Audubon biologist to speak in Highlands

Curtis Smalling, the mountain region biologist for Audubon N.C., will speak at a program for the Highlands Plateau Society at 8 p.m. on Monday, June 13. The next day, Smalling will lead a bird watching field trip at 7:30 p.m. around Highlands.

Smalling began keeping bird lists in elementary school and has used his birding skills to survey golden-winged warblers in Western North Carolina for Audubon. He has taken part in Cornell University’s golden-winged warbler Atlas Project, which was designed to determine the population status and habitat of the golden-winged warbler, the blue-winged warbler and their hybrids.

The golden-winged warbler is a small, strikingly marked and near-threatened species. It’s generally declining across its range, most likely as a result of habitat loss and competition/interbreeding with the very closely related blue-winged warbler. Smalling has done extensive research on these warblers in the wintering grounds in Nicaragua, and his program will feature photographs of these and other warblers in WNC.

The program is free, open to the public and will be held at the Highlands Civic Center. 828.787.1387.

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