Land Trust of North Alabama has been awarded grant funding from Cornell Lab of Ornithology to establish a bird habitat and education site at Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve in partnership with Alabama A&M University (AAMU), Tennessee Valley Audubon Society (TVAS), and North Alabama Birdwatching Society (NABS).
The bird demonstration site, which will be used to conduct workshops to educate the community on bird identification, backyard habitats, and the collection of bird data, is located near Driskell Trail just north of Terry Education Pavilion. When complete, it will include a bird blind for observation and a water feature to enhance the habitat. Interpretative signage will also be installed to showcase native plants that provide cover and food for birds as well as problems associated with non-native invasive plant species. All of the details have been selected with input from a variety of local experts. Construction of the blind is now complete and work on the water feature is in progress with the entire project scheduled for completion by August 2022.
The other significant component of this grant project is focused on community education and data collection with a goal of positively impacting management plans for Land Trust properties and empowering individuals to do more to enhance wildlife habitats on their own properties.
AAMU Bird and Herp Research Lab has completed bird mist netting at several locations around Chapman Mountain since December 2021. Birds are caught, identified, and banded. These observations will continue on a seasonal basis with opportunities for community involvement.
Throughout the year, the Land Trust will host a series of Birding Workshops and BioBlitzes to collect information about birds in our area and educate members of the community about how they can help protect them. The first workshop was held in March with a second scheduled for May. BioBlitzes, or citizen-science efforts to record species within a designated location and time period, will be held not only at Chapman Mountain but other Land Trust nature preserves. Information gathered by our partners and volunteers during these types of events and on an on-going basis will bolster historic birding data. That data is then used to prioritize future bird conservation projects. The more we know about the species and habitats on our lands, the more we can do to appropriately protect them. Also, by creating an increased awareness of bird diversity in North Alabama, we hope to inspire area homeowners to implement measures in their own backyards that can improve wildlife habitats outside of preserved land.
Check our calendar for upcoming events related to this project and visit Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve to see the bird education site in progress. We hope you’re able to join us in this community effort to appreciate and protect the birds that live in and travel through our region.