanta Audubon Society, will be speaking about the conservation initiatives he and his colleagues are working on in Atlanta, primarily focusing on Project Safe Flight Atlanta (PSFA).  PSFA is a program focused on the ever expanding issue of bird-building collisions.

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.