Birds

Birding Adventure in the High Country

Birding Adventure in the High Country

6 kids went on a gravity-defying adventure in the high country participating in BRDC’s inaugural Ornithology Camp. For four days and three nights, the kids camped out and honed their ornithology skills, searching for bird species that inhabit the diverse appalachian ecosystems of southwest Virginia.

Galax Enrichment Week - Give Me Shelter

Galax Enrichment Week - Give Me Shelter

For BRDCs Give Me Shelter course, students built and installed nest and roosting boxes for owls, bats, ducks and bluebirds. They learned about nesting strategies, comparing the enormous variety of bird and bat nests, and the importance of incorporating features preferred by the particular bird species, including the entrance hole size, the height at which the box is posted, and the type of habitat surrounding the box.

Nesting Bald Eagles Discovered along the New River in Grayson County, VA!

Nesting Bald Eagles Discovered along the New River in Grayson County, VA!

Every trip outdoors holds an opportunity for discovery, but a trip down the New River always seems to be teeming with wildlife. On this particular trip, Ellie and Roald discovered a successful nesting pair of Bald Eagles! This is a landmark discovery many of us have been looking forward to for years.

Golden-winged Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler

The golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) is a challenged species on at least two levels. Its preferred habitat of wet, brushy, early successional open areas with available perching trees is disappearing, which has contributed to the decline of this species, placing it in the ‘species of concern’ category by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Early Spring Migrants: Birds: Red-winged blackbird

Early Spring Migrants: Birds: Red-winged blackbird

Avian spring migrants come in two categories: Northbound birds and elevation transients or lateral migrators. The second group mostly consists of our high elevation breeders, such as dark-eyed juncos, that drop off the mountain tops for a few winter months in search of easier food, water and in some cases, shelter. Most of us, however, think of the distance travelers, when we talk about spring migration. 

Bird Sleuth, chapter one

Bird Sleuth, chapter one

Bird Sleuth is a program designed by Cornell's Lab of Ornithology (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Page.aspx?pid=1478).  Blue Ridge Discovery Center decided to offer a first run of this investigative and hands-on citizen science project to two classes at Grayson County High School.

Christmas Bird Counts

Christmas Bird Counts

These annual counts provide a great excuse to get out with friends and freeze. This year was gentler, with much warmer temps and less wind than usual. But the warmer weather seemed to negatively affect the bird numbers and species diversity. I am guessing, but some of my theories are: less need for the birds to form foraging flocks and less elevational migratory movement, both behaviors due to a wider abundance of food and water sources. Regardless, I had a great time on two counts…the New River and the Mount Rogers.

Hawk Watching with Galax High School

Hawk Watching with Galax High School

Mahogany Rock Hawk Watch with Galax HS Biology Students. On September 24th, BRDC hosted this year’s final Avian Adventures program at Mahogany Rock Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Teachers Emily Brown and Sam Starkey brought 12 kids for a day of hawk observations and discussions on migration.BRDC guides William Roberts and Scott Jackson-Ricketts began the program with a focus on a map, compass and questions about migratory patterns and the dynamics of energy saving flight techniques.