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 New Hope Audubon.
Read on to learn more about our chapter serving Chatham, Durham and Orange counties in the piedmont.
A charter was granted to the New Hope Audubon Society (NHAS) after Barbara Roth, a young chemist who transferred to the area through the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, petitioned the National Audubon Society to start a local chapter. A provisional charter was granted in October 1974. New Hope’s Barbara Roth and Julie Moore instituted the first Jordan Lake Christmas Bird Count in 1977, and the event continues to be held every holiday season.
New Hope Audubon serves Chatham, Durham, Orange and parts of several additional counties in the Central North Carolina piedmont region. Our mission is to promote the conservation and enjoyment of birds, other wildlife and natural ecosystems through public education, field research, advocacy, direct citizen action and contributions to nonprofit organizations with similar goals.
How Many Members
- Membership meetings at the North Carolina Botanical Gardenon the first Thursday of each month (from September through May)
- Stream Watch for New Hope Creek (a team led by John Kent has tested and compiled water quality data for 23 years!)
- Christmas and spring bird countsat Jordan Lake
- Eagle Scout environmental projects
- Monthly bird walks
- Outreach at schools and local festivals.
In addition, we take on larger projects each year, such as constructing a wildlife-viewing platform on Jordan Lake, and building an educational bird blind for children at the NC Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill. This past year we helped in the construction of a boardwalk at the Mason Farm Preserve, provided guidance for the developing Bird-Friendly Communities project at Fearrington Village, and have begun monitoring the 26 Barn Owl nest boxes we installed during the past couple of years.
Birds to See in the New Hope Audubon Society Area
According to Duke University’s Will Cook, more than 340 species of birds have been sighted in the New Hope Audubon territory. Our area comprises a variety of habitats, so there are many different bird families represented. Located on the Atlantic Flyway migration path, many eastern North American bird species pass through our area during their journey north during the spring or south during the fall. We sponsor two Important Bird Areas—Jordan Lake and the Eno River Bottomlands, which provide critical habitat for both resident and migrant species of birds.
Most of the types of warblers seen on the east coast pass through our area and are routinely seen while migrating or nesting here. Attractive common nesters in our pine forests include Summer Tanagers, Pine Warblers and Brown-headed Nuthatches. In our hardwood forests, we have spotted Yellow-throated Warblers, American Redstarts, Wood Thrushes, and Pileated and Red-headed Woodpeckers. While bird watching at nearby lakes, local bird watchers often see Wood Ducks, Great-blue Herons, Great Egrets, Double-crested Cormorants and Green Herons. In recent years, birders have noticed Anhingas and King Rails taking advantage of impoundments created by beavers in shallow parts of Jordan Lake.
Click here for a complete checklist of birds in our area.
Where Are the Best Birding Spots in our Area
- Butner Gamelands/Brickhouse Road is located in northern Durham County off of Old Oxford Highway. This area is a good bird-watching destination year-round! It includes some land along Falls Lake, so there are Bald Eaglesvisible all year, and ducks and grebes can be spotted in the winter. In the summer, there are a good variety of warblers (including Prothonotary, Parula and Prairie Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chats and Common Yellowthroats), tanagers, Blue Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings and many others.
- Mason Farmis located behind Finley Golf Course off of Old Mason Farm Road in Chapel Hill. There is a loop trail, and bird watching is productive year-round. There are a good variety of birds here including Eastern Bluebirds, Blue Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings. In winter, this is a good place to find Swamp Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, White-throated Sparrows, Hermit Thrushes and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.
- Bynum Bridge and State Park area is located off of Highway 15-501 in Chatham County. This area is best during migration. Many birds seem to be funneled along the Haw River, and can be viewed on the old bridge that is now closed to vehicular traffic. Birds seen here include all warbler species, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, tanagers, Spotted Sandpipersand many others.
- Jordan Lake Wildlife Viewing Platformis located off of Martha’s Chapel Rd., east of the intersection with Farrington Point Rd. Bald Eagles, Osprey and vultures are almost always in view here. In the winter, thousands of ring-billed gulls can be found along with a variety of other gulls.
Click here for a complete list of birding locations in the NHAS region.
Join This Chapter
Joining our group is easy! Visit our website at newhopeaudubon.org/membership.html. We accept Paypal. You can also find out about our activities by clicking on the calendar icon at our website, liking us on Facebook, checking out our newsletter, or following us on Twitter.
If you would like to donate to the New Hope Audubon Society, please click here.