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Nature Notes - December 2014
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Dark-eyed Junco – Dennis Burnette
Homes for the Holidays

With your help, our community can give even more Brown-headed Nuthatches a home for the holidays.

We are collaborating with Audubon North Carolina and participating local bird stores for a special holiday promotion. When you BUY ONE nest box, Audubon will GIVE ONE nest box to our community to be installed in the community. Your purchase will go twice as far to give these darlin’, squeaky birds a cozy home this winter and a place to raise their young in the springtime.

Don’t search high and low for the perfect gift for the bird lover on your list. Click here to find a participating store in your neighborhood or order one online
http://ncaudubonblog.org/2014/11/a-nuthatch-home-for-the-holidays/
Making Ours a Bird-Friendly Community
We had a good turnout for our special meeting on Bird-Friendly Communities on November 18, and folks offered lots of good ideas on how our chapter can move forward with the Nest Boxes for Nuthatches project and the Bird-Friendly Communities Initiative.

Lynn Moseley provided an overview of the nuthatch PowerPoint presentation, and Stella Wear gave us an update on our chapter’s efforts to help that quintessential Southern bird, the Brown-headed Nuthatch. To date we have distributed 121 nest boxes and at least 30 metal excluders for turning bluebird houses into nuthatch houses by making the entry hole smaller — if the hole is only 1.25” or 1” in diameter, bluebirds will leave the nest box alone (they can’t fit in!) and will allow other, smaller birds like our nuthatches to nest there in peaceful co-existence.

We currently have placed nest boxes in private yards and public parks. Ideas for other places to locate boxes include schools, retirement homes, and office parks. If you have connections with some place like this that might be willing to put up a nuthatch nest box, please let the Bird-Friendly Communities Team know so we can follow up. We also need people to monitor nest boxes from March to June each year.

Ann Walter-Fromson showed Audubon NC’s “Bird-Friendly Gardening” PowerPoint presentation and talked about why native plants are so important for helping birds (native insects can eat native plants, and insects are what 96 percent of land birds feed their young in the nest), the different kinds of foods native plants provide for birds, and what else folks can do to make their yards welcoming to birds. As you probably know, Audubon NC produced a beautiful brochure on Native Plants for Birds for each of the three regions of the state (Coast, Piedmont, Mountain) and these are available in Spanish, as well. We discussed where else we could distribute these brochures, and what groups in our community might be interested in learning about Bird-Friendly Gardening.

If you know of a scout group, garden club, neighborhood association, school, or church group that would like to hear about Bird-Friendly Gardening, please let us know.

While the brochures and the Bird-Friendly Gardening presentation help to create a demand for native plants, Audubon NC is also working with growers across the state to create a supply of native plants through the Local Roots initiative. We have a special opportunity to assist with that effort by staffing an Audubon NC exhibit at the Green and Growin’ Trade Show at the Greensboro Coliseum on January 8 and 9, 2015. We will talk to growers and encourage them to make a commitment to grow a set of Native Bird-Friendly Plants of the Year in exchange for marketing tools and publicity. Thanks to the seven people who have already signed up to help at the trade show. We still need volunteers for Friday, Jan. 9 in the morning and for an hour in the afternoon. If you have time to spare that day, and would like to help, please contact Kim Brand at kbrand@audubon.org.

For more information on Local Roots, Bird-Friendly Plants, and how to Make a Little Room for the Brown-Headed Nuthatch, visit http://nc.audubon.org. And please, send us your ideas on how we can make Greensboro and Guilford County a more bird-friendly community, and volunteer to help us talk to other groups about native plants and nuthatches and to put up and monitor nest boxes. Together we can accomplish much more!

— Ann Walter-Fromson for The Bird-Friendly Communities Team of Lynn Moseley, Stella Wear & Ann Walter-Fromson.

TGPAS Board Email Addresses
(click name to send email)
Dennis Burnette
Sue Cole
Judy Hoag
Jack Jezorek
Lynn Moseley
Gregg Morris
Marie Poteat
Courtney Vass
Stella Wear

Tom Wear

Click here for our website
Click here for National Audubon website

Enjoying Nature With Audubon
Friends in December
The holidays are upon us, and Auduboners are in a festive mood! We will celebrate on Thursday evening, December 11, at 7:00 PM. As always, we will be at the KCE Family Branch Library in Price Park. Please don’t bring any food. Our chapter will provide lots of holiday goodies to eat again this year.

We are sticking with our tradition of having a program made up entirely of members’ nature photos. You don’t have to be an expert photographer to show your photos. All are welcome. As we’ve said all year, if you have a cell phone, you probably have a camera, and many of you have been using them on our outings. They don’t all have to be from Guilford County or North Carolina, by the way. Just make sure that your photographs are of nature topics; no general travel or family photos, please!

Some ideas for photo subjects could come from some of the programs that we’ve had this year, including birds at your feeder, wildflowers, butterflies and other interesting insects, frogs and lizards, scenic vistas, beautiful fall colors...well, you get the idea. Also, if you shot photos on our TGPAS field trips and Second Sunday Nature Walks, we would enjoy seeing pictures of our members having fun, too.

Each person will have 15 minutes to show photos. If you figure about 30 seconds on the screen per picture, that will come out to about 30 photos per person. To simplify things this year, we are asking participants to bring digital photos on a flash drive (“memory stick”). These devices have become so inexpensive that you should be able to find one at an office supply or consumer electronics store for around $10.

We need a “photo RSVP"! In the past we have had some confusion about how many people were bringing photos to share, so this year we’re asking that people let us know in advance. That will allow us to plan our timing accordingly. It’s okay if you decide to bring photos at the last minute, but we would like to have some idea of how many we can count on. To be fair, those who RSVP will get to go first in case we run out of time. To RSVP, contact Dennis Burnette (deburnette@triad.rr.com, 299-4342), who is coordinating the photo show.

We have tried something new for the last couple of years that we’re going to do again: We plan to have a nature book exchange this year. Many of us have old field guides and other nature books that we don’t use any more, but they would be great for beginners. Please bring them and we’ll put them out on a table. You can bring nature art, usable bird feeders, and other items someone might want, too. It will be a great way to recycle useful nature-oriented items. Those who bring something to exchange will have first choice from the table. After that, we’ll open it up to everyone.

Please plan to join us for this fun holiday celebration. We hope to see you on December 11!

A Walk in Our Own State Park
What: Second Sunday Nature Walk
Where: Haw River State Park.
When: Sunday, December 14 Meet at 1:45 for 2:00 PM departure across from Whole Foods Market, Friendly Shopping Center.

 
Our chapter’s Second Sunday Nature Walk on December 14 will visit Haw River State Park in northern Guilford County near the Rockingham County line. For GPS and map utility use, the address is 339 Conference Center Drive, Browns Summit, NC 27214. If you would prefer to meet us in the park, we will gather in front of the main office at about 2:45. We expect to finish in time to be back in Greensboro by 5:00 pm.
 
Our Second Sunday Nature Walks are family friendly activities, and Haw River State Park is a great place for both kids and adults to experience a bit of the out of doors. The park comprises nearly 300 acres of Piedmont hardwood forest, meadows, and wetlands near the headwaters of the river for which it’s named. We’ll be looking for winter birds that are arriving now, and are sure to find some late fall wildflowers and native fruits. If this warm weather holds, we may even see a butterfly or two. We also will be on the lookout for signs of other creatures, such as deer or raccoon footprints.
 
Hiking in the park is not demanding, although sturdy shoes are always a good idea. Trails through the woods are cleared but have exposed roots and rocks in some places. If we have time, we will make our way around the lake edge and up to the Haw River itself (which is just a stream here) where we will be able to walk through a wetland along a newly repaired boardwalk.
 
Second Sunday Nature Walks occur whether it’s sunny or cloudy, warm or cold, so plan to come unless the weather forecast is for rain all day. Since December  weather can be changeable, it would be a good idea to dress in layers. You can bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them, but don’t worry if you don’t. Our friendly group of nature watchers is always happy to share.
 
We hope you’ll join us on the second Sunday in December for our trip to Haw River State Park!

Join Us in a Holiday Tradition

Sign-up for the 115th Christmas Bird Count; it’s free to participate!
 
We will be doing our Guilford County Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 20. Nationally, Audubon chapters, bird clubs, and tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas will take part in an adventure that has become a tradition for generations.
 
Everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count as a “citizen scientist,” from field observers and feeder-watchers to count compilers and regional editors, does does this fun annual count for the love of birds and to experience the beauty of nature – and with the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation. Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations - and to help guide conservation action.
 
Teams will count birds in assigned areas within the designated 15-mile circle. Some teams need new counters for all or part of the day, and new birders are welcome. Contact the Guilford County count coordinator, Elizabeth Link, 273-4672, elzlink@yahoo.com, to learn how you can join in on this fun event.
Calendar
Dec. 11 (Thur) Program: Holiday Slide Show and Social – “Visual Treats with Tasty Treats”
Dec. 14 (Sun) Second Sunday Nature Walk: Haw River State Park
Dec. 20 (Sat) Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Contact: Elizabeth Link, 336-273-467

Jan. 4 (Sun) Beginner’s Bird Walk at the KCEF Library starting at 1:30 PM, joint program with PBC
Jan. 8 (Thur) Program: “It takes a Village: Communal Nesting and Cooperative Breeding in Birds” Speaker: Lynn Moseley, Professor of Biology Emeritus, Guilford College  
Jan. 10, 2015 (Sat) Field Trip: White Street Landfill with PBC – Morning walk, exact time TBD
Jan. 11 (Sun) Second Sunday Nature Walk: Lake Townsend – Waterfowl


 
All Photos in this issue are by Dennis Burnette
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