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Forsyth Audubon Newsletter
September 2019
Welcome!  It's September.  The birds are becoming more active, and we are busy at Forsyth Audubon!  There are so many ways to meet other nature lovers, be a part of citizen science close to home, help with conservation, and just enjoy nature.  Find activities that interest you, and come join us!  
A Swift Night Out

Chimney Swift Watch:

Tuesday, September 10 @ 7:00pm

Northwest Middle School: 5501 Murray Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27106


Come join us in the parking lot of Northwest Middle School for this family-friendly, fascinating birding event.  Binoculars are not necessary to witness this amazing spectacle.  We will gather at 7:00 PM, and the "show" ends at sunset, when the last of the swifts head down the chimney.  

Each year, several thousand swifts amass downtown and at other county locations preparatory to migration to South America. Although swifts may use several chimneys in the area, most of them usually pick one. In the downtown area, sites of large roosts vary from year to year, and sometimes even week to week. In past years, they have been at a warehouse near Krankies, the Millenium Center, the Stevens Center and the old courthouse.

There usually is a very large roost of several thousands – yes, thousands – birds at Northwest Middle School. This is where we have held our Swift Watch  since 2011. This is a fantastic opportunity for members of Forsyth Audubon and the general public to witness one of the many marvels of bird biology and it’s a lot of fun for those of us who have been treading that path for a long time!

Throughout most of September, there are other opportunities to observe swift roosts in Forsyth County. They often roost at large chimneys at some our older schools, such as Northwest, Sherwood, Vienna, Lewisville and Speas, and at the old school in Clemmons. North Carolina School of the Arts has been another good location. As dusk approaches, the numbers build gradually as the birds swirl around in cyclonic fashion above the roost area and then quickly go down the chimney in a rapid stream. Simply awesome!


Here Come the Hawks!

For more than 40 years, members of Audubon Society of Forsyth County have 

been observing the fall migration of raptors from Little Pinnacle at Pilot 

Mountain State Park in Surry County.

This year the watch will be held from Sunday, September 15 through Monday, 

September 30.  Observers will count migrating hawks, falcons, eagles, osprey 

and other birds of prey. Everyone is invited to come help spot kettles of 

broad-winged hawks migrating south. You don’t need to be experienced to 

participate as we can pair inexperienced observers with those with 


Sign up for morning (10-2) or afternoon (2-6) shifts or even a couple of 

hours at a time.

Go to the hawk watch page on our website for more information including the 

history of the watch at Pilot Mountain:  Email Jean Chamberlain at with the days and times you can participate.  


 Advanced Hawk Identification, Volunteer Hawk Watch Training, and Education

Where: Little Pinnacle Overlook at Pilot Mountain State Park (accessed through short walk from the Summit Parking Area)


When: Tuesday, September 24th 2019  from 10:00 a.m. til 4:00 p.m.


Description: This training will provide insight and experience in managing a location as a hawk watch site for volunteers and prospective hawk watch locations, including an active recruitment at Pilot Mountain State Park as a volunteer for Forsyth Audubon and North Carolina State Parks by participating in a volunteer hawk watch that has persisted since 1973! Learn and practice with identification of hawks, eagles, falcons, and osprey in flight. Gain experience managing weather readings and data collection. All data collected is submitted daily to the Hawk Migration Association of North America. Educational materials on identification will be provided. In addition, we will play a game or two related to hawk migration and identification which can be replicated at your park or educational facility and also plan to focus on conservation efforts of these species and ways you can help in your own backyard!  Please bring binoculars, lunch, water, snacks, sunscreen, and a hat. 


If you are interested in hawk watching outside of these times, please join volunteers of Forsyth Audubon any time at the Little Pinnacle Overlook between 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. from September 15th through October 1st.  Hawk watching efforts may be delayed or cancelled during severe weather. 


Please email me with intent on participating in the program
Jesse Anderson

Chapter Meetings Announced

Chapter Meetings will resume on September 24, at 7 pm, at the Bethabara Park Visitors Center.  Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. We have a great line-up for 2019-2020 from science to travelogue to conservation, local and out of town speakers.  Here are the upcoming events:


Speakers 2019-2020


September 24 John Gerwin- Birds of NC mountains Research and travelogue

John is Research Curator, Ornithology, at NC Museum of Natural Sciences. He will speak about a specific project underway as well as a birding tour of the mountains.


October 22 Ron Morris- Birds of Columbia Birding travelogue

Ron travels and birds extensively.  This program will feature birding in Columbia, South America


November 19    Lindsay Addison- NC Audubon biologist Research Coastal birds

Lindsay is a Wildlife Biologist with NC Audubon focusing on coastal birds


January 28 Shelley Rutkin- Birds of China Birding travelogue

Shelley is a world traveler and FA member who will entertain us with birds of China


February 25 Lisa Gould- Good, bad, and ugly Plants: invasive & good

Lisa is an accomplished Botanist with an important message regarding plants and birds


March 24 Kyle Horton- Migration Ecology Research & Lights Out

Kyle is from Cornell Lab where he studies bird migration using state of the art tools and methods


April 28 Matt Jeffrey- National Audubon International Alliances

Conservation and Research

Matt comes to us from National Audubon to inform us of their international work in bird conservation


May 26 to be announced


Almost time for Apples and Walnuts!

It's hard to believe, but it's almost fall festival time.  Fall festivals are a great way for Forsyth Audubon to share our love of birds with the community.  And - Bonus - they are lots of fun!  Education Chair Wendy Hawkins is busy preparing for Bethabara's Apple Festival on October 26th   and Bethania's Black Walnut Festival on September 28th.    It's not too early to sign up.  Click on the links below to reserve your shift.  If you've never helped at a Forsyth Audubon tabling event before, never fear, you will be paired with someone else who will be there to help.  It's always lots of fun!  

Black Walnut Festival  Saturday, September 28th

Apple Festival  Saturday, October 26th  

Questions?  Email Wendy Hawkins
All these birds were killed by building collisions in downtown Winston-Salem. Common Yellowthroat (center) is one of the most common victims of building collisions. Photo by David Disher.

Wanted: Volunteers to monitor collisions and to collect dead and injured birds.

Every spring and fall, millions of birds journey along the Atlantic Flyway north to breeding grounds and back south to their winter homes. For millions of years, the moon and stars have helped them find their way. For just 100 years, artificial light, especially from cities, has steered them off course.

Chicago and New York have led the way in darkening their night skies for migrating birds. Our city is taking action with Lights Out Winston-Salem, started by Forsyth Audubon and Audubon North Carolina in spring 2012. So far five buildings have signed on to participate by turning off nonessential exterior and interior lighting after 11 p.m. during spring and fall migration.  Much thanks to: Liberty Plaza, Reynolds American, The Cardinal Hotel, Wells Fargo, Winston Tower.

Turn out the lights and give the more than 150 species of birds that pass through Winston-Salem the dark skies they need for safe flight. In doing so, you will save money and reduce our city’s use of fossil fuels. And we will all see more stars. Bird-friendly skies are friendlier for people, too. The fall lights out period is September 10-November 30. The spring lights out period is March 15-May 31.

Forsyth Audubon Lights Out Coordinator Wendy Hawkins is looking for volunteers for the downtown "Dead Bird Patrol".  Click on the link to sign up for time slots for dead bird patrol.  You will be paired with an experienced patroller.  If you have questions, please contact Wendy Hawkins.  

For more information about our Lights Out Program, visit our website


Mark your Calendar:


September 10:  Swift Watch  Northwest Middle School  5501 Murray Road Winston-Salem
7:00 PM

September 14:  Second Saturday Bird Walk  Horizons Park  8:00 AM

September 15 - September 30:    Hawk Watch  Pilot Mountain State Park

September 18:  6:00 PM  Birds and Beer Join us for a drink and bird talk - Location To be Announced -  

September 24:  Hawk Watch training 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Little PInnacle Overlook Pilot Mountain

September 24:  Chapter Meeting:  Historic Bethabara Visitor Center  7:00 PM  John Gerwin, curator of Ornithology at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

September 28:  Bethania Black Walnut Festival

September 30:  Monday Bird Walk  Bethania Black Walnut Bottom 8:00  AM

October 5:  The Big Sweep:  Bethabara Wetlands 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM  Watch your email for more details.


Order "Birding Guide to Forsyth County"!

The fifth edition of "Birding Guide to Forsyth County," by David Disher, is now available. David's book, in a handy 6 x 9 paperback format, compiles documented observations for 280 bird species in Forsyth County. Learn what birds can be seen here and during which weeks of the year you are most likely to see them. Photos of uncommon sightings are included. Information on local birding spots also is included. For $15, this is a great gift for your favorite birder. All profits go to our chapter. Copies are available at Wright's Backyard Birding Center, 3906 Country Club Rd., Winston-Salem, and at Wild Birds Unlimited, 1589 Skeet Club Rd, High Point.  Copies also are available for sale at our monthly chapter meetings. If you have a smart phone or tablet, download the electronic version available for $4.99 from

Forsyth Audubon T-shirts are here!  They are available now at most of our chapter events, or you can pick one up at Wright's Birding Center during business hours.  There are two different styles to choose from, both with our fabulous brown-headed nuthatch logo.  The soft cotton poly blend shirts are $20.00 and the polyester tech tee with the cool dri wicking fabric is $25.00.  

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Forsyth Audubon · P.O. Box 15111 · Winston-Salem, NC 27113 · USA

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