Breeding Bird Surveys
In Spring 2009, Forsyth Audubon members conducted an initial Breeding Bird Census at Bethabara Park. The Census was conceived and organized by Kim Brand and Katherine Thorington, volunteer park naturalist. It followed established survey procedures and took place over a 10-week period from mid-April through late-June.
The park was divided into five walking routes, and volunteers covered each route throughout the 10-week period with visits spaced approximately seven days apart. Observations were conducted between sunrise and 11 a.m. On route maps, volunteers charted the location of each bird seen or heard during the visit, and noted specific behaviors or activities such as call-and-response, gathering nesting material, feeding young.
Preliminary analysis of 2009 data indicated at least one territory for 63 different species. Of course, there were our year-round residents, such as Northern Cardinals, Carolina Chickadees, Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Red-shouldered Hawks. In addition breeding territories were located for several migration species, including Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager and Wood Thrush.
Breeding activity of the Wood Thrush was of particular interest given the declining numbers of this species due to habitat loss, cowbird parasitism and other factors. At Bethabara, observers located 22 Wood Thrush territories and found a number of nests. This indeed was an encouraging result.
The survey was repeated in Spring 2010. Data analysis is not yet complete, but of special note are successful breeding by a pair of Tree Swallows at the wetland and a pair of singing Acadian Flycatchers on territory along Monarcas Creek throughout the census period.
Important Bird Area Surveys.
Forsyth Audubon members conduct bird surveys in conjunction with National Audubon Society’s Important Bird Area (IBA) program. Each spring, members conduct point counts and Golden-winged Warbler breeding bird surveys at the New River Corridor IBA in the area around Jefferson, North Carolina. The results are added to a database maintained by Audubon North Carolina and used to track bird population patters. The Golden-winged Warbler is a threatened species that is receiving special emphasis for habitat conservation by Audubon
In addition, the chapter takes part in Christmas Bird Counts at both of our adopted IBAs, New River Corridor and Hanging Rock State Park, plus a Spring Bird Count at Hanging Rock.
Pilot Mountain Hawk Watch.
Each September, volunteers from Forsyth Audubon and Piedmont Bird Club conduct a count of migrating raptors at Pilot Mountain State Park. Dozens of similar watches are conducted from Canada to Mexico. Read more about Hawk Watch . . .