July IBA of the Month: Highlands Plateau
Each month we feature one of the 97 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in North Carolina on our blog. In July we are highlighting the Highlands Plateau IBA. Visit the blog to get interesting facts and learn more about this area’s amazing bird diversity.
The Highlands Plateau has long been known as a unique place for birds. The southern terminus of the higher elevation parts of the Appalachians, the Highlands Plateau hosts a wide variety of high elevation and northern species that reach their southern limit of distribution here. In the cool hemlock and white pine stands of the plateau, birds normally found up in the spruce fir forest find their homes here. Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Red Crossbill all call the Plateau home. Mixed with them are a variety of wood warblers like Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, and Canada Warblers. Veery, Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak help round out the list of 90 or so breeding species on the Highlands Plateau.
Another interesting characteristic of the Plateau is that it is also been a tourist and second home destination for more than a century. The small towns of Highlands and Cashiers are embedded in this IBA, making it one of the few IBAs with whole towns within its boundary. While visiting Highlands it is easy to see and hear Red Crossbills and Pine Siskins flying over Main Street, or to see Rose-breasted Grosbeaks in the church parking lot downtown, or to have Black-Throated Blue Warblers in the parking lot of the Bascom, the fine art museum in Highlands.
Audubon North Carolina has launched a special communication and partner program called “Treasure Highlands” to raise the profile of conservation efforts and easy things residents and visitors can do to make their land and decisions better for birds and the whole Plateau. Visit the Treasure Highlands website for more information at www.treasurehighlands.org.
- Birds & Wildlife
- Priority Species: Golden-winged Warbler
- Priority species: Wood Thrush
- Answers to common questions about birds
- New edition of Important Bird Areas of NC now available
- March IBA of the Month: Monkey Island
- February IBA of the Month: Outer Banks, Inshore Ocean
- January IBA of the Month: Alligator River Lowlands
- September IBA of the Month: Grandfather Mountain
- August IBA of the Month: Beacon Island
- July IBA of the Month: Highlands Plateau
- June IBA of the Month: Bald Head - Smith Island
- November IBA of the Month: New River Corridor
- October IBA of the Month: Masonboro Island
- April IBA of the Month: Bull Creek
- March IBA of the month: Lea-Hutaff Island
- Important Bird Area of the Month: Amphibolite Mountains (Feb. 2012)
- Important Bird Area of the Month: Currituck Marshes-Pine Island (Jan. 2012)
- Important Bird Area of the Month: Pungo-Pocosin Lakes IBA (Dec. 2011)
- Research will shed new light on American Oystercatchers
- Share the beach with nesting birds