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The Birds of French Broad River Park

Saturday June 2nd and 16th, RiverLink’s nature guru Worth McAlister and expert birder Bob Wilson embarked on early morning journeys into the exciting world of avian friends, along with about a dozen local nature enthusiasts. Armed with binoculars and field guides, the groups headed out from French Broad River Park to see how many bird species could be encountered, in just a few hours’ time, along the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay. The crews were amazed and thrilled with what they found.

“The species abundance along this section of river corridor is incredible,” says participant Bryan Hill. The groups moved cautiously along the trails in and around the park, with eyes and ears on alert for bird activity. The groups focused on sight and song identification, and discussion on distinguishing characteristics for each species encountered.

Wilson says the key to the species abundance in this particular area is thanks to an expanse of early successional habitat in the flood plain, (which is made up annuals, perennials, grasses, brambles, and shrubs), along with the river and mature forest that border on either side. This creates a mosaic of habitat conditions that can sustain a wide variety of species.

Here is the list of birds seen and heard by the two groups:

Great Blue Heron                                                      Eastern Bluebird
Turkey Vulture                                                           American Robin
Rock Pigeon                                                              Northern Mockingbird
Mourning Dove                                                          Brown Thrasher
Chimney Swift                                                           European Starling
Ruby-throated Hummingbird                                    Cedar Waxwing
Red-bellied Woodpecker                                          Common Yellowthroat
Downy Woodpecker                                                 Yellow-breasted Chat
Pileated Woodpecker                                               Eastern Towhee
Acadian Flycatcher                                                  Chipping Sparrow
Willow Flycatcher                                                     Song Sparrow
Eastern Phoebe                                                       Northern Cardinal
Eastern Kingbird                                                      Indigo Bunting
White-eyed Vireo                                                     Red-winged Blackbird
Red-eyed Vireo                                                       Common Grackle
Blue Jay                                                                   Brown-headed Cowbird
American Crow                                                        Orchard Oriole
Northern Rough-winged Swallow                            Baltimore Oriole
Cliff Swallow                                                            House Finch
Barn Swallow                                                           American Goldfinch
Carolina Chickadee                                                 House Sparrow
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Make sure to join RiverLink in July for nature walks focusing on “Macroinvertebrates: Land & Water.”

Outings will be held Saturday July 7 at 10AM, and Saturday July 21 at 3PM.

For more information contact Worth McAlister at worth@riverlink.org, or call at (828) 252-8474 x 17.

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