Mountain Climate Stronghold

Pisgah Natl Forest. Photo: Jeff Gunn/Flickr CC

As one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains are a biodiversity hotspot and contain one of the largest, most important climate strongholds for birds. Significant elevation changes, complex terrain and associated rain and snow conditions support birds with diverse climate requirements in this area. This includes birds that require deciduous forest, high elevation and open/agricultural habitat conditions. Audubon’s climate models predict that many songbird species will migrate from other parts of the state into the mountains in search of cooler, wetter conditions. Protecting land in the mountains, ensuring forests are managed in a bird-friendly way and growing native plants in mountain towns and cities, are key priorities for Audubon in this area.

Mountain Climate Stronghold

Key climate-threatened birds and habitat “guilds"

Climate-threatened birds can be grouped according to the type of habitat that they prefer.  This climate stronghold is likely to include suitable habitat and climate conditions for many birds threatened by climate change, including key birds listed below.

Deciduous forest species:

High-elevation species:

Open/agricultural land species:

Key Conservation Partners

Government: National Park Service, National Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, North Carolina State Parks, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina Forest Service, North Carolina Division of Soil & Water Conservation

National & State NGOs: The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, Conservation Trust for North Carolina

Local Land Trusts: Land Trust for the Little Tennessee, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, Blue Ridge Conservancy, New River Conservancy, Piedmont Land Conservancy

Blue Ridge Mountains_akshay_flickr_CC

Blue Ridge Mountains Photo: Akshay/Flickr CC

How you can help climate-threatened birds

  1. Sign up for Audubon North Carolina’s action alerts. Find out when state lawmakers are making important decisions that will impact protection of climate strongholds and other natural areas in the state. Click here to join.
  2. Become an Audubon Ambassador. Audubon Ambassadors are volunteers working with state staff, Audubon chapters, and local communities to spread the word about the effects of climate change on birds, which includes recruiting others with a hopeful, solutions-oriented message.
  3. Grow native plants. Your yard and the plants in it can make a big difference for wildlife. Growing native plants provides critical food and shelter for birds to survive and thrive in the face of climate change.
  4. Are you a birder? Help Audubon refine and improve our climate modeling by participating in Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count and Climate Watch. Your participation will help us continue to refine our climate models and prioritize actions to protect birds.

News & Updates

For One Western North Carolina Landowner, Retirement is for the Birds
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For One Western North Carolina Landowner, Retirement is for the Birds

Russell Blevins' commitment to habitat management is good news for the Golden-winged Warblers that share his property with him.

Letting it Grow: How Landowners are Helping Birds by Mowing Less
Forest Legacy Landbird Project - Working Lands

Letting it Grow: How Landowners are Helping Birds by Mowing Less

Allison Bovée and Mary Vogel have changed their landscaping practices at BirdTown Cabins in western North Carolina to create new bird habitat.

Neighbors Band Together for Golden-winged Warblers
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Neighbors Band Together for Golden-winged Warblers

In Mitchell County, landowners are turning a power line right-of-way into prime habitat for a declining warbler.

Welcoming Golden-winged Warblers to a Working Farm
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Welcoming Golden-winged Warblers to a Working Farm

The owners of Shady Grove Gardens in Ashe County open their farm to birds and birders every spring.

Audubon fills NC General Assembly on Lobby Day to advocate for birds
Advocacy

Audubon fills NC General Assembly on Lobby Day to advocate for birds

Members from across the state sat down with lawmakers to talk about conservation funding and clean energy.

Steward It and They Will Come
Working Lands

Steward It and They Will Come

The owners of B and L Organic farm carefully steward their land for Golden-winged Warblers and other wildlife.

Lame-duck Session 2018 a Good One for Birds
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2018 Lame-duck Session Ends

— The North Carolina legislature's special session was a good one for birds.
Join the 119th Audubon Christmas Bird Count
Bird-Friendly Communities

Join the 119th Audubon Christmas Bird Count

We need volunteers for the longest-running community science project in the world, this Dec. 14 through Jan. 5.

Op-ed: "Let wind ban expire — wind, military, birds can coexist"
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Wind, military, birds can co-exist

Read Executive Director Andrew Hutson's op-ed in the Daily Advance here.

Baseball for the Birds: A New North Carolina Team Rallies Around an Endangered Species
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Baseball for the Birds: A New North Carolina Team Rallies Around an Endangered Species

Inspired by the Red-cockaded Woodpecker's resilience, the Houston Astros affiliate has chosen the bird to be its official mascot.

How you can help, right now