Audubon Mid-Atlantic
April 2021 News | Upcoming Events
Common Yellowthroat
New Beginnings
My first month as director of the newly-created Audubon Mid-Atlantic has been filled with discovery. I’ve observed how our regional work to protect watersheds, build resilient coasts, create healthier forests and extend Audubon’s reach remains strong, despite the continued pandemic. I have had the pleasure of meeting passionate chapter leaders, members and volunteers from across the region and getting to know our staff. What has emerged is a sense of the significant impact that Audubon has and the seriousness with which our wide network takes our mission.

I am acutely aware that my arrival signals a change: Audubon has asked all of you to see this cherished landscape as birds do rather than through man-made constructs dividing states.  And let’s be honest, Audubon asked you to embrace this change in the midst of a global pandemic and during a most challenging winter.

I have been thinking a lot about seasonal transitions since the world stopped last March, marking time through them and looking at the natural world and birds for signs of normalcy in a world that feels so un-normal and so unfamiliar. I found solace in nearby woods and in my own backyard when I watched Covid-oblivious birds nesting last spring and playing in the summer, and, I confess, I felt a bit of despair when I saw birds on the move last fall. I knew that winter was coming and I dreaded it.

Katherine May, in her book entitled “Wintering,” writes that winter is "a fallow period in life when… [you] feel out of sync with normal life.” Winter can happen to us at any time in our lives—like, say, during a global pandemic. However, May advises us to welcome winter as a time to imagine without boundaries, arguing that  “winter offers us liminal spaces to inhabit”— places that exist between what has been left behind and what is not yet fully formed.

So let’s do just that. As we exit our year-long winter and welcome spring, I encourage all of you to consider what you wish Audubon Mid-Atlantic to be. Let’s set clear, audacious (and achievable) goals. Let’s raise our united voices in support of the birds we love. Let’s expand our community and invite in new members, some of whom may not yet be familiar with the work we do. So many people--from all walks of life--have become backyard birders this past year. Let’s ask them to join us, rather than wait for them to find us.

And even as we imagine new beginnings, this month’s newsletter celebrates recent accomplishments and highlights upcoming opportunities and activities. We invite you to all of them.

And so too will we begin our work together. I look forward to getting started.

Suzanne Biemiller
Executive Director, Audubon Mid-Atlantic
Vice President, National Audubon Society
Common Yellowthroat. Photo: John Morrison
Peregrine Falcon in front of Philadelphia's city hall. Photo: George Armistead
Audubon and Coalition Partners Seek to Make the City of Brotherly Love Bird-friendly
It started one night with singles, then pairs. Soon tens and then hundreds. By dawn on October 2, 2020, more than 1,000 birds had died, all victims of a mass collision event during fall migration as they tried to fly through downtown Philadelphia to what would have been their wintering grounds in Central and South America. It was the worst such event in the region in more than 70 years.

In response to the deaths of those hundreds of warblers, thrushes, catbirds, and other nocturnal migrants, conservationists from around the area banded together to make sure that nothing like this happens again. Recently, a coalition of groups that includes Audubon Mid-Atlantic and two local Audubon chapters—Valley Forge Audubon and Wyncote Audubon—plus the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club, launched Bird Safe Philly to help make Philadelphia a more bird-friendly city.
Peregrine Falcon in front of Philadelphia's city hall. Photo: George Armistead
Golden-winged Warbler
Fire for Good and a Healthy Forest
Fire is one of the most powerful and enigmatic forces in our natural world. While uncontrolled fire can cause irreparable harm and damage, wildfires are often a natural part of a healthy ecosystem. In the field of ecology, we sometimes think about species or natural phenomena that have the ability to shape entire ecosystems. Fire, whether naturally occurring or prescribed by land managers, is one of those ecosystem engineers. It kills some plant species, proliferates others that are “fire adapted,” and generally resets the ecological clock for a series of new plant communities that will develop over time. Many wildlife species are adapted to this dynamic system of change that is driven by disturbances, such as fire. To remove the disturbance is to remove the conditions those species depend on.
Golden-winged Warbler. Photo: Michael Stubblefield/Audubon Photography Awards
Patterson Park Audubon's Green Leaders helping with a native plant garden. Green Leaders is an after-school program for eco-minded middle schoolers grades 6-8 looking to get active about climate change.
Awareness to Action
Two days. Three sessions. Fourteen guest speakers. And, an array of advocacy opportunities for conservation-minded voters and volunteers across Maryland and DC. This was the foundation for the 6th annual “I Bird. I Vote.” Conservation Summit, hosted by Audubon Mid-Atlantic’s Maryland-DC staff and chapters February 26 and 27, 2021.
Patterson Park Audubon's Green Leaders helping with a native plant garden. Green Leaders is an after-school program for eco-minded middle schoolers grades 6-8 looking to get active about climate change.
Spring Opportunities
Spring Nature Play Trail Debuts at Pickering Creek
Mark your calendars for April 2nd  when the Spring Nature Play Trail at Pickering Creek Audubon Center debuts!  The trail features fourteen stops that encourage kids and families to explore nature through short fun activities.  It’s self-guided and is in both English and Spanish.  Read more
American Goldfinch and Purple Coneflower
Virtual Wildlife Gardening Workshops at Patterson Park Audubon Center
Join Patterson Park Audubon Center for Wildlife Gardening Workshops! These virtual sessions explore how our gardens can benefit birds and butterflies, including recommended plant species and garden management for Mid-Atlantic gardens. No matter how small your space, you can grow habitat for birds (even in containers)! More information
American Goldfinch and Purple Coneflower. Photo: Will Stuart
Indigo Bunting
More to Explore
The John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove and The Discovery Center in Philadelphia are open again! The John James Audubon Center is open Thursday through Sunday, 10am-4pm. The Discovery Center is open 10am - 4pm on Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays. Check online for the latest update on hours, along with opportunities for virtual and in-person events offered at our Pennsylvania locations.
Indigo Bunting. Photo: Jessica Nelson
Audubon Mid-Atlantic Offices
Pennsylvania Business Office
1201 Pawlings Road
Audubon, PA 19403
(610) 666-5593 ex. 101​ | pa.audubon.org
Support our Pennsylvania work
Maryland Office
2901 East Baltimore Street, Box 2
Baltimore, MD 21224
(410) 558-2473 | md.audubon.org
Support our Maryland-DC work
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Audubon Mid-Atlantic
3401 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19121
(610) 990-3431 | audubon.org

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