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Wednesday, 17 May 2017 00:00

Updates for birders

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Science for the birds

An open house and bird-banding event at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont will mark a month-long celebration of citizen science, 9 a.m. to noon Friday, May 26. 

Nets set up around Tremont’s campus as part of a long-term bird monitoring study allow faculty to collect birds caught there, record information and band the birds before releasing them. On May 26, community members will get to participate and see wild birds up close. Between May and August, eight different public banding events will be held. 

In addition to the bird banding, the open house will feature volunteers onsite to share information about other research projects underway at Tremont, and a variety of hands-on activities will introduce visitors to the world of citizen science. Activities will include monarch butterfly tagging, taking tree data, monitoring soil, monitoring aquatic salamanders and more. 

Free, with no registration necessary.


Birding list published for Sandy Mush

A new birding checklist for the 2,795-acre Sandy Mush Game Land is now available online, featuring 169 species and information about the relative abundance and seasonal occurrence of each. 

The checklist includes 11 species that the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has identified as Species of Greatest Conservation Need. These species are believed to breed on or adjacent to the game lands; many others stop over during migration or overwinter on the game lands. 

Birders can share their sightings on eBird, a real-time online bird checklist. This helps biologists better understand the local bird population. 

Commission staff developed the birding lists with help from local birders and members of the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society. Funding for the Commission’s work with songbirds comes from multiple sources including state wildlife grants, Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration and the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund. 

The checklist is available at


Bird the Parkway

A pair of Western Carolina University professors will lead a birding excursion beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday, May 27, on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Jeremy Hyman and Barbara Ballentine, both professors in WCU’s biology department, will meet the group at the Cashiers Recreation Center and head out from there. The excursion will feature roadside birding and easy walking. 

Free, with all experience levels welcome. 828.526.1939 or

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