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Audubon NC Projects Target Habitat Management Locally and Internationally

Audubon NC supported work that attached geolocators to 70 Wood Thrush for monitoring efforts; photo by Bill Hubick.
Audubon NC continued grassland conservation work in collaboration with the Blue Ridge Parkway (National Park Service). This work took place on agricultural lease lands including a native pollinator conversion on a six acre tract, restoration of an additional seven acres, and rotational management of 45 acres of grassland in a cooperative agreement.

Early Successional/Shrublands
Golden-winged Warbler (GWWA) surveys in coordination with NC Wildlife Resources Commission, USFWS, and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology were conducted at over 125 sites within North Carolina. Furthermore, Audubon NC worked with partners in Tennessee, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania on a new Conservation Effects Assessment Program (CEAP) project with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to evaluate practices for GWWA habitat enhancement. The study includes demographic, vegetation, and productivity parameters tied to specific management activities at study sites. Audubon NC is also working with land trust partners Blue Ridge Conservancy, National Committee for the New River, and Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy for management on trust lands as well as assisted in preparation of grant applications specifically for GWWA management projects. In conjunction with the NRCS Working Lands for Wildlife program, landowner outreach began through private funding and funds from Together Green Fellowship with a goal in 2012 of 1800 acres of actively managed GWWA habitat including private and public lands. Currently ten projects totaling some 2500 acres are in negotiation, plan writing, or discussion.

Work to enhance forest habitat focused on landowner outreach with about 50 active projects, including four local and community park projects, two state park units, two national forest projects, three game lands projects, and about 40 individual landowners ranging in size from 1 to 5000 acres. Total acres to date through these projects are approaching 18,000 acres. The third year of the Treasure Highlands effort was completed with the creation of a web presence (www.treasurehighlands.org), Facebook page, and extensive programming with partners to reach the broader community about birds, habitats, and management. Combined efforts have resulted in engaging over 700 school children, over 500 bird field trip participants, and over 475 indoor program participants.

Audubon NC continues to work with partners in Nicaragua for GWWA research including occurrence, habitat usage, and habitat restoration. These activities include working with two graduate students in North Carolina doing comprehensive wintering grounds research including telemetry and fine scale habitat use; providing financial support to partners in Nicaragua for MoSI (Monitoreo de Sobrevivencia Invernal; birdpop.org/MoSI/MoSI.htm) and the attachment of geolocators to 70 Wood Thrush for recovery; supporting the building of bird monitoring capacity, including the roll out of eBird for Nicaragua with close to 2,000 checklists submitted; and supporting work by University of North Carolina-Wilmington graduate students in Nicaragua to affix transmitters to GWWA and study habitat use in shade coffee and primary forest.