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Wednesday, 10 July 2013 00:00

Updates for birders

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Learn about the birds of Communist Cuba

Cuba has long been a sought-after birding destination, and an international birder who just returned from the island nation is ready to share her stories with the public.

Romney Bathurst will present an evening program “After the Victory of the Revolution: Birding in Cuba Today” at 7 p.m. Monday, July 22, at the Highlands Civic Center. Cuba is an important sanctuary for birds. It offers 26 endemic species, including the world’s smallest bird, the Bee Hummingbird, which measures just over two inches.

Bathurst couldn’t pass up a chance to visit Cuba when she was offered a spot on a licensed bird survey in April. In her program, the special birds of Cuba will be featured, including the Bee Hummingbird and exotic species as Cuban Parakeets, Oriente Warbler and the very rare and endangered Gundlach’s Hawk. 

Romney also will discuss the current social and political conditions she saw first hand during her trip. The photos of cars from the 1950s alone will appeal to many, along with both city and rural scenes of life in the time-warped Communist state of Cuba. or 828.743.9670.


Birds go digital across the state

Birders in North Carolina are flocking to the recently redesigned N.C. Birding Trail website, which provides detailed information on each of the 327 sites statewide that comprise the loosely associated “trail.”

The key feature of the new website is a map from which visitors can browse sites by location, using a Google map interface. When visitors click on a site on the map, they will see a short summary and description of the site, birds they might see or hear and the type of habitat surrounding the location. 

The map also incorporates a “bird finder,” where birders can search for a particular bird.

“For instance, if you type in ‘American redstart,’ the map will display all of the birding trail sites where redstarts might be seen, as well as any recent sightings from other birders in the previous 14 days,” said Scott Anderson, the bird conservation biologist for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

The N.C. Birding Trail launched in 2005 as a way to connect people to birds and bird habitats by supporting sustainable bird watching, increasing the understanding of bird diversity in the Tar Heel state and encouraging patronage of local businesses.

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