Carl and Caroline Reach the Peak- The Mountains!

Over the last month, Carl and Caroline have traveled far and wide across North Carolina. This week, they visited the mountains, the final destination for their last adventure spreading the word about the Cardinal Club. They made sure to bundle up with their feather hats and wing mittens- it was cold!

Both Carl and Caroline agreed they were most excited to learn what Audubon NC has been doing to protect their colorful friend and mountain native, the Golden-winged Warbler (GWWA). They met up with Audubon NC conservation biologist Aimee Tomcho at the Nantahala Mountains IBA to find out more.

Carl was very excited to hear what Aimee had to say about the Golden-winged Warbler.

The GWWA’s population has declined by 10 percent in some areas of western North Carolina in the last decade. Because they require a unique early successional habitat, their populations have been impacted by human development and forest maturation.

To combat this, Audubon NC engaged forest landowners to put the natural lands to work for the GWWA. Carl and Caroline learned that not only have landowners been agreeing to help, but Audubon NC has united birders internationally through the Golden-winged Warbler Working Group. The GWWA’s future is looking brighter in North Carolina.

While Carl couldn’t visit his GWWA friends because they’ve migrated to Nicaragua for the winter, he did see some other beaked buddies! At the same IBA, he met up with another colorful friend, the Golden-crowned Kinglet, a small bird that likes to be treated royally.

No trip is complete without a stop by Grandfather Mountain, which has the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains! This iconic attraction also happens to be an IBA- so Carl and Caroline knew they had to pay a visit. They learned that these peaks serve as some of the most diverse breeding sites for birds in North Carolina, and that it’s in jeopardy because of air pollution.

Audubon NC works with Grandfather Mountain staff to conduct point counts on species like the Northern Saw-whet Owl and to conduct the Grandfather Mountain Christmas Bird Count. If you participated in the latter and saw cardinals, you may have seen Carl and Caroline!

Throughout their trip they saw other feathered friends that were in town for the winter, like the Red-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadee and Brown Creeper.

Carl visited the Cone Manor on the Blue Ridge Parkway. He’d like to have a home like that someday!

All of these birds can call Important Bird Areas their home because of Audubon NC. These 96 areas have been identified as essential habitats for bird population success, and conservation efforts have been put in place to protect them.

Audubon is conserving these habitats, along with many others, to help birds in North Carolina have a more comfortable and safe home. If you would like to support the cause year-round, join the Cardinal Club! It’s simple. Each month, your chosen donation amount will be deducted from your credit card, and the funds will go directly to elevating the lives of birds in North Carolina!

Carl and Caroline are now on their way back home to in the Piedmont to rest after their trip.

While they’re sad to see their journey end, Carl and Caroline are also very excited to settle down. ‘Like’ a post here to cast your vote for the area you think they should build their forever nest.