THE BIRDS OF THE FRENCH BROAD RIVER PARK
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
Photo Credit: Jean Cassidy
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