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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bald Eagle ~ Wild Bird Wednesday


For Wild Bird Wednesday

Hikers Learn About Diverse Bird Species at Euharlee Wildlife Refuge 

By Cory Stewart

With the fall bird migration in full swing, avid birders recently attended an educational hike at the 107-acre Euharlee wildlife refuge on Dobbins Mountain. The hikes, which were hosted by Cartersville Ranch and the City of Euharlee, provided members of the Atlanta Audubon Society, Coalition for the Right Road and others with the opportunity to learn about several different types of native and migratory birds and their habitat. 

(Click on the image to get a better look.)
A fish from the Cartersville Ranch lake was the unlucky victim of an adult bald eagle’s persistence and powerful claws. (photo courtesy of Shannon Fair)


Many agreed that the highlight of the hike was three adult bald eagles having a dispute over a fish. As the hike was concluding, a bald eagle dove towards the lake and grabbed a fish approximately 200 to 300 feet from the hikers and the remaining two bald eagles gave chase for the eagle’s catch.  Other notable highlights included a sharp-shinned hawk pursuing a woodpecker through the wildlife refuge and a confirmed sighting of the declining Cerulean Warbler

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “The Cerulean Warbler is one of the species of highest concern in the eastern United States because of a small total population size and significant declines throughout its range. The Cerulean is under consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act and is listed on the Audubon Watchlist.”

An adult bald eagle grabs a fish from the lake on Cartersville Ranch. The eagle was one of three adult bald eagles that were utilizing the ranch’s lake as a source for food. (photo courtesy of Shannon Fair)

Kent Percy, member of the Atlanta Audubon Society, said, “It was a beautiful hike through the wildlife refuge’s contiguous hardwood forest, which contains a wide array of birds and wildlife. It would be tragic to see the 411 Connector come through here. If there are other options to build the road, I certainly hope the Georgia Department of Transportation looks very closely at its alternatives before destroying the easement. You cannot recreate what is here.”

Hike leader Josh Spence discusses color markings and other information about the Cerulean Warbler with local birding enthusiast and blogger Jean Pell. (photo courtesy of Cory Stewart)

While many were excited about the numerous types of neotropical birds observed, others remarked at the beauty and habitat quality of the wildlife refuge.
“I was very impressed with the diversity of bird species we observed on the hike,” said Atlanta birder Ruth Marley. “The property and conservation easement are beautifully maintained. It is wonderful that there are so many vines, great cover and protected areas for the birds. More importantly, it should be kept this way.”
Percy added, “This is something you cannot find in your backyard. You can see cardinals and blue jays all you want, but you cannot observe this many different types of birds; unless you get into an area that has a lot of forest. You hate to see some of this being destroyed for a road that could be done elsewhere.”
Designated as a significant wildlife refuge by the City of Euharlee in 2010, the conservation easement on Dobbins Mountain was certified for special conservation status last year by the DNR because it protects wildlife habitat through the conservation of high priority species and habitats.
Learn how to help us stop this Road at : Coalition for the Right Road
I wish to thank Cory for being my guest poster and for being a champion for the wildlife on Dobbins Mountain. Plus...a very special thanks to fellow birder... the one with a great lens (Shannon Fair) for the fabulous captures of the Bald Eagle with a fish and a  huge, huge thanks to Joshua Spence our very knowledgeable guide!!! This hike was amazing!
Wishing Peace, Love, Health, and Wealth to All! 
Good Birding Y'all!

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