Finding The Reward In Helping Birds Thrive

Audubon North Carolina has an amazing staff across the state dedicating their time and expertise to protecting birds and their habitats, and engaging others to support bird conservation efforts. In this blog series, we will introduce you, our supporters, to the names and faces behind Audubon North Carolina.   

Describe your job with Audubon North Carolina.

I do a little bit of everything, but primarily I, with the other field staff at the coast office, work on the ground to manage, monitor, and protect coastal birds in North Carolina and beyond.

What inspired you to pursue a career in conservation?

My dad is a biologist. Growing up in southwest Florida I spent a lot of time outside. One of our favorite places to go was the Ten Thousand Islands, a huge mangrove estuary. I got particularly interested in birds in college, thanks to a really great professor, so I decided that I wanted to do work that was mostly outside and involved birds.

Why do you feel it’s important to protect and conserve birds in North Carolina? Globally?

Sharing the earth with other species has always seemed, to me, like the right thing to do. There are plenty of other benefits to having healthy ecosystems as well. And of course for many, getting to observe birds or other plants and animals has its own reward.

How is your work with Audubon North Carolina specifically helping to protect birds in NC? What particular birds does your work help protect?

Because much of our work involves protecting nesting sites for over a third of the coastal waterbirds that nest in North Carolina, we are ensuring that the state—and the region—has healthy populations of these species into the future. More than 20 species nest at our sites, and examples of species impacted by this work include the Brown Pelican, the Great Egret, the White Ibis and the Black Skimmer.

We also do work with non-breeding coastal birds like the Piping Plover, which is threatened or endangered across its range. We use the data collected to protect the habitats they rely on during migration and winter, as well as to enhance the body of scientific knowledge about each species.

What is your favorite bird? Why?

It’s probably whatever bird I happen to see at that moment, but I think some particularly fun species are the Black Skimmer and Least Tern. I also really like the American Oystercatcher. They have distinct personalities and a striking appearance.

What advice do you have for someone interested in becoming involved with bird conservation efforts?

There are many different ways to approach getting involved with conservation as a volunteer. You might want to think about your skills and strengths and see how those could be applied to benefit birds. There are all kinds of different tasks involved in conservation, and they require a range of expertise. Conversely, you might want to take off and do something totally different, learn a novel skill or explore new places outdoors. Then you could look for opportunities to experience new things.

But however you approach finding your niche in conservation, make sure you’re having fun. If you like what you’re doing, that will come across to others and hopefully encourage them to become interested in birds and conservation as well.

What would you like people to know about birds that they may not already know?

I would like people to know that most of the bird species they see on the coast migrate. Some of these species are easily overlooked because they are small and hard to identify like sandpipers and plovers. But, even though they might not draw a lot of attention, many of them fly thousands of miles each year between wintering and nesting sites.

When we see them in the U.S. on our shorelines, they’re often in the middle of an incredible journey. I think knowing this enhances people’s experience of coastal birds, and it’s also crucial to protect birds not only where they nest, but also in places they use when they are migrating or wintering.

Lindsay Addison earned her bachelor’s degree from Stetson University and her Masters of Science degree from Florida Gulf Coast University. Her publications with Audubon include:

  • Abundance, Distribution, and Geographic Origin of Non-breeding American Oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) in North Carolina. In review. Lindsay Addison, Sara H. Schweitzer, Sue Cameron, and Matthew Abraham. Waterbirds.
  • Abundance and Distribution of American Oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) During the Breeding Season in North Carolina. In review. Sara H. Schweitzer, Lindsay Addison, Sue Cameron, and Matthew Abraham. Waterbirds.
  • Repeated count surveys help standardize multi-agency estimates of American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) abundance. 2015. N. Hostetter, Beth Gardner, Sara H. Schweitzer, Ruth Boettcher, Alexandra L. Wilke, Lindsay Addison, William R. Swilling, Kenneth H. Pollock, and Theodore R. Simons. Condor 117: 354–363.