BIRDS OF A FEATHER….by Phyllis Billingsley



Do you have bird feeders in your yard?  This is the time of the year that the wintering birds are looking for goodies at our feeders, especially the cardinals and woodpeckers.  Many people here at Brunswick Plantation have a feeding program for the birds.  Woodpeckers particularly like suet feeders—and don’t let them get empty.  One year ours got used up and the woodpecker came up on the deck and tapped on the sliding glass door.  Here in Brunswick County we can even have hummingbirds winter over.  A friend found an interesting feather on our golf course—scanned and faxed it to the Education Director at Audubon North Carolina—and discovered it was from a Great Horned Owl!  Another of our golf holes has an eagle living in an old tree.

One wonderful bird living here in southeast North Carolina is the Painted Bunting.  One observer says, “This bird flew off the page of a child’s coloring book” with its blue, red, green, and yellow feathers.  This time of year they are heading to Cuba and Mexico. Find more information at:


Birds are an important indicator of the overall health of our environment.  Like the “canaries in the coal mine,” they send an urgent warning about threats to our water, air, natural resources, climate, and more.  Here on the coast of southeastern North Carolina, we also have the wonderful shore birds we see on a daily basis—the brown pelicans, the ospreys, the egrets, and many more.  The 19 coastal islands of North Carolina have been designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) and groups monitor them for their continued wellbeing.

CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT – 12.14.12-01.05.13 –

The 113th Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society, will take place this year from 12.14.12 to 01.05.13.  Tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in an adventure that has become a family tradition among generations.  This is the longest CITIZEN SCIENCE SURVEY in the world.  Data from more than 2,000 circles are entered after the count and become available to query on

Armed with binoculars, bird guides, and checklists, families and students, birders and scientists annually brave snow, wind, and rain to take part in this valuable conservation action.  Why do they do it?  They do it for the love of birds and the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation.

Here at Brunswick Plantation we fall under the Cape Fear Audubon Society. Go to: for information.  They are located in Wilmington NC.


There have been several excellent projects here in Brunswick County.  One of the most interesting is THE GOOD EGG/SHARE THE BEACH program.  During the summer volunteers helped Audubon North Carolina staff talk to beachgoers and ask them to sign a pledge to “Be a Good Egg” and share the beach with nesting birds.  Beachgoers who signed the pledge were given “Good Egg” magnets, t-shirts, and bumper stickers in exchange for helping advertise the project to other beachgoers.


This is an annual four day event that engages bird watchers of all ages to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are.  This will be held 02.15-18.2013 this next year.  Go to: for more information.


This NEWS BLOG is named for a very special place in our hearts.  Bird Island is an uninhabited barrier island in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, adjacent to Sunset Beach.  In 1981, when land-development proposals surfaced, a local resident planted a little black mailbox, with a notebook and pencil inside, as a plea to help save the 1,300-acre barrier island.  And it worked.  Old-fashioned handwritten letters helped secure Bird Island’s state reserve status.  Even after the island was saved though, the letters of fond memories kept showing up.  Visiting tourists and locals still today add to the Kindred Spirit Mailbox notebooks.  Bird Island can now be reached directly from Sunset Beach Island.  It not only has shore birds, but nesting loggerhead turtles, and many types of special dune grasses.  Brunswick Plantation is only minutes from these pristine beaches—what a treat!


Meet Carl the Traveling Cardinal.  He is hitting the road in support of Audubon North Carolina.  Follow his adventures at’s-carl.   Carl’s travels are all about encouraging you to sign up for Audubon North Carolina’s Cardinal Club Monthly Giving Program before the end of 2012.  When you receive your bird, be sure to give him a name and post a picture on their Facebook page., click on Facebook icon. 

Here at Brunswick Plantation we enjoy the spectacle of the real birds as well as the “birdies” on the golf course.




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