New Hope

Audubon Society

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Items of special interest

Annual Bird Seed Sale: The sale is back! All profits go toward fulfilling our mission to promote the conservation and enjoyment of birds, other wildlife, and ecosystems, focusing on Chatham, Durham, and Orange counties. See our product list and order online or by mail. Orders must be submitted by October 25, 2023 for pickup on November 4 in Chapel Hill.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS web page to keep informed about upcoming events including bird outings.

BIRD FRIENDLY HABITAT web page for links to recommended native plants, native plant retailers and landscapers, and to have your property certified.

LEAVE YOUR LEAVES web page with information on this campaign and why it is so important.

FIELD NOTES BLOG to be sure to keep up with the latest posts.

BIRD COUNT CHARTS web page to explore our historical data going back to 1977 for both our Spring and Christmas Bird Counts.

VOLUNTEER web page for ways you can help and fill out our updated Volunteer Form to tell us about your interests.

MEETING RECORDINGS web page for recordings of past membership meetings via Zoom.


New Chair of Communications and Social Media: Bon voyage to Shelley Smith who has led this committee for the past year! Thank you for all your good work with New Hope Audubon! And welcome to Theresa Rizzuto who recently graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with her Masters in Digital Communication. Theresa works full time for Spoonflower heading up their content marketing and creative teams, and loves to paint birds and sew in her spare time when she isn’t out birding.

New Instagram account: In addition to our other social media accounts, we are now on Instagram. Follow us!

Volunteers Needed for Chimney Swift Count: We need volunteers to help count chimney swifts or identify local roosts beginning September 1 until October 15. Chimney swifts will soon start flocking in large numbers and funneling into chimneys to roost for the night.  We have a number of roosts where we count in Durham and Chapel Hill.  We would also like to verify some roosts that people have identified by counting at other locations. Please contact Fleeta Wilkerson at [email protected] if you are interested in helping to count or have a potential roosting location. For more information on swifts, see our link.

Next Meeting October 5th, 2023 at 7:00 pm: New Hope Audubon Society will meet at the NC Botanical Garden (100 Old Mason Farm Road, Joslin Classroom). Bill Steiner will be talking about “John James Audubon: The Artist,” and will bring several prints to discuss his techniques and subject matter.

Refreshments and social gathering will start at 6:30pm. Meeting will start at 7pm with announcements and the program will start following announcements. This meeting will be in-person only since Bill will not have Powerpoint slides, but does have Audubon prints for us to appreciate while we are together.

Thrush Watch, October 14, 2023: We have a few spaces remaining for our Thrush Watch program to be held Saturday, October 14, starting at 7:30 am and running approximately 3 hours. Every fall, among other migrant species, thrushes work their way south, including Swainson’s thrush, gray-cheeked thrush and others. A close colleague living near the west side of Falls Lake for many years has landscaped his yard to include dogwoods and other berry producing trees that attract thrushes. He invites groups to spend the morning watching them come through and foraging in his trees. Along with thrushes, we usually see warblers and other migrants. If interested, contact David Anderson at [email protected] to sign up.

Audubon in Action

New Hope Audubon Society worked with 20 students from the e3camp ( at the Chapel Hill Library in July.  The mission of e3 is to expose African-American middle and high school students to the Arts and STEM fields thru hands-on activities, educational field trips and presenters necessary to be productive citizens in the 21st century workforce. Jin Bai spoke about birds, their importance and role in ecosystems as career choices related to ornithology.  After learning how to use binoculars, we went out to Pritchard Park, the Library bird feeders and the library bird blind and observed birds.  Thanks to our volunteers: Vern Bothwell, Gail Boyarsky, Jin Bai and Cathy Rodriguez.

Students learn to use binoculars at Chapel Hill libraryA student looks through the Chapel Hill library bird blind at Pritchard Park.

Fall Migration is Here!

Check out the top 5 tips to help migrating birds and those nesting in your yard:

  • Lights Out! During migration,* birds navigate by the night sky. House and building lights confuse them and may lead them off course, potentially to their deaths. Make their journeys safer by turning off bright outdoor lights and unnecessary indoor lights when it gets dark. Downward pointing dim motion lights are ok.
  • Clean Feeders & Bird baths: Feeders, suet cages and bird baths should be cleaned regularly to prevent the spread of disease. This should be done year round, but especially during peak migration season. A solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water can be used. This should be done every 2-3 weeks during peak usage. Helpful tip: If you see a bird with eyes that look crusty or closed shut, take down the feeders and bird baths for 10-14 days and clean them thoroughly. Suet cages can be left up.
  • Clean Out Nest Boxes: Most birds are done nesting for the summer. Some bluebirds may still have a clutch so be careful to check first. Remove used nests and thoroughly wash the box out. Put it back up for late nesters and as a refuge for birds during cold winter nights.
  • Plant Natives:
    Cedar Waxwing eating a red berry. Photo by Erik Eckholm.

    Photo by Erik Eckholm

    Fall is the best time to plant as the temps start dropping and the ground is still warm. Plant native plants that attract pollinators and provide seasonal wildlife appeal. Berry producing shrubs and trees provide food for birds and mammals when the days start to get cooler and insects are harder to find.

  • Leave your Leaves: Leaves will start falling soon. If you can, please leave your leaves where they fall so bees, butterflies, fireflies and other insects have a place to overwinter.It will also provide food for birds during the winter and great mulch next spring. If you can’t leave the leaves where they fall, rake them under your trees or to a wild area in your yard.
    *Fall migration: Aug. 15 – Oct. 31

Stay In Touch

’Like’ our Facebook Page to see announcements; join our Facebook Group to share photos, events, and questions; follow us on Twitter; get email announcements of our activities; join our Meetup Group. Pick your service(s) and never miss out on New Hope Audubon news!