Forestry for the Birds
Audubon Mid-Atlantic
Chapter Chatter Newsletter July 2021
Blue-winged Warbler
Feather Friendly Forestry
Over 60% of Pennsylvania and 40% of Maryland are forested, making the Mid-Atlantic region ripe for challenges and opportunities related to creating and maintaining healthy forests. Read on to learn about creative partnerships, ongoing initiatives, and new endeavors aiming to enhance, restore, and strengthen bird-friendly habitats and practices across the region.
Blue-winged Warbler. Photo: Joseph Mahoney/Audubon Photography Awards
Bobolink
Next Chapter in Forestry Connections
In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, tucked inside the Pinchot State Forest, is the Moon Lake Recreation Area (MLRA). Spanning over 900 acres, MLRA is home to a variety of habitats including open grassland, scrub and mixed forest, and even a lake.

Through a four-year partnership with the Pinchot Forest District of PA’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Greater Wyoming Valley Audubon Society (GWVAS) has worked collaboratively to restore, enhance, and create habitat for birds and other wildlife as the land shifted from a county park to Forestry recreation area.

Through a collaborative process with the Pinchot Forest District, GWVAS developed a bird list that is readily available to visitors at kiosks managed by the District and on the Pinchot website. The bird lists include seasonal and habitat cues for visitors to help deepen their experience and connection to the local wildlife. They’ve also introduced Eastern Bluebird and American Kestrel boxes on the grounds, along with a volunteer program to monitor and report all species on eBird.

Over the years, MLRA and GWVAS have reported over 130 bird species including Red-headed Woodpeckers, a variety of grassland birds, fishing Osprey and Bald Eagles. This spring, at the request of MLRA, volunteers from GWVAS designed and installed a pollinator garden, and cultivated the beginnings of an education area that now includes roughly 125 bird-friendly shrubs at the entrance to Moon Lake. Looking ahead, Forestry will install a wildflower meadow, and the chapter hopes to work with them collaboratively to develop a vernal pool trail and an auto tour that is inclusive for birders of all abilities.

 
Bobolink. Photo: Ruhikanta Meetei/Audubon Photography Awards
Scarlet Tanager
Audubon's Healthy Forest Initiative
In Pennsylvania, protecting habitat for forest birds involves cultivating stewardship across a range of stakeholders. For a state where over 71% of forests are privately owned, this work means engaging family forest landowners, partnering with conservation organizations, and collaborating with consulting foresters and others in the forest products industry. Audubon’s Healthy Forest program is developing resources and programming that support these partnerships, resulting in meaningful, scalable practices that have positive impacts for birds and the environment.

Mature forest birds like the Wood Thrush and Scarlet Tanager rely on Pennsylvania’s forested landscape with 1 in 12 Wood Thrushes and 1 in 10 Scarlet Tanagers nesting in the Commonwealth’s forests. Because these forests are predominately privately owned, healthy forest outreach and engagement are critical elements of our overall strategy.

The ripple effect of this strategy is seen in Audubon’s training workshops, partnerships, and resources. Targeted workshops for consulting foresters result in pragmatic, impactful approaches to land stewardship for both foresters and their clients. Organizational partnerships around the Family Forest Carbon Program offer new funding avenues through carbon markets, opening the door to private landowners for conservation work that was previously unfeasible in mature forests. And, a suite of resources provide tailored solutions to the needs and challenges of the forest industry, empowering professionals to integrate science-based solutions into their work, resulting in additional benefits for landowners while simultaneously improving migratory, stopover, and breeding habitat for birds.

 
Scarlet Tanager. Photo: Jeff Bryant/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
American Kestrel
Bird-Friendly Communities on the Kittatinny Ridge
When we think of Bird-Friendly Communities, it’s often through the lens of backyards and community garden spaces. At the confluence of the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers in the heart of the Kittatinny Ridge, the community is coming together in a slightly different way. 

Working together with the Borough of Duncannon, Appalachian Audubon Society, the Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community, DCNR, the Perry County Historical Society, and a host of other partners, Audubon Mid-Atlantic staff are connecting the 185-mile long Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape to the towns tucked within the ridge corridor. 

Over the next several months, pilot projects in three communities, leading off with Duncannon, will begin creating and enhancing bird-friendly habitat on public and privately owned spaces. The aim is to mirror the native plants found along the Ridge in town spaces and backyards, strengthening the web of natural resources for food, shelter, and nesting that are so critical to birds migrating along this Globally Important Bird Area, as well as resident birds that are seen year round.

 
American Kestrel. Photo: Connor Charchuk/Audubon Photography Awards
Challenge
2021 Inclusivity & Belonging Challenge
How are you doing with the 2021 Inclusivity & Belonging Challenge? 

Bring your best ideas for welcoming inviting new audiences, welcoming new partners, and embracing new adventures to our next Quarterly Chapter Leadership Call on September 7th. 

 
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(610) 990-3431 | audubon.org

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