Carl and Caroline are still a little sore from all that flying, but they finally reached the North Carolina coast! The first of three destinations around the state, the coast was the perfect place for them to relax and unwind before the rest of their journey. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have an exciting time!
Not only did they tell coastal-dwellers about the Cardinal Club monthly giving program, Carl and Caroline got to see many of the ways Audubon is protecting their fellow feathery friends. Funding from the Cardinal Club supports programs that promote and protect the health of natural areas that are important for birds and wildlife.
Carl and Caroline first visited with Robbie Fearn, the Center Director at the Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary in Corolla. The 2,600-acre natural area is home to thousands of waterfowl in the winter. The mating pair learned that this area is one of the last, untouched coastal marshes on the Outer Banks. To protect it, Audubon NC has been working on conservation projects in the region including improving water quality and planning for sea-level rise.
While they were there, Carl and Caroline learned how to fly in a V-formation from some of their waterfowl friends, including Tundra Swans, Canada Geese and Mallards.
No trip to the coast is complete without visiting a lighthouse! They took a tour of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and then flew down to the nearby Outer Banks, Inshore Ocean Important Bird Area (IBA). They met with some volunteers who will be conducting Christmas Bird Counts for birds like the Surf Scoter, Red-throated Loon and Ring-billed Gull that call the Outer Banks home in the winter.
Next up on their trip, Carl and Caroline watched a beautiful sunset at the Masonboro Island IBA in New Hanover County. This barrier island is only accessible by boat, so it’s a good thing Carl and Caroline have wings! This is one of the only places their colorful friend the Purple Sandpiper can be found in the winter. These little fellas winter the farthest north of any shorebird, and some of them chose North Carolina!
While they were spreading the word at the coast, Carl and Caroline decided to visit Battery Island bird sanctuary. This natural island is home to the largest wading bird colony in the state during the breeding season, and one of North America’s most significant areas for White Ibises. The island is off-limits to humans, unfortunately, but Carl and Caroline visited for you! They said that they could see Audubon NC has been doing an amazing job protecting it. While most of the birds had migrated for the winter, Carl and Caroline got to see the beautiful home of the Tricolored Herons, American Oystercatchers and Black-crowned Night-Herons without thousands of them blocking the view.
With help from their friends and Audubon NC, Carl and Caroline had an amazing time at the coast. After their trip, however, they are looking for a forever home. They encourage Audubon members to vote for cities they should settle down in NC. To vote, ‘like’ a post on the Audubon NC Facebook Page.
If you would like to make life a little cozier for birds that call NC home, you can join the Cardinal Club. Your monthly gift of a minimum $5 will go directly toward the conservation, protection and sustainability of habitats that NC birds need to thrive.