Survey finds diverse species at bird-friendly forestry site

Following the first year of bird-friendly forestry under the Forest Landbird Legacy Program (FLLP) agreement with Audubon NC, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Boy Scouts of America's Old North State Council, spring bird surveys were conducted by Audubon North Carolina partner NC Wildlife Resource Commission in mid-May to assess bird species diversity at Camp Cherokee in the Northern Piedmont.

Last year, a prescribed burn was implemented that increased vegetation diversity by promoting seed-bank stimulation as a larger plan for Timber Stand Improvement by a trained “Forester for the Birds” consultant.

Twenty species of forest-dependent breeding birds were detected including FLLP focal birds, Audubon NC priority birds, and climate-threatened birds.

FLLP focal species detected include Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Indigo Bunting, and Scarlet Tanager.

Audubon NC focal species detected included the Black-throated Blue Warbler and Wood Thrush.

Climate-threatened species detected include Ovenbird and White-breasted Nuthatch.

Presence of this variety of birds may indicate good mature forest structural diversity as targeted by program goals. The species detected reflect a variety of forest niche use:

  • Canopy leaf cover is preferred by species such as Scarlet Tanagers, who walk along high tree branches in search of food and often nest 50 feet or higher in mature hardwood forests.
  • Canopy gaps are great for foraging flycatchers such as the Eastern Wood-Pewee.
  • Shrub layers, particularly in riparian areas, are good nesting habitat for Black-throated Blue Warblers.
  • Complex ground vegetation, including vines, are preferred by Indigo Buntings when selecting nest sites.
  • Adequate leaf litter is mandatory for the Ovenbird’s oven-like ground nest.

Audubon NC and FLLP partners will continue to monitor post-treatment bird response to forest stewardship goals as associated with the FLLP.

Cost-share funding is available to private, non-industrial forest landowners in four FLLP focal areas including the Northern Piedmont region of North Carolina where Camp Cherokee is located.

For more information about how you can apply to be a part of FLLP, contact atomcho@audubon.org.