High Peaks Birders

See "Upcoming Events" below for more information...

Who We Are

High Peaks Birders had its beginning with the monthly strolls offered by High Peaks Trail Association starting in March 2014. Laura Seelbach and Bob Repoley lead the strolls and eventually went on to organize the Yancey County Christmas Bird Count later that year. Both the strolls and the CBC were well attended by birders and nature lovers from expert to beginner.

Springing from these successful ventures, a core group of interested people met in January 2015 with the intention of exploring the possibility of starting a birding club in Yancey County, which was eventually called “Yancey Birders”. The core group, now known as the OWLS, began organizing birding activities in the county and at the same time opened up discussions with High Peaks Trail Association about coming under the “wing” of High Peaks.

In May 2015 after organizing two successful general meetings and contributing to other birding activities in Yancey County, Yancey Birders joined High Peaks Trail Association and took the new name of High Peaks Birders. All of our events are free and open to the public. We do not have a formal membership. Anyone who comes to an event or meeting can choose to be on the High Peaks Birders mailing list and receive our occasional Newsletter. If you do not receive our Newsletter and would like to, simply click on the link “Subscribe Mail List” at the top right of this page. We encourage all birders to join High Peaks Trail Association and support the people who support us.

The OWLS continue to meet once a month to plan programs and activities. These meetings are open to the public. Please feel welcome to attend and take part in what we are hooting about. We also offer monthly birding strolls at Cane River Park and maintain a growing list of birds spotted during these outings. Check out the High Peaks Monthly Activity Calendar for more details.  For some tips on birding, please read our Birding Etiquette Guide.





 

Taking Actions for Birds

As a result of the 2016 election, the Republicans have control of the White House, the US Senate, and the US House of Representatives. All three of these agree on an agenda of reduced environmental regulations. An example of what they have in mind: the Obama era regulation that halted the dumping of mine waste in mountain streams (to date, over 1,500 miles of streams have been destroyed) was rescinded in the first month of the Trump administration. Known target agencies are EPA, multiple bureaus within Department of the Interior, US Forest Service (Dept of Agriculture). The announced legislative targets I am most familiar with are the Endangered Species Act (the last hope for an increasing number of species), and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA, the bedrock for protection of migratory birds for 100 years despite powerful opposition). You will recall that the US House of Representatives advanced a bill last year that would have eliminated all enforcement funding for the MBTA. This would have effectively repealed the Act had it passed. Other targets include the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. The stars are now aligned for the extreme anti-environmentalists to take the teeth out of any and all legislation that results in environmental protection. Not surprisingly, this has alarmed conservation organizations and scientists across the country including National Audubon, The Wildlife Society and the American Bird Conservancy (ABC). The American Bird Conservancy has take the step of preparing a sign-on petition to the US Congress urging them to maintain protections for migratory birds. The OWLS discussed this topic and decided that High Peaks Birders (HPB) would sign on to the petition. Since we are organizationally affiliated with the NC High Peaks Trail Association, our representative to their Board of Directors asked their opinion about the HPB signing on to the petition. Not only did they approve, they signed on as well. A note to HPB members: please consider calling or writing a personal email to each member of NC delegation to Congress that represents you (Sen. Tillis, Sen. Burr and Rep. Meadows) and urge them in strong terms to maintain protections for birds. The link for the ABC petition:

https://secure2.convio.net/abcb/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserActio...

US Senators: Richard Burr  202-224-3154
                    Thom Tillis   202-224-6342
US Representative: Mark Meadows  202-225-6401               Thanks for helping the birds!
 





 

Upcoming Events:

 
       It’s time, it’s time, for the High Peaks Audubon Christmas Bird Count!    The date is Saturday December 16th.
Teams are forming now, so if you’re able to, you can join us either in the field counting with one of the teams; or at home from your feeder(s) if you live within the count circle.  The CBC is an all day event. However, if you can only commit to a half day, you're still welcome to join us.  Please contact Russ ASAP at 828/682-4199.
       The areas within the circle are Celo, Double Island, Jack’s Creek and downtown Burnsville, Price’s Creek, Pensacola, and Burnsville Elementary School.  If you have a preference of what part of the circle you’d like to count, let Russ know when you contact him.  We’ll do our best to place you there.
       If it’s your first time participating in the CBC know that all skill levels and ages are welcome and we’ll match you up so you’ll have fun, learn and share skills.  Bring your binoculars, water, snack/lunch and if you’re handy with a camera you might bring it too. Dress for the weather, we count rain or shine. 
 
Photo by Aimee Tomcho of Holly and Kyle birding with Otway on the square during last years count.



 

Recent Bird Observations In Yancey County

On The Blue Ridge Parkway: Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, Red-Tailed Hawk, Blue-headed Vireo, Common Raven, Red-breasted Nut Hatch, Winter Wren, Black-throated Green Warbler, Fox Sparrow.
 
In the Valleys: Turkey Vulture, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Mourning Dove, Chimney Swift, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue Jay, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch





 

Other Links Of Interest

May Wildlife Rehab Center:  This is an outstanding rehab facility for injured or orphaned birds and other wildlife located on the Lees McRae campus in Banner Elk, NC.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology:  A great site for bird ID and bird webcams.

National Audubon Society and Audubon of North Carolina

Carolina Bird Club:  A birding club spanning North and South Carolina.

Partners In Flight:  An organization that coordinates international efforts to conserve bird populations in the Western Hemisphere.

Bird Note:  Podcasts and stories about birds, the environment, and more.

Big Bald Banding: Southern Appalachian Raptor Research and banding station in Madison County, NC.

Carolina Native Nursery:  A great source for native plants that will attract birds and other wildlife.

Beginner's Guide to Birdwatching: Tips and ideas for blossoming birders.