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GA Mountain BirdFest
EVENTS

2012 Festival Guide (pdf file)      |      Birding Hot Spots (pdf file)      |      Unicoi Park

Schedule of Events
Thursday, May 03   |   Friday, May 04   |   Saturday, May 05   |   Sunday, May 06

(NOTE: Some programs include a program fee in addition to the registration fee.)

 

THURSDAY, May 03, 2012
Registration: 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM


1.
  “Why birds live where they do and how biologists can make them feel at home”
     Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Nathan Klaus, D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description:In many ways birds are a reflection of their environment. Many specialize in certain habitats and the food,nesting sites, and cover they provide. Many beginning birders have asked why they haven't seen many of the species found in their field guides. To askthis question is the first step toward understanding bird diversity as well as bird conservation. Nathan Klaus will discuss some of the birds found in north Georgia, where they can be seen, and most importantly....WHY! Why are Cerulean Warblers the fastest declining warblers in the United States? Why don't we see Red-headed Woodpeckers anymore? Is there any where on God's green earth you can get a glimpse of that plain brown Swainson's Warbler! There are answers to all of these questions, and Nathan will share them. In addition, he will explain how biologists in the Georgia D.N.R. are using the answers to these questions to help these and other declining songbirds. (Intermediate)
red-headed woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker
Picture by Dan Vickers

2.
  “Exotic and Invasives and How They Affect Our Environment”
     Time: 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
     Presenter: Chip Bates, Forest Health Coordinator, Georgia Forestry Commission
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: There are many Forest Health Issues that have and can impact our environment and surroundings. Many people are aware of the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and the threat to Georgia’s Hemlocks, but there are many other concerns for our forests including the Emerald Ash Borer, Gypsy Moth, etc. Many invasive plants such as Chinese privet, Tree of Heaven, Chinese Wisteria, and more also threaten our forest native plants and trees. We will tie in how these exotic species and invasive plants affect the health of our forests and what this mean for the birds. (Beginner to Intermediate)

3.
  How to Pick a Field Guide
     Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Grant McCreary, creator of The Birder’s Library website, www.birderslibrary.com
     and Member of the Atlanta Audubon Society and Georgia Ornithological Society
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Bewildered by the number of bird field guides available? What are the differences in them and, for that matter, does it even matter which one you use? In this seminar, Grant will explain what to look for in a field guide so that you can choose the right one for you. (Beginner)

4.
  State of the Birds Report
     Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
     Presenter: E.J. Williams, Migratory Bird Chief
     Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Birds are a priceless part of America’s heritage. They are beautiful, they are economically important—and they reflect the health of our environment. The first State of the Birds report in 2009 revealed troubling declines of bird populations during the past 40 years—a warning signal of the failing health of our ecosystems. At the same time, we see heartening evidence that strategic land management and conservation action can reverse declines of birds. Each year, the State of the Birds report provides important scientific data to a broad audience with a call to action to improve the conservation status of birds and the environment. The 2011 report brings attention to the tremendous promise of public lands and waters for conserving America’s wildlife and habitats. The United States has a long history of conservation on public lands. More than one-third of U.S. lands and all of our oceans are publicly owned, including some of our nation’s most spectacular natural areas. These habitats support more than 800 bird species, one-third of which are endangered, threatened, or of conservation concern. The 2012 edition focused on the impact of climate change (2010) to bird populations, life histories, and habitats. The State of the Birds series calls attention to the collective efforts needed to protect nature’s resources for the benefit of people and wildlife. Join this session to learn how our birds are doing and what we can do to ensure healthy and abundant birds are available so that we can explore, share, and grow our passion for these amazing creatures.

5.
  Optics 101
     Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Cameron Cox, Leica Sport Optics
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: What do the numbers mean? What is depth of field? How do I use a diopter? What is the best spotting scope? If you have more questions than answers about binoculars and spotting scopes, attend this session. We will delve into all these questions and more. This talk is designed to give you the information so you can make informed optical choices and select the right binocular for you at any price range. (Beginner and Intermediate)

6.
  Woodworking for Birds
     Time: 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Linda May, D.N.R. Environmental Outreach Coordinator and Volunteers
     Number of people: 12
     Fee: $10
Description: Learn how to provide suitable nesting and feeding areas for birds, including proper placement and maintenance of houses and feeders. Participants will also construct their own bluebird nest boxes and hopper feeders using pre-cut kits. DNR volunteers are assisting, so don’t worry if you’re new to woodworking! (Beginner and Intermediate)

7.
  Tree ID Discussion and Walk
     Time: 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
     Leader: Jeremy Hughes, Forest Health Specialist, Georgia Forestry Commission
     Number of people: 30
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Have you ever wondered how to find a warbler at 2:00 in a White Oak tree while fighting “warbler neck” as you search? Come to this introductory course and begin the journey to learning the different kind of tree species found in Georgia. You will gain knowledge of the baseline characteristics you use to distinguish different trees and then go on a short hike to put what you learned in the classroom to practice. (Beginner to Intermediate)

8.
  A Birders Guide to Choosing a Camera
     Time: 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Cameron Cox, Leica Sport Optics
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: For the birder that wants to take photos while still watching birds there are three main choices: A Superzoom camera, a Digital SLR with a handholdable telephoto lens (300-400mm), or digiscoping. We will discuss the advantages and drawbacks of each and look at photos taken with each type of camera. This is perfect for those considering photograph or have started recently. We will keep it simple and will not cover photograph with long lenses (500-800mm) or get into the minutia of photography. (Beginner and Intermediate)

9.
  Breeding Birds: An Overview of Range, Habitat, and Nesting Biology
     Time: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Todd Schneider, D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: In this session you will be introduced to the basics of birding including identification using field marks, habitats, behaviors, and also some hints on how to identify birds by their vocalizations. Much of the presentation will focus on an overview of habitats and nesting biology of specific species from the coast to the mountains. This information is guaranteed to enhance your ability to find birds as well as understand more about these fascinating creatures. (Beginner to Intermediate)

10.
  Nancoochee Village   “Birds and Beers” (social):
        Time: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
        Number of people: No maximum
   Description: Get to know fellow birders, speakers, and leaders!
   Beer Provided by Nacoochee Village Tavern & Pizzeria

11.
  Evening Speaker: “National Wildlife Refuge Birding”
     Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
     Featuring: E.J. Williams, Migratory Bird Chief
     Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt established Florida’s tiny Pelican Island as the first national wildlife refuge dedicated to the protection of native birds. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System has grown to 547 refuges that provide breeding, wintering and stopover habitat for more than 700 species of migratory birds. In fact, virtually one-third of all globally significant Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in the United States are national wildlife refuges (NWR) and potential destination sites for the nation’s 46 million birdwatchers. More than sixty percent of refuge visitors will be watching birds during their visit. Recognizing the importance of refuges to future generations of birds and birders, the Service has launched a National Wildlife Refuge System Birding Initiative. The effort aims to strengthen the relationship between the birding community and the Refuge System and to increase opportunities for quality bird watching on refuges. The USFWS worked with well-known bird and nature authorities including authors, editors, educators, conservationists, eco-tourism experts and members of the business community to create incredible opportunities for birders to enjoy our National Wildlife Refuges. The Southeast is home to128 national wildlife refuges with roughly four million acres of excellent wildlife habitat and over 12 million people visitors connected with birds and nature at Southeastern refuges in 2010. Come learn about these natural gems that provide a special place for both birds and birders. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

12.
  Bat Walk
     Time: 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
     Leader: Trina Morris, D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist
     Number of people: 30
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Want to learn more about the bats you see flying around at night? Come on the bat walk along the Frog Pond Interpretive Trail and observe bats foraging at night around the park. We will demonstrate the Anabat bat detector, which allows participants to hear and see bat calls. We will be using spotlights to observe foraging activity over water and along travel corridors. There will also be a demonstration of mist netting techniques used for capturing bats. Please wear appropriate footwear and clothing for walking outdoors at night. Please also bring a flashlight or headlamp. (Beginner and Intermediate)

13.
  Owl Prowl
     Time: 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
     Leader: Jim Ozier, D.N.R. Program Manager, Nongame Conservation Section
     Number of people: 30
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Owls and other fascinating creatures of the night are easily overlooked. However, with a little looking and listening in the right places, their presence and activities can be revealed. We will walk along the Lake Trail to the Visitor Center to some open field areas where Owls have been seen at Unicoi. (Beginner to Experienced – ALL)
owl
Eastern Screech Owl Picture
picture by Dan Vickers

 

FRIDAY, May 04, 2012
Registration: 5:00 AM to 5:00 PM


14.
  Suches, Cooper’s Creek WMA, etc.
     Time: 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
     Leader: E.J. Williams, Migratory Bird Chief
     Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
     Number of people: 24
     Fee: $40 includes boxed lunch
     Distance from Unicoi: 31.8 miles
Description: We will drive to several locations in Union County looking for resident and migratory birds. First in Suches, we’ll stop to listen carefully for the sweet call of the yellow warbler. Next, we’ll stop at several locations along the way for field birds to end up at 14. Continued: Cooper’s Creek WMA. Along the way we may see or hear Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, Red-winged Blackbird, Yellow-breasted Chat, Indigo Bunting, House Wren, Blue Grosbeak, or interesting migrants in season such as Blue-winged Warbler, American Redstart, or Chestnut-sided Warbler. At Cooper’s Creek some other species we’ll search for include the Black-throat Green Warbler, Ovenbird, Hooded Warbler, and Black-throated Blue Warblers. We’ll listen and look for Acadian Flycatchers and Louisiana Waterthrushes on the creek. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

15.
  Black Rock Mountain State Park, Warwoman Dell, Dillard
     Time: 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
     Leader: Chuck Saleeby, Atlanta Audubon Society trip leader
     Number of people: 24
     Fee: $40 includes boxed lunch
     Distance from Unicoi: 23.1 miles
Description: Explore the highest elevation state park in Georgia for mid to high elevation species as well as take in some of the fantastic views and waterfalls. There will be some easy to moderate hiking up and down along the trails to the waterfalls. We will stop in Dillard to see what birds are there and if time permits, we will drive through parts of Warwoman Dell W.M.A. to find more low, mid and high elevation breeding woodland species. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

16.
  Ivy Log – Bird Walk plus Cerulean Management and Hemlock Management Discussions
     Time: 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
     Leader: Nathan Klaus, D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist,
     Cameron Cox, Leica Sport Optics
     and Jim Wentworth, U.S.F.S. Wildlife Biologist
     Number of people: 26
     Fee: $40 includes boxed lunch
     Distance from Unicoi: 32.7
Description: Ivy Log Mountain retains one of two remaining Cerulean Warbler populations. Nathan Klaus and Jim Wentworth have conducted years of research on the Ivy Log population and have heavily managed the site to help this declining songbird. They will discuss their management and research and the current understanding of Cerulean habitat needs, all the while surrounded by one of the richest birding sites in North Georgia. We’ll drive along Ivy Log Gap Road, stopping in key locations to bird watch. Friday night speaker Cameron Cox will co-lead this trip. There will be little hiking involved. (Intermediate to Experienced)

17.
  Beginner Bird Walk at Unicoi
     Time: 7:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
     Leader: Todd Schneider, D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist
     Number of people: 30
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Come along to Unicoi Bottoms as we walk through several habitat types including pine-hardwood forest, open fields and wetland areas to see and hear more than 40 species of the birds common to Unicoi. (Beginner)

18.
  Morning Stroll at Smithgall Woods
     Time: 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
     Leader: Patty McLean, Birding Enthusiast and Member of
     the Atlanta Audubon Society and Georgia Ornithological Society
     Number of people: 26
     Fee: $10
     Distance from Unicoi: 9.9 miles
Description: This leisurely walk will take us through a variety of different habitats looking for warblers and other songbirds. Smithgall Woods offers many opportunities for viewing wildlife with various trails, a mountain stream filled with rainbow and brown trout, and a pristine pine-hardwood forest. Many of Georgia's most sought-after breeding birds use this lovely habitat from late April through summer to raise their young. Some that we will be looking for include Northern Parula, Hooded Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher, Summer Tanager, Blue Grosbeak, and many of Georgia's common songbirds such as Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, Eastern Bluebird and Carolina Wren. We may encounter uneven terrain, so wearing appropriate walking shoes is necessary. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

19.
  Hardman Farm Tour & Beginner Birding
     Time: 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
     Leader: John Erbele, Park Manager, Smithgall Woods State Park
     and Angie Johnson, Region 1 State Parks Resource Manager
     Number of people: 28
     Fee: $10
Description: This trip is perfect for the “history buff” who wants to visit a unique site while also observing field birds. Hardman Farm was constructed in 1870 by James Nichols of Milledgeville, Georgia, and is a fine example of the Italianate style. It was purchased in 1893 by Atlanta plumbing magnate Calvin Hunnicutt and in 1903 became the house of Georgia Governor Lamartine Hardman. Hardman Farm remained in the Hardman family until it was donated to Georgia Department of Natural Resources in 1998. The house sat virtually unaltered for over 100 years leaving many of the original features and finishes. The site is located in the Nacoochee Valley which is famous for the Indian Mound seen across Hwy. 17 from the Hardman Farm. While on the tour of the grounds, Angie Johnson will teach the common field birds common to the valley. (Beginner)

20.
  Buntings, Bats and Burning; The Conservation of a Coastal Wilderness:
Little St. Simons Island

     Time: 10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
     Presenter: Scott Coleman, Ecological Manager, Little St. Simons Island
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Scott works to maintain, enhance and restore the natural ecological communities and wildlife populations on the 10,000 acre island. He has led the development of a 50-year conservation plan for Little St. Simons Island and is leading the transition of the island into a model for conservation management. His responsibilities include coordinating the island’s research, monitoring, restoration and natural resource management. Scott also manages a wide range of partnerships with public and private conservation organizations, and these conservation partners have roles with many ongoing projects on the island. Some of these projects include a nest and incubation project with American Oystercatchers, using fire management as a tool to maintain some of the rarest plant communities in coastal Georgia, mist netting to learn more about the island’s bat populations, assessing altered salt marshes to work towards restoration, and eliminating exotic/invasive species on the island. The talk will focus on the ongoing conservation management efforts on LSSI to protect rare coastal habitats and species. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

21.
  Painting Birds in Watercolor - Drybrush
     Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Alan Young, Wildlife Artist & Instructor
     Number of people: 12
     Fee: $10
Description: Emphasis on speed, design for both the field and studio. Unlike traditional watercolor, this hydro-dynamic method allows for tighter spaces and more vibrant images. Some sketching fundamentals included. All materials included. (Beginner)

22.
  Birding By Ear
     Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Georgann Schmalz, Birding Adventures, Inc.
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Whether you are new to birding or want to raise your level of expertise, learning bird songs is essential. It’s a tough task, but doable with the right guidance and information. Georgann is the perfect person to learn this skill from as she is amazing at “speaking bird”! (Beginner to Intermediate)

23.
  Georgia's Warblers: How to Identify These Winged Jewels
     Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Todd Schneider, D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: In this session, we will be looking at field marks of different species birders are likely to encounter and the rare warblers found in Georgia. We will learn the distinguishing factors for the many warblers that look very similar. We will also talk about habitat and the timing of migration for different species. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

24.
  Hawk ID
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Presenter: Georgann Schmalz, Birding Adventures, Inc.
Number of people: 30
Fee: Included in Registration
Description: There are over a dozen species of raptors that live in Georgia. Knowing the best field marks along with behaviors and habitat make hawk identification a no-brainer. We’ll look at behaviors, habitats and review simple steps in learning how to identify hawks of the Southeast. (Beginner to Intermediate)

25.
  Anna Ruby Falls Hike
“Butterflies and Blossoms”

     Time: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
     Leader: Jim Allison, Retired D.N.R. Botanist
     Number of people: 20
     Fee: $2
     Distance from Unicoi: Adjacent to Unicoi
Description: Hike a short (1/2 mile each way), paved trail to spectacular Anna Ruby Falls, a rare double falls at the confluence of two creeks. Along the way we will identify all the wildflowers in bloom along the trail and the butterflies they attract. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

26.
  Bat Conservation in Georgia
     Time: 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
     Presenter: Trina Morris, D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist
     Fee: Included in Registration
     Number of people: No maximum
Description: Learn about all Georgia’s bat species in this presentation about Bat Conservation in Georgia. We will talk about bats in general, why they are beneficial and what to do when they become a problem. We will also cover current conservation concerns including the recently discovered White Nose Syndrome. Learn more about what Georgia is doing to protect bats and the current research projects across the state. (Beginner and Intermediate)

27.
  Create a Yard for the Birds:
Atlanta Audubon Society’s Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Certification Program

     Time: 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
     Presenter: Carol Hassel, Hassell is Executive Director, Georgia Piedmont Land, Trust (GPLT),
     and the Past-president of Atlanta Audubon Society and Current Certifier of Backyards
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: The Atlanta Audubon has a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Certification Program with 450+ properties and 25,000+ acres currently certified in the Atlanta area. We will discuss the 4 main needs of birds (food, water, shelter, and nesting sites) and how people can provide them in their own yards, creating a haven for birds. Native plantings are stressed, especially those that provide food (berries, seeds, and the like) or are habitats for insects (which draw in all of the insectivorous birds - warblers, wrens, bluebirds, vireos, etc - to your yard). Optimal use of feeders and water sources can be included, as well as the use of brush piles, wattles, varied habitats and the like to entice a wide variety of species to your home. (Beginner to Intermediate)

28.
  Birds of Prey: “Close Encounters of the Bird Kind”
     Time: 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
     Presenter: Lauretta Dean, Interpretive Ranger Amicalola Falls State Park
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Join us as we talk about these amazing creatures and show off our own live birds! Meet the "Flying Tiger" and other raptors during this enlightening and entertaining program featuring live birds of prey.... cameras welcome! (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

29.
  “Bird Banding in Georgia: Why and How We Do It!”
     Time: 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Charlie Muise, Coordinator of Georgia’s Important Bird Areas Conservation Program
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Charlie will discuss some history and why we band birds, how the birds are kept safe, and show how banding is done. This will be done with many photographs of the process and of Georgia birds up close as most people have never seen them. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

30.
  Frogging By Ear
     Time: 4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
     Presenter: John Jensen, D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Attendees will be given an overview of the incredible frog diversity we have in Georgia and will be shown why, because of their unique vocalizations, these amphibians are a great nighttime alternative for those birders getting tired of waking up so darn early in the morning. We’ll learn about these frogs and their calling behavior during the seminar. Join us for the Frog Walk after the evening speaker to head out to the wetlands to listen and look for the real thing. (Beginner to Intermediate)

31.
  Nancoochee Village   “Birds and Beers” (social):
        Time: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
        Number of people: No maximum
   Description: Get to know fellow birders, speakers, and leaders!
   Beer Provided by Nacoochee Village Tavern & Pizzeria

32.
  Evening Speaker: “Beyond the Field Marks”
     Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
     Featuring: Cameron Cox, Leica Sport Optics
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: The field mark system of bird identification is at the core of most modern field guides. It is a simple system that is easy to understand and widely accepted. But is it really that simple? Is that all that goes on in our brains when we look at a bird is simple matching of features until we get the right fit? What other clues are we using without even realizing it? We will attempt to explore the path the brain takes to recognizing birds and how to develop and hone our perception to make bird identification faster and easier. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
picture by Darlene Moore

33.
  Bat Walk
     Time: 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
     Leader: Trina Morris, D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist
     Number of people: 30
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Want to learn more about the bats you see flying around at night? Come on the bat walk and observe bats foraging at night around the park. We will demonstrate the Anabat bat detector, which allows participants to hear and see bat calls. We will be using spotlights to observe foraging activity over water and along travel corridors. There will also be a demonstration of mist netting techniques used for capturing bats. Please wear appropriate footwear and clothing for walking outdoors at night. Please also bring a flashlight or headlamp. (Beginner and Intermediate)

34.
  Frog Walk
     Time: 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
     Leader: John Jensen, D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist
     Number of people: 30
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: We will drive in the vans to the Visitor Center and walk along the edge of Unicoi Lake to listen and look for frogs commonly found at Unicoi. (Beginner and Intermediate)
Tree Frog
Green Tree Frog
picture by Linda May, GA DNR

 

SATURDAY, May 05, 2012
Registration: 5:00 AM to 5:00 PM


35.
  Brawley Mountain
     Time: 6:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
     Leader: Chuck Hunter, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
     Chief of Division of Planning and Resource Management;
     Todd Schneider, D.N.R.; and Jim Wentworth, U.S.F.S.
     Number of people: 24
     Fee: $40 includes boxed lunch
Distance from Unicoi: 50.7 miles
Description: Join three experienced birders on a trip to Brawley Mountain, the only place in the state where Golden-winged Warblers still breed. This bird is a very rare species in Georgia and the Southeast and has declined sharply across most of its range. Other species likely to be seen include Scarlet Tanager, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Broad-winged Hawk. This hike will include some sections that may be moderate to strenuous, at about a mile round trip. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

36.
  Dawson Forest WMA Atlanta Tract
     Time: 6:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
     Leader: Georgann Schmalz, Birding Adventures
     Number of people: 25
     Fee: $40 includes boxed lunch
     Distance from Unicoi: 39.1 miles
Description: Dawson Forest W.M.A. is a nice mix of old field succession, pine stands, upland hardwoods and bottomland hardwoods. Here we can get 20 species of warblers, 4 vireos, tanagers, thrushes, all the woodpeckers and raptors. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

37.
  Sosebee Cove, Wolfpen Gap and Lake Winfield Scott
     Time: 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
     Leader: Theresa Hartz, Atlanta Audubon Society trip leader
     Number of people: 10
     Fee: $40 includes boxed lunch
     Distance from Unicoi: 28 miles
Description: This exciting trip will lend to seeing many of the breeding Warblers, Thrush and Vireos in the mountains. Sosebee Cove includes a short .25 mile trail on the side of the mountain that allows birders the opportunity to see the species that are found high in the trees more closely. Lake Winfield Scott has a short .4 mile trail around water to see a variety of birds found in the varied habitat. Some exciting birds to be seen include the Black-throated Blue Warbler, American Redstart, Chestnut-Sided Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, and with good chances of Canada Warbler and Veery. All hikes will be easy to moderate walking. (Intermediate)

38.
  Wilks Road, Upper Chattahoochee, and Appalachian Trail at Unicoi Gap
     Time: 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
     Leader: Patty McLean, Birding Enthusiast and Member of the
     Atlanta Audubon Society and Georgia Ornithological Society
     Number of people: 26
     Fee: $20
     Distance from Unicoi: 9.9 miles
Description: Participants will first enjoy a search for Georgia’s special high-elevation breeding birds, such as Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, and much more. We will also descend into the upper Chattahoochee River watershed where we hope to find creek specialists like Louisiana Waterthrush and Acadian Flycatcher. Hike will be moderate with a total of about 2 miles for the day. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

39.
  Bird Walk at Buck Shoals
     Time: 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
     Leader: Dr. Brandon Noel, Temp. Assistant Professor, Georgia Southern University
     Number of people: 26
     Fee: $20
     Distance from Unicoi: 16.5 miles
Description: Buck Shoals State Park has 582 acres and over 9,000 feet of Chattahoochee River frontage. There are open fields, two well stocked ponds and several trails for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. Currently this State Park is only open to the public for events or programs. We will drive to different areas of the park in search of the variety of birds found here in the Spring. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

40.
  Spring Bird Walk Around Unicoi
     Time: 7:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
     Leader: Eugene Keferl
     Number of people: 30
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Come along to Unicoi Bottoms as we walk through several habitat types including pine-hardwood forest, open fields and wetland areas to see and hear more than 40 species of the birds common to Unicoi. (Beginner)

41.
  Bird Banding Demonstration
     Time: 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
     Leader: Charlie Muise, Coordinator of Georgia’s Important Bird Areas Conservation Program
     Number of people: 28
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Charlie follows his presentation from Saturday afternoon with this live demonstration. He and his volunteers will set up some mist nets to capture and band birds in a public place so that attendees can see how it is done. Some lucky participants may have the opportunity to release a wild bird that has been banded. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

42.
  “Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon Conservation in Georgia”
     Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
     Presenter: Jim Ozier, D.N.R. Program Manager, Nongame Conservation Section
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Through extensive conservation efforts, Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon populations have made impressive comebacks from extremely low levels just a few years ago. Now that they have been de-listed, the challenge will be to keep their numbers at a self-sustaining level. Enjoy learning all about these unique raptors! (Beginner to Experienced – ALL)

43.
  Painting Birds in Watercolor - Drybrush
     Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Alan Young, Wildlife Artist & Instructor
     Number of people: 12
     Fee: $10
Description: See description on #20 as this is a session that is offered twice.

44.
  Grasslands and Songbirds
     Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Phil Delestrez, Park Resource Manager, Hard Labor Creek State Park
     and Charlie Muise, Coordinator of Georgia’s Important Bird Areas Conservation Program
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Grasslands are an important habitat type for birds, mammals and insects. Native grasslands are complicated and intricate ecosystems, and they are often misunderstood, neglected, even forgotten as an important habitat type. Yet, grasslands sequester carbon, absorb and filter rainwater, provide habitat to many species of birds, mammals and insects, and provide some of the most diverse ecosystems in terms of plant species. Charlie Muise, The Atlanta Audubon Important Bird Areas Coordinator, has been documenting restoration of these grasslands at two important places in Georgia for the past five years: Panola Mountain and Joe Kurz Wildlife Management Area. His goal is to document how and if the diversity of bird species in these areas change as non-native turf grasses such as European Fescue, and African Bermuda Grass, and exotic woody plants like Chinese Privet and Autumn Olive are removed, and native grasses and wildflowers are restored. (Beginner to Experienced – ALL)

45.
  Shade Grown Coffee
     Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Joy Carter, President Atlanta Audubon Society and Nema Etheridge, Café Campeseno
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Come explore the intricate connection between winter and summer habitats of many of our common backyard birds! From summer nesting in North America, migratory birds travel thousands of miles to winter homes in Central and South America, much of it in the overstory trees on coffee plantations. But in parts of Latin America, the canopy trees have been cut down to make "modern" sun coffee farms, meaning birds lose a home and the world loses another refuge for biological diversity. With the encouragement of farmers' cooperatives throughout the coffee growing regions of Latin America, many farmers are able to grow shade grown coffee as part of the organic and fair trade movements, knowing that the coffee drinking public is becoming educated about the importance of growing coffee as it is supposed to be grown. And the birds who live there year round, as well as migratory birds from North America, have habitat in which they can thrive. Drinking shade grown coffee is something that we all can do to make a difference! (Beginner to Experienced – ALL)

46.
  Common Birds of the Southeast
     Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
     Presenter: Lisa Hurt, Atlanta Audubon Society trip leader
     Number of people: 30
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Ever wondered why birds sing, what they are saying, or how to ID the bird on your feeder? Lisa will discuss 75 of the Common Birds of the Southeast, their field marks and ranges. Participants will also learn about bird songs and calls. (Beginner)

47.
  Anna Ruby Falls Hike “Butterflies and Blossoms”
     Time: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
     Leader: Jim Allison, Retired D.N.R. Botanist
     Number of people: 28
     Fee: $2
     Distance from Unicoi: Adjacent to Unicoi
Description: See description on #25 as this is a session that is offered twice.

48.
  “Flying Wild” Educator Workshop
     Time: 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Susan Chapman, Park Naturalist Unicoi State Park and
     Amber Mooney, Naturalist, Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center
     Number of people: 30
     Fee: $15 for the book
Description: Educators, this is a great hands-on, interactive workshop that will provide training, knowledge, and skills needed to facilitate educational activities on for students K-12. Flying WILD, a program of the Council for Environmental Education, introduces students to bird conservation through standards-based classroom activities and environmental stewardship projects. (Beginner)

49.
  Buntings, Bats and Burning; The Conservation of a Coastal Wilderness:
Little St. Simons Island

     Time: 2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
     Presenter: Scott Coleman, Ecological Manager, Little St. Simons Island
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: See description on #20 as this is a session that is offered twice.

50.
  Improving Your Bird Photography
     Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Gail Stewart & George Bradfield, Thru Nature's Eyes Photography
     Number of people: 30
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Improving Your Bird Photography allows us to draw on our experience in places such as Bosque Del Apache and other wildlife preserves as well as our exploration of state and national parks. We cover the techniques we use to capture bird portraits and birds in flight. We also show how we set up our own backyard habitats and things that you can do to improve backyard bird photography. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

51.
  “Birding Essentials: What Beginners Should Know About Bird Watching”
     Time: 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
     Presenter: Eugene Keferl
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Are you a beginner birder and don’t know where to begin learning to ID the birds at your feeder? Ever been confused since so many of the “L.B.J.’s” (Little Brown Jobs) look alike? Do you have a hard time noticing the differences in markings or distinguishing songs? This seminar is perfect for the novice or beginning birdwatchers. (Beginner)

52.
  Bat Box Building
     Time: 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
     Leader: Trina Morris, D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist
     Number of people: 16
     Fee: $20
Description: We will have pre-cut bat box kits. With Trina as our guide, and assistance from Friends of Unicoi Volunteers, participants will build and take home their own bat box! (Beginner and Intermediate)

53.
  Factors Causing Nest Failures of Large Woodpeckers
     Time: 4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
     Presenter: Dr. Brandon Noel, Temp. Assistant Professor, Georgia Southern University
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: In 2005, wildlife conservationists were excited about the “re-discovery” of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. While a large amount of funding was invested in searching for the Lord God Bird, proportionately fewer funds were used to study factors that may be limiting the productivity of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. Dr. Brandon L. Noel conducted his dissertation work in the exact swamps of Arkansas where the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was purported, but used the Pileated Woodpecker as a surrogate species. Specifically, he addressed the breeding ecology of Pileated Woodpeckers studying 100 separate nests and 64 Pileated Woodpeckers over 4 years of extensive research. His talk will provide highlights from his research, which will include images from nests, and possibly a few biting insects. Make sure you bring your bug spray, as this presentation should make you all feel like you are deep within the bottomland hardwood forests of Arkansas. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

54.
  Nancoochee Village   “Birds and Beers” (social):
        Time: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
        Number of people: No maximum
   Description: Get to know fellow birders, speakers, and leaders!
   Beer Provided by Nacoochee Village Tavern & Pizzeria

55.
  Keynote Dinner: “Bird’s Eye View”
     Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
     Presenter: Joe Duff, C.E.O. Operation Migration Inc.
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: From the perspective of an ultralight aircraft, Joe Duff has been able to provide a Bird’s Eye view of his experiences leading eleven generations of Whooping cranes along their first migration from Wisconsin to Florida. His twenty years as a commercial photographer allows him to capture unique images of birds in flight and he uses them to tell the story of how these magnificent creatures reached an all-time low of only fifteen, yet managed to survive. Joe tells the history of this project from its inception in the 1990 when Operation Migration first learned to fly with Canada geese. He documents their work with Columbia Pictures in the making of Fly Away Home and the trials and tribulations of working with four species of birds. He takes us through the history of a small group of dedicated people who eventually became founding members of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership. He gives us an inside view of the complexities of teaching birds to migrate while keeping them wild and. He uses one of a kind images, humor and colorful stories to demonstrate that anyone can make a difference if they are willing to try. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)
Operation Migration

 

SUNDAY, May 06, 2012
Registration: 5:00 AM to 10:00 AM


56.
  Ivy Log Gap Road
     Time: 6:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
     Leader: Chuck Saleeby, Atlanta Audubon Society trip leader
     Number of people: 27
     Fee: $20
     Distance from Unicoi: 32.7 miles
Description: We will drive Ivy Log Gap Road to hear and see mid to high elevation breeding species with hopes of finding some of the more uncommon breeding warblers in Georgia such as the Cerulean Warbler and Blackburnian Warbler. This will mostly be driving and short easy walking along the gravel and paved roads. We may stop in Blairsville on the way back to look and listen for Willow Flycatchers. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

57.
  Brasstown Bald
     Time: 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
     Leader: Chuck Hunter, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
     Chief of Division of Planning and Resource Management
     Number of people: 27
     Fee: $20
     Distance from Unicoi: 16.6 miles
Description: Brasstown Bald is the highest point in Georgia, at 4,784 feet offering a unique birding adventure. We’ll spend the morning on the Wagon Train Trail and after lunch hike the trail .2 miles to the top of the mountain. Brasstown Bald is one of the more accessible locations in north Georgia to find breeding Veery and Winter Wren, especially where some northern hardwoods such as Birch occur. Also, more often than not, Common Ravens can be seen here. Many species of warblers should be found including Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Hooded, Canada, and Kentucky. In addition to the species mentioned above, we should see and hear many Acadian Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, several species of vireos, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Dark-eyed Junco. Hiking will be moderate to strenuous. For those not wishing to hike to the top there is a shuttle bus available. (Intermediate/Experienced)

58.
  Tray Mountain
     Time: 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
     Leader: Theresa Hartz, Atlanta Audubon Society trip leader
     Number of people: 27
     Fee: $20
     Distance from Unicoi: 13.2 miles
Description: Tray Mountain has an elevation of 4,430 feet making it the 7th highest peak in Georgia. As the Appalachian Trail crosses this high summit, it not only as a beautiful view but unique bird nesting habitats similar to those found in more northern states and even southern Canada. To name a few species that will likely be nesting: Black-throated Blue, Canada and Blackburnian Warbler , as well as Veery and Common Raven. We will bird along the Forest Service Road and then depending on the birds and the group, we may hike to the overlook that has a beautiful 360-degree view. The hike is a steep climb of moderate to strenuous difficulty and is 2 miles round trip. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

59.
  Beginner Bird Walk Around Unicoi Lake
     Time: 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
     Leader: Dr. Brandon Noel, Temp. Assistant Professor, Georgia Southern University
     Number of people: 20
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: Let’s walk the 2 ½ mile Lake Trail around Unicoi Lake. We will walk through several habitat types including pine-hardwood forest, open fields and around the 53-acre lake searching for a variety of species common to Unicoi. Hiking will be moderate as the trail is flat terrain. (Beginner)

60.
  “Birds and Blooms” at Anna Ruby Falls
     Time: 7:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
     Leader: Phil Delestrez, Park Resource Manager, Hard Labor Creek State Park
     Number of people: 27
     Fee: $2
     Distance from Unicoi: Adjacent to Unicoi
Description: Hike a short (1/2 mile each way), paved trail to spectacular Anna Ruby Falls, a rare double falls at the confluence of two creeks. Along the way we will identify all the wildflowers in bloom and the birds we encounter along the way. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

61.
  Birding By Ear Walk at Smithgall Woods
     Time: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
     Leader: Lisa Hurt, Atlanta Audubon Society trip leader
     Number of people: 15
     Fee: $20
     Distance from Unicoi: 4.3 miles
Description: Join in this spring bird walk as we ID birds by sight and sound. There will be an emphasis on birding by ear, listening for spring birdsongs and looking for the newly arrived summer breeders. Smithgall Woods State Park is close to Unicoi and offers a variety of wooded areas as well as open fields. On this trip, we’ll drive in the van to areas the public rarely sees and stop to bird watch throughout the Park. (Beginner to Intermediate)

62.
  “Flying Wild” Educator Workshop
     Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
     Presenters: Susan Chapman, Park Naturalist Unicoi State Park and
     Amber Mooney, Naturalist, Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center
     Number of people: 30
     Fee: $20 for the book
Description: See description on #48 as this is a session that has two parts to attend.

63.
  Up Close and Personal With Nature
     Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
     Presenter: Gail Stewart & George Bradfield, Thru Nature's Eyes Photography
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: “Up Close and Personal With Nature” explores the world of Nature Photography. View a slideshow presentation that utilizes photographs and written material. Explore macro photography and cover insects and plant life as well as flowers. Also covered will be landscapes and wildlife images. Finally, we’ll discuss equipment, opportunities, and techniques that improve your chances of capturing award winning photographs. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

64.
  Shade Grown Coffee
     Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
     Presenter: Joy Carter, President Atlanta Audubon Society and Nema Etheridge, Café Campeseno
     Number of people: No maximum
     Fee: Included in Registration
Description: See description on #44 as this is a session that has two parts to attend. (Beginner to Experienced - ALL)

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