Working Lands

Golden-winged Warbler Biologists Plan Training Workshop

Please welcome guest-blogger and Audubon North Carolina conservation biologist Aimee Tomcho. As part of the Putting Working Lands to Work initiative, Aimee is engaging landowners across Western North Carolina to develop and restore habitat for the Golden-winged Warbler. Check in on her progress.

Birds and the habitats they occupy extend beyond the lines of state and country, private and public land. For Golden-Winged Warblers (GWWA), collaborative efforts among biologists reach beyond borders. Management efforts have increased at international wintering grounds.

Training the Trainers for Conservation

In North Carolina, outreach efforts to engage landowners in GWWA focal areas are broadening the potential for developing suitable habitats. In an effort to further expand the reach of this program, a team of biologists, including our partners at the National Wild Turkey Federation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, American Bird Conservancy, the Golden-winged Warbler Working Group and the Appalachian Mountain Joint Venture are developing a training workshop for professional land managers in the Central and Southern Appalachian Conservation Regions to be held this Fall.

Currently in the planning stages, this workshop will target organizations where people have their “boots on the ground” every day. They are the managers who cover counties and regions, forests and farms in depth. The Training Workshop Development Group hopes to “train the trainers” for ways to look at lands with early successional habitat (ESH) characteristics in mind.

Preserving Habitat for Birds and Wildlife

Throughout the region, the percentage of ESH across the landscape in the Central and Southern Appalachians has diminished in recent years. Declines in farming and forestry operations decrease habitat availability for birds such as GWWA, American Woodcocks, Prairie Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chats and Indigo Buntings that depend on the open canopies and irregular patches of shrubs.

Birds aren’t the only animals that frequent ESH areas. White-tailed Deer, Eastern Cottontails, Red Fox and Black Bears will forage and find cover within the tall grasses and berry-producing briars.

Awareness Propels Action

Partnering with other organizations for a common goal increases the odds that GWWA populations will stabilize, or even increase across the region due to increased habitat restoration efforts. The training workshop group plans to host biologists from North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky for both indoor and outdoor discussions, and management demonstrations in September 2014.

If you would like more information, please contact Aimee Tomcho, field biologist for Audubon North Carolina, at This workshop is being funded in part by our conservation partners and Keystone Initiative grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

How you can help, right now