Researcher to Address Audubon on Beach-Nesting Shorebirds

Hey guys! Come see a great speaker and take part in a potluck dinner on October 3rd!

The University of Georgia shorebird researcher Abby Sterling will present “Life Above the Wrack Line: Nesting American Oystercatchers & Wilson’s Plovers on the Georgia Coast” at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next meeting, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct., 3, in the ENSAT Building at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Sterling, a master’s candidate in UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, will provide some background biology and explain some of the conservation issues that nesting shorebirds face on three relatively undeveloped barrier islands. In her research, Sterling is exploring whether there are common factors that could be used to predict nesting success for these birds and ultimately help guide management of beaches.

The Audubon chapter will host a potluck covered-dish dinner before the meeting, starting at 6 p.m. 


"How Birds Foretell Threats to Our Health and Our World"

Hey everyone!

We've got another great opportunity for you! Nobel laureate Peter C. Doherty is coming to Athens to provide a lecture on "How Birds Foretell Threats to Our Health and Our World". Sounds like it's going to be an interesting and informative speech! Come out and see him Sept. 10 at 3pm in room H237 of the College of Veterinary Medicine on the UGA campus!

Audubon 2013/14 teaser

We hope you all had a good summer, and got a chance to enjoy our local celebrity Scissor-tailed Flycatchers that nested near Watkinsville this year and found by ORAS member Mitchell Jarrett. We are gearing up for an exciting fall program, with some new field trip destinations (including Atlanta migration hotspot Cochran Shoals), and we kick off our speaker meetings with a presentation by Robert Ramsay of the Georgia Conservancy in UGA's Ecology auditorium. We also welcome our new ORAS President, Clark Jones, and our very first ORAS student intern, Crane Breithraupt, who will be posting regular updates to this website, our facebook page and email listserv. Hope to see you and your friends at one of our exciting events this fall!

Sandy Creek Nature Center 28th Annual Birdseed Sale

28th Annual Birdseed Sale
Here's your chance to support a great cause AND your avian friends! Plan to buy your fall and winter supply of birdseed from our partners at the Sandy Creek Nature Center. As always, they have a great range of items to choose from. They will even deliver it to your door if your total is over $50.00. This is one of their annual fundraising events, and they deserve our support for hosting our Audubon group in their facility each month. Consider becoming a member and get their discount on the seed order.  Choose one of four easy options to place your order:

September 8 Birdwalk at the State Botanical Garden

The State Botanical Garden was full of both birds and birders.  An ORAS birdwalk with 15 participants including John and Mai Whigham, John and Judy Willis, Laura Steadman, Steve Duke, Jim Hanna, Mary Case, Alison Huff and Ed Maioriello met other Athens birders Richard Hall, Mirko Basen, Krista Gridley, Rachel Cass and Steve Holzman who were scouring the gardens for everything with feathers.

The birds were not too cooperative for photos, but good looks were had at Yellow-throated Vireo, Northern Parula, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Great-crested Flycatcher and plenty of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.





September 1 Bird Walk at Sandy Creek Nature Center

We had a nice walk out at the Sandy Creek Nature Center this morning.  Despite being early in the fall migration we had a few migrating warblers including Blackburnian, Worm-eating, Magnolia and Chestnut-sided.  While many of the warblers were hiding in the foliage, all were treated to a nice look at a Great Blue Heron in the Claypit Pond.

Additional highlights were White-eyed Vireos singing around us down by the Sandy Creek and the Oconee River, Hooded Warblers, Pine Warblers, Indigo Buntings and Blue Grosbeaks.

We had a nice group of birders including ORAS regulars Richard Hall, Alison Huff, Steve Duke, and Jim Hanna.

Kitty Cams in the news

A study on the habits of outdoor cats by UGA researcher Kerrie Ann Loyd, and partly funded by an ORAS small grant, has been making national news recently. 'Kitty cams' attached to pet cats revealed the surprising toll on native wildlife and risk-taking behavior by the felines while out on the prowl. Many of us here on the ORAS board are cat-lovers, but for the sake of local wildlife, and the health and safety of our feline companions, we advocate keeping your cats indoors. Some of the press relating to this study can be viewed on the NPR website:

and the LA Times:,...

eBird Observations Approach 100 million

eBird currently has 99,461,545 observations and is giving away prizes for the 100 millionth observation and a randomly drawn user that submits a complete checklist between now and the 100 millionth observation. July and early August are times when few checklists are submitted and many folks prefer to stay indoors rather than brave the heat and humidity. But this time of year can be a good opportunity to find early migrants and dispersing juveniles like the Worm-eating Warblers and Wild Turkey polts I saw last week along Cook's Trail. For more information visit the eBird website here:

Traveling Seeds, How do plants move across landscapes?

Have you ever looked at a tree and wondered how it started growing where it did? Plants have amazing ways of moving their seeds from one place to another to ensure their survival and to produce diverse ecosystems. Let's look at some of the ways plants arrive at their destinations.

Hitch-hikers stick to fur, feathers, clothing, or inside animals
Droppers fall to the ground and animals carry them away
Poppers burst from seed pods and disperse from the plant
Flyers are carried through the air by wind
Floaters are carried away in water
Gardeners purposely plant seeds