Juvenile barred owls at Burnt Mill Creek, Wilmington.
UNIVERSITY of North Carolina Wilmington special collections librarian
Rebecca Baugnon’s work on Wilmington Bird Club documents has
recently sparked an interest in avian habits. She has observed birds
on outdoor adventures and in her backyard during the pandemic.
“My fiancé and I saw a painted bunting on the basin trail at Fort Fisher a few
weeks ago and it appears that they were common in that area even in the 1950s.
A pair of barred owls have taken residence in our backyard and their mating calls
are loud enough to stir anyone from the dead, not to mention agitating our cat
into a frenzied state of excitement at 3 a.m. ,” she says. “The red-bellied woodpeck-ers
have started pecking our house when the bird feeder gets low on seed, while
the blue jays make an absolute ruckus anytime the squirrels are brave enough to
attempt the squirrel buster.”
Peleuses leads a monthly bird viewing walk through Airlie Gardens the second
Wednesday of every month. Wrightsville Beach is another favorite place.
“Wrightsville Beach is a birding hot spot,” she says. “Audubon North Carolina
works to protect the nesting shorebirds with the town’s support to give the birds
space for nesting. There were approximately 134 nesting pairs of black skimmers
this year along with over 160 nesting pairs of least terns.”
There are plenty of good places in Brunswick County too.
“The east end of Oak Island is a really good place to bird,” Peleuses says.
“Brunswick Town is a good place to see waders. And taking the ferry down to
Southport is fun. You can see pelicans, loons in the winter, terns – all sorts of
Birding is a great activity to do alone or while socially distancing with friends.
Devoted birders will own a pair or two of binoculars.
“A good pair of binoculars makes a huge difference,” Peleuses says. “My favorites
are 8 x 42. Eight times bigger than what you normally see, and it allows for good
light capability. I also recommend waterproof. I just rinse mine off in the sink after
a trip to the beach.”
BIRD FLOCK NAMES
how many do you know?
a band of jays
a bevy of larks
a charm of finches
a confusion of warblers
a cotillion of terns
a descent or drumming of woodpeckers
a herd of wrens
a mob of emus
a murder of crows
a mustering of storks
a parliament or wisdom of owls
a pitying of turtledoves
a race of roadrunners
a slurp of sapsuckers
a walk of snipe
a watch of nightingales
WBM september 2020