Audubon North Carolina has 10 amazing chapters across the state who help put a local focus on bird preservation and conservation issues. In this special blog series, we’ll focus on a chapter each month to learn more about their history, what they are working on, and to increase the statewide understanding of special ecosystems and habitats. Each month will include a series of posts about each chapter including a post from our biologists that will share a unique research project that is happening in the chapter’s geographic footprint.
This month, we get to know the T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society. Read on to learn more about our chapter’s birding site, the Audubon Natural Area, located at Tankersley Drive, Greensboro. Please welcome guest-blogger Dennis Burnette.
The T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society (TGPAS) maintains an 11-acre natural oasis in an urban environment in Greensboro, NC. Called the T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Natural Area (Audubon Natural Area) it has been a favorite birding site since our chapter signed a maintenance agreement with the City of Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department in 1976.
The property is owned by nearby Cone Hospital. The City has a 99-year lease based upon the condition that the area be maintained for recreation. It’s also used as an open space and quiet spot for the public, as well as for the convenience of visitors and patients of the hospital.
Although it’s officially a City of Greensboro park, TGPAS has been designated to manage the natural area. We agreed to construct a walking path beginning at a bicycle parking area.
In actuality, we have two trails—a short one through a meadow and a somewhat longer one through the woods, with access to the creek that flows through the site. We have installed signage that identifies the plant life of the area. The City of Greensboro has provided picnic tables, a bike rack and a trashcan.
There is a surprising number of wildlife species in this small urban natural area. We have put up nest boxes for Eastern Bluebirds and Brown-headed Nuthatches that attract residents each year. We have seen many of the common perching birds of the upper Piedmont in the woodland, and the creek hosts Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers, and other birds that like being near water. Red-tailed Hawks often perch on the power line structures that span the area and Red-shouldered Hawks forage along the creek and wetlands.
Other wildlife occurs in the natural area as well. We often see evidence of deer, raccoons and beavers. The small meadow supports several species of butterflies and other native pollinators. Within the woods, we encounter wildflowers, especially in the spring.
In addition to being a quiet place to observe wildlife, the Audubon Natural Area serves as an outdoor classroom. We conduct nature walks there and hold educational activities such as tree identification workshops.
The Audubon Natural Area is located on Tankersley Drive, a one block north of Cone Hospital between North Elm and Church streets. There are no posted hours of operation, but we follow the pattern of other city parks by generally conforming to the daylight hours of the season.
The Audubon Natural Area is a great place for birders and other nature lovers to take a quiet break from city life in the midst of commercial, institutional and residential Greensboro.
Get to know more of our 10 chapter across North Carolina. Read our Chapter of the Month series here.