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Mecklenburg Audubon citizen science projects
picture of prothonotary eggs in a nest box
Nest Box Monitoring
The Birdhouse Network, a continentwide monitoring program, is conducted by citizen scientists of all ages across North America. Participants monitor nest boxes and collect valuable information about clutch size, calcium use, nest-site selection, and feathers used in nest building. Particpants learn 98about birds and science in an exciting "hands on" approach, while observing the lives of birds up close.
As part of a Parks Challenge Grant, Mecklenburg Audubon Society works with the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department to put up and monitor nest boxes on the county nature preserves and Cowan's Ford Wildlife Refuge. For more information contact Don Seriff.
   
Breeding Bird Atlas
Mecklenburg Audubon is in its fourth and final year of collecting data for the firsts county level breeding bird atlas for either of the Carolinas.
Over the past three decades, natural habitat has been lost at an alarming rate in Mecklenburg County. A recent "Urban Ecosystem Analysis" conducted in the county by American Forests, determined the size of the urban area increased 60% during this period. Thus, the amount and quality of wildlife habitat here has been dramatically reduced and the long-term survival of many of our local wildlife species, especially many species of birds, has become tenuous. Data are needed for the determination of conservation status ranks and the development of management plans designed to help insure thesurvival of each species and the long-term viability of their populations. Atlas data also aid in the detection of new breeding species and can illustrate retractions or expansions in local and regional breeding ranges.
Read more or visit our BBA website.
Caroline chickadee at nestbox hole with a caterpillar in its beak
 
Logo for mecklenburg county's breeding bird atlas
Mecklenburg Audubon sponsored christmas bird counts
Gaston County • Contact: Steve Tracy
For many animals the Catabaw River can act as a barrier. Only the heartiest mammal will attempt to swim across the river. Birds, however, are not as easily intimated. And birders shouldn't be phased by the river either. That's why we are teaming up with the birders from the Gastonia area to conduct the Gaston County Christmas Count. This will be a great opportunity to get to know our neighbors and explore new birding hots. All the details haven't been worked out yet but plan to spend at least a morning if not the entire day getting to know Gaston County. If you are interested in starting a new tradition contact Steve Tracy.

Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush ©Jeff Lemons

S. Lake Norman • Contact: Taylor Piephoff
This is by far the best count circle in the Piedmont. Because of the wide variety of habitat ­ open fields, large lake, small ponds and wetlands, mixed hardwood forest, old farms the potential for unusual birds is great. In some ways this count is like a tour through Peterson's guide with a smattering of species from loons all the way through to the sparrows with representatives of almost everything in between. Groups will start before dawn to catch the owls and woodcocks. Others will meet at 7:00 AM. There are fast food places in the count circle (in Cornelius) but you may want to bring food to munch on for energy and warmth. Although you might spend a fair amount of time in the car, warm clothes and sturdy shoes are a must. A tally up dinner will be held at 5:30 PM. Contact Taylor Piephoff for specific assignments.
Common Loon
Common Loon
winter plumage
Charlotte • Contact: Ken Kneidel
The granddaddy of the counts, this circle still encompasses a surprising variety of habitat considering suburban sprawl which has taken over much of the area. There are still patches of woods, ponds, lakes, streams and open fields which turn up a interesting variety of resident and wintering species. In the last 5 years we have averaged around 90 species. A remarkable number considering the wholesale lost of habitat over the past 20 years which just proves the tenacity of the birds. Although this is an all day event if you can only participate in the morning or afternoon you are more than welcome. Since fast food establishments (and warmth) will be just around the corner packing a lunch is optional although a thermos of coffee never hurt. There will be a tally up dinner at Wing Haven [248 Ridgewood Ave.] at 5:30 PM. Just bring your appetites and good birding stories. Too assure even and complete coverage of the area those who wish to participate should contact Ken Kneidel.
Yellow-rumped Warbler winter plumage
Yellow-rumped Warbler
winter plumage
Pee Dee NWR • Contact: Judy Walker
There is nothing quite like knowing you are the only one wandering the paths of a wildlife refuge. That's what it is like at the Pee Dee Count. We have the refuge to ourselves and its a wonderful opportunity to see a wide variety of birds and hopefully other animals in a truly wild environment. Habitats include open fields, mixed woodlands and small lakes and ponds. Red-headed woodpeckers and ducks abound and if we are lucky a few Tundra Swans might grace the landscape. We will meet at 5:45 AM at the McDonald's at the Windsor Square Shopping Center on Independence. We will be out in the field all day so remember to dress warmly as things can get pretty cold out in the fields. Waterproof shoes would also be helpful but not necessary. There will be a hot lunch to warm our inners and energize us for an afternoon of more birding. If you plan to attend contact Judy Walker.
Fox Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
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