Last year, Audubon North Carolina staff, Forsyth Audubon Society volunteers and national research partners trapped 22 Wood Thrushes in Winston-Salem and Pinnacle, and outfitted them with GPS trackers. Now, one year later, they returned to the region to recapture and retrieve data from the same birds to enhance understanding of this imperiled species. 

Recapture efforts were held at Winston-Salem’s Historic Bethabara Park and Pilot Mountain State Park to follow the Wood Thrush migration and to identify stopover points between North Carolina and wintering sites in Central America.

“Currently, we have no data to connect the movements of North Carolina nesting Wood Thrush with their wintering grounds in Central America,” said Curtis Smalling, Audubon North Carolina Director of Land Bird Conservation. “The data we retrieve from the recaptured birds will be a tremendous breakthrough for Wood Thrush research and land management efforts to protect vital habitats along the entire Atlantic Flyway.”

According to Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report, the Wood Thrush is among 314 species threatened by climate change and projected to lose 82 percent of its current summer range within this century. As their habitats dwindle, understanding the places they need to survive along their entire migration route will be vital to protecting them over time. 

The GPS technology used to track Wood Thrushes will further bird conservation efforts worldwide and unlock secrets to better understand and protect these birds as they face increasing challenges. The geolocators were programmed to record 52 location points along their migration path. Data recovered from the devices will be available later this summer. 

The Wood Thrush trapping project is a collaborative effort by the National Audubon Society’s International Alliances Program, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Forsyth Audubon Society and Audubon North Carolina. 

“This project was made possible because of the passion of our volunteers and the collaboration of our organizations from the local to the national level,” said Kim Brand, Audubon North Carolina Bird-Friendly Communities Coordinator. “The local Forsyth Audubon Society chapter generously raised $15,000, which contributed to North Carolina being chosen as a research site, and we’re incredibly thankful for their hard work and commitment to Wood Thrush conservation.”

Recapturing efforts were held over two weeks at the Historic Bethabara Park and Pilot Mountain State Park. For more information on Audubon North Carolina’s Wood Thrush conservation projects, visit our website at

About Audubon North Carolina

With a century of conservation history in North Carolina, Audubon strives to conserve and restore the habitats we share with all wildlife, focusing on the needs of birds. Audubon North Carolina achieves its mission through a blend of science-based research and conservation, education and outreach, and advocacy. Audubon North Carolina has offices in Corolla, Boone, Wilmington and Chapel Hill. Learn more at and @audubonnc.


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