By SB Williams

With more than 5 million living in metro Atlanta, the city vibrates with the roar of motors and engines and resonates with vocal sounds of multiple languages, omnipresent music and ringing phones.

Less obvious is a parallel world, whose winged members are equally active in pursuing their lives – meeting responsibilities to their families, securing their homes – and who are contributing volubly to the sounds and motion, drama and welfareof our throbbing community.

Although it contributes no tax revenue for the city, this winged sector of Atlanta’s census earns its space with irreplaceable benefits to the city and its own welfare is the constant concern of the Atlanta Audubon Society.

Established in Atlanta in 1973, and recently settled in airy new quarters at Blue Heron Preserve on Roswell Road (across from Pike’s Nursery), the nonprofit Atlanta Audubon Society has grown dramatically as interest in our feathered citizens has increased.

The Society is the region’s primary education and conservation organization dedicated to birds. Its work is focused on two goals: education and stewardship, and to this end it provides programs and events for adults and students that include workshops, field trips, a speaker series, photography contests, scholarship programs, a speakers bureau, and a Birds in the Park Celebration.

Today there are 800 local members, and each year volunteers commit thousands of hours to the organization.

The Society houses an extensive library for research which includes thousands of pictures and facts about birds of our area and beyond. It offers scores of bird-sighting trips locally, as well as in other areas of Georgia.

Since time memorial, birds have captured our imagination and been a source of beauty and inspiration. In Georgia, our state bird, the Brown Thrasher, is the mascot of a sports team as are falcons and hawks.

Sadly, construction in the city as well as in rural areas of the state is threatening many species of our local and state birds. Our famous Bob White, the Field Sparrow, the Meadowlark, the Northern Flicker, the Loggerhead Shrike, the Grasshopper Sparrow, the Whip-o-will, with its famous call at dusk, the American Bittern, the Ruffled Grouse, and even the Brown Thrasher, are considered endangered.

What can be done? The Atlanta Audubon Society’s Executive Director Catherine Kucher hopes that, as more land becomes developed across Georgia, more homeowners will consider having their backyards certified by the Society as a wildlife sanctuary. A positive development is that churches and other institutions with available wooded land are planning to do this also.

Kucher said by providing food, water sources, nesting sites, and shelter, these areas will be providing a critical habitat for local birds and a “corridor” for successful migration of transient birds.

For help in creating a wildlife sanctuary, identifying a bird, or information about lectures, field trips, and other programs, call the Atlanta Audubon Society at (678) 973-2437 or send an email to ass.info@atlantaaudubon.org or write to Catharine Kucher, Executive Director of the Atlanta Audubon Society, 4055 Roswell Road, Atlanta, Georgia, 30342.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.