Bird-Friendly Communities

Why I Volunteer at “Bird O’clock”

Launched in 2013, Audubon North Carolina’s Bird-Friendly Communities initiative is a partnership program involving more than 20 organizations with a vision for creating a more bird-friendly North Carolina. This vision statement guides the goals and projects of the group: “Bird-friendly communities give birds the opportunity to succeed by providing connected habitat dominated by native plants, minimizing threats posed by the built environment, and engaging people of all ages and backgrounds in stewardship of nature.”

Getting up before dawn to listen for owls is one thing, but getting up before dawn to look for dead birds is another story altogether. Why do dedicated teams of Audubon volunteers in Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Charlotte wake up at “bird o’clock” to survey downtown streets on early spring and fall mornings?

Longtime Wake Audubon leader, Audubon North Carolina board of trustees member, and passionate bird conservationist Lena Gallitano asked her fellow Lights Out volunteers to share why they volunteer.Read on to see why Raleigh’s Lights Out volunteers give their mornings for the benefit of birds.

Photo: Lena Gallitano

“I want to help the birds make it through their long migration journeys.”

“The two most important things I have done with Wake Audubon are coordinate the Lumber River Important Bird Area counts and participate in the Lights Out surveys. While they have been very different emotional experiences, they have similar value in that they provide essential data in determining vital information about birds in our state. The environments are very different – very rural swamplands and about-to-wake-up urban hustle. But the feeling of being useful is almost equal.”

"Wake Audubon asked for help. I usually skip breakfast and wouldn’t otherwise have an excuse to down a delicious omelet at the Morning Times. It’s fun to watch the city wake up. And I like the idea of participating, in some small way, in a research project that may ultimately benefit birds and contributes to our understanding of some facet of their behavior.”

“It’s an easy way to work toward undoing some of the negative impacts people have had on the rest of Earth’s inhabitants.”

“Because birds are so very important to our world and its survival, plus it is good to give to such a group as Audubon – serving a good cause, growing in my own awareness, stepping outside of my own small box.”

Many thanks to all of our Lights Out volunteers for their hard work!

For more information on Lights Out in North Carolina visit the Audubon North Carolina website.

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