Greetings from the Beidler Forest Audubon Center & Sanctuary! I hope this message finds you safe and well.
As I checked on facilities at Beidler Forest last week, I saw a small yellow bird flit past my office window. I peeked over my desk to see what it was and caught a glimpse of a Prothonotary Warbler just before it flew off. Most Prothonotary Warblers that nested at Beidler this year have already headed south, but a few still linger in the forest. I am happy to report that our staff observed a very successful nesting season for this species in the swamp in 2020. It appears that the birds and other wildlife at Beidler are doing well, and I take comfort in knowing that their nesting and migration has continued on uninterrupted (despite all the tragedy and unrest that COVID-19 has brought to the human world).
Although our operations have been affected by the pandemic, our staff have been able to continue work on several projects at the center. Most notably of these is the development of a new system of trails that meanders through habitats that our staff and volunteers have been restoring to Longleaf Pine and native grasslands. Though these trails were slated to open in 2021, we have been fast-tracking their completion in order to make the sanctuary available to the community while the boardwalk remained closed. These two miles of trails feature bridges built by Eagle Scouts and a bird feeder station compliments of Wild Birds Unlimited. As fall weather arrives, we invite you to come out for a hike. Watch this video about our new trail system!
I also invite you to read more about some of our bird research that was able to continue over the summer, including a summary from our MAPS bird banding station. Audubon SC Engagement Manager and Master Bander Jen Tyrrell reflects on this unique season and how it compared to past years. Read more
Many of you have come to know our educational Blue Jay – John “Jay” – that lives at Beidler. With the center closed over the summer, John Jay has been spending lots of time at home with Center Manager Emily Davis. All this time together has made for some interesting and humorous encounters – read Emily’s take on it here!
Lastly, I wanted to say how appreciative our staff are to all of you that have reached out, sent words of encouragement, volunteered and/or donated over the last six months. Your support now means more than ever. We are working hard on finalizing a plan to reopen the boardwalk in a modified way – please check our website and social media channels for updates on this.
For those of you that would like to support our work, we’re pleased to share a link that allows you to donate directly to Beidler Forest – your tax-deductible contribution means so much to our work at this amazing place. Donate today!
Wishing you a happy fall filled with good health (and birds)!
All the best,
Matt Johnson, Center Director