Atlanta’s green spaces host a variety of birds

Friday was the last day of the 118th annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season. Now, results from the season’s hundreds of CBCs nationwide — including 26 in Georgia — will be used by scientists to help gauge the status of bird populations and the health of the planet.

Under National Audubon Society rules, an official CBC can take place on any 24-hour day between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5. Each count covers a pre-approved 15-mile-diameter circle.

I took part in last weekend’s Intown Atlanta CBC, whose circle is centered near the intersection of Briarcliff Road and Ponce de Leon Avenue. Braving bone-numbing cold, more than 70 of us Atlanta Audubon Society members — comprising 13 teams — fanned out just after sunrise to areas of the city within the circle to count all the birds we could see and hear during the day.

Count areas included well-known city green spaces, such as Piedmont, Centennial Olympic and Gresham city parks, and nature preserves, cemeteries, fields, city sidewalks, parking lots, stream banks and other places where birds might congregate. On the south side, our team combed Constitution Lakes Park in an industrial area off Moreland Avenue and walked stretches of the PATH Foundation’s South River Trail in search of birds.

The Intown CBC was started five years ago by birding enthusiasts, led by Atlanta birder Joy Carter, who believed that amid Atlanta’s swaths of asphalt and concrete, there was still a lot of greenery that could provide habitat for a variety of birds.

As if to affirm that notion, last weekend’s Intown CBC tallied 93 species, a record high. Highlights included rufous hummingbird, American kestrel, perergrine falcon, pine siskin, hooded merganser, Wilson’s snipe, sedge wren, wild turkey, brown creeper, pied-billed grebe, snow goose and others.

As Atlanta Audubon’s incoming president Esther Stokes noted: “We have a lot of avian diversity to celebrate in Atlanta. Plus, it was a lot of fun finding the birds.”

IN THE SKY: From David Dundee, Tellus Science Museum astronomer: The moon will be last quarter on Monday. Mercury, Venus and Saturn are low in the east just before sunrise. Jupiter and Mars rise out of the east just after midnight. Mars and Jupiter appear near the moon Wednesday night.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Living

‘American Idol’ Atlanta auditions at Infinite Energy draw first and second-round hopefuls
‘American Idol’ Atlanta auditions at Infinite Energy draw first and second-round hopefuls

“American Idol” Thursday held its final early-round auditions at Infinite Energy Arena before the three celebrity judges start vetting the talent. Patrick Lynn, the supervising producer who has overseen “Idol” auditions since the show’s launch in 2002, said in an interview that the audition date was added on the schedule...
CDC approves nasal-spray vaccine for flu season
CDC approves nasal-spray vaccine for flu season

After advising the public to avoid the nasal-spray version of the flu vaccine for the past two years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now giving it the green light. A favorite of the needle-averse, the spray did not appear to work as well against H1N1, a strain of the flu, in the past few seasons, the CDC said. But it’s expected...
HPV-related cancer rates are rising. Vaccine rates are rising, too

Cancers linked to the human papillomavirus have increased significantly over the last 15 years in the United States, with throat cancer now the most common HPV-related malignancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 43,000 people developed HPV-associated cancer in 2015, compared with about 30,000 in 1999, the CDC...
Lab-approved ways to disaster-proof your home
Lab-approved ways to disaster-proof your home

Whether you’re an owner or a renter, stay one step ahead of fires, leaks, floods and worse with our expert advice to avoid costly repairs and keep your family safe. Four ways to fireproof the fam In a recent survey, you told us that unexpected flames are your No. 1 home concern. Follow this checklist to ease your fire fears: 1. Assess your equipment...
Huge clinical trial collapses, research on alcohol remains befuddling

Research on alcohol consumption is in a pickle. There’s no question that pounding one drink after another is bad for your health. Things get murkier when it comes to “moderate” drinking. What does that mean? What’s the limit? Can a health-conscious person serenely order a second round? The alcohol industry has long embraced...
More Stories