Ways to Help

Carl Visits the Piedmont

Carl the Traveling Cardinal has flown onwards and upwards from the beach all the way to the rolling hills of North Carolina in his ongoing journey to encourage YOU to join Audubon North Carolina’s Cardinal Club! Knowing how quickly expenses add up during the holidays, this monthly giving program allows donors spread out their donation all year long to protect North Carolina’s birds and lands.

While he was gliding through the Piedmont, Carl decided to swoop in for a pit stop at one of his favorite Important Bird Areas (IBAs) – Jordan Lake. Audubon North Carolina’s Important Bird Area Program is a global effort to identify and conserve areas that are vital to bird populations and to biodiversity. The Jordan Lake IBA covers nearly 30,000 acres of resilient hardwood, pine and deciduous forests as well as open water across Chatham and Wake counties in Central North Carolina. It is managed by the New Hope Audubon Society, with support from the US Army Corps of Engineers and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

Hey! Do you know an area in North Carolina that deserves IBA status? Let your local Audubon chapter know! They’re always open to tips for identifying sites essential to the health of local bird communities.

The waterfront forests of this IBA provide protection for numerous bird species including:

Bald Eagles Ospreys Yellow-throated Warblers
 Anhingas Anhingas Green Herons
 Double-crested Cormorants Great Egrets Great-blue Herons
 Wood Ducks Pileated Woodpeckers Wood Thrushes
 American Redstarts Pine Warblers Summer Tanagers

“Birds of a feather!” Bert chirped as he agreed to join Carl’s road-trip. Bert may either be color-blind or not the smartest egg is the nest, but we love his enthusiasm!

Out of all the beautiful birds that call Jordan Lake home, Carl’s most favorite fellow feathered friend is the Brown-headed Nuthatch (just don’t tell the Eagles, they’ll be madder than a wet hen). In fact, one of Carl’s closest pals is a Brown-headed Nuthatch (BHNU) named Bert! Bert and Carl are natural friends as both Brown-headed Nuthatch and Cardinals join mixed species flocks to forage during the winter. This natural instinct for diversity and his love for Audubon led Bert to decide to tag along for the remainder of Carl’s journey across the state!

There are several types of Nuthatches and they’re fairly easy to identify.  If you see a bird walking downward on a tree, it’s a nuthatch! Nuthatches can hold onto the bark with just their legs, enabling them to walk up and down the trunks. Does that downward trotting bird have a brown mop atop his head? Then it's likely a Brown-headed Nuthatch!

Brown-headed are the rarest of the nuthatches and generally found only in the pine forests of the southeastern United States as they excavate nest cavity in dead pines.  Due to their specific habitat needs, BHNUs are especially vulnerable to habitat loss. The species’ population has suffered a 45% decline since 1966. BHNUs have become a high-priority species within conservation efforts in the Piedmont.  Audubon North Carolina aims to place 10,000 nest boxes for Brown-headed Nuthatches by 2015 to encourage recovery of their population numbers.

Membership in the Cardinal Club helps further Audubon’s work to protect the homes and livelihoods of not only Bert and his family of Brown-headed Nuthatches, but of all of Carl’s bird friends from the coast to the mountains (yes, even the angry Eagles). So forget “flowers of the month” club, give a gift that truly matters – that of hope and safety to the millions of birds that beautify our state every day.

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