Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) and a slew of volunteers spent a full day chainsawing, mowing, trimming, and cutting to create additional habitat for the rare and “near threatened” golden-winged warbler.
The golden-winged warbler is an early successional species that is dependent on a unique habitat consisting of sparse trees, shrubs, and abandoned fields. Unfortunately, the golden-winged warbler’s habitat is rapidly disappearing, as old farmsteads and other early successional habitats are developing back into forested land.
Under the leadership of SAHC’s seasonal ecologist, Chris Coxen, volunteers created additional habitat space for these incredible birds in the hopes to increase nesting pairs in the area next spring and summer on Little Hump Mountain. The project was extremely successful, as associate director, Kristy Urquhart explains, “we accomplished more than we thought we would do in a short amount of time.”
And not only was the day a hopeful success story for the golden-winged warbler, but the group also worked to clear an overgrown road that can now be used for leading hikes on in the future. “I’m personally excited not only for helping to preserve such a unique bird in our ecosystem, but also for the possibility of having a wildlife refuge trail for future hikes on Little Hump Mountain”, says Urquhart.
The group consisted of employees from SAHC, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Highland Brewing Company, students from Warren Wilson College, and volunteers from the surrounding area. Urquhart continues, “Our team was a total pleasure to work with and accomplished a lot in only one day.” We send a big thanks to everyone who came out to help to make the day such a big success!