Bird of the Month

Have you seen any of these birds on the Greenway? Please let us know where.

August 2022

Gray Catbird

Dumatella carolinensis

You may spot a Gray Catbird along the greenway after hearing its distinctive call, like the mew of a cat.  Catbirds belong to the same family as mockingbirds and have the ability to mimic sounds.

Gray Catbirds breed in western NC in the summertime.  Look for a dark gray bird with a black cap in the dense thickets.  You can attract catbirds to your yard by planting native shrubs with berries.

Gray Catbirds are rare here in the winter, but a few have been spotted in our local parks during the annual Christmas Bird Count.

July 2022

Red-shouldered Hawk

Buteo lineatus

The Red-shouldered Hawk is a forest hawk which lives in much of the southeastern US year-round.  It hunts small mammals, reptiles and amphibians in the woods around the waters edge.

The adult hawk is identified by its orange or peachy-colored breast and strongly banded tail.  It also has red shoulder patches which can sometimes be visible when the bird is resting or in flight.

Listen for the Red-shouldered Hawk calling while at rest or in flight, as it is a very vocal bird of prey.

June 2022

Pileated Woodpecker

Dryocopus pileatus

A year-round resident to much of the eastern US, the Pileated Woodpecker is our largest woodpecker in the area.  Listen for it calling or pecking on large trees.

Pileated Woodpeckers are about the size of crows, with black and white plumage and a striking red crest.

These woodpeckers are cavity nesters and excavate holes in large dead trees.  For this reason, dead trees are often left on the greenway to provide sources of food and nest cavities.


May 2022

Indigo Bunting

Passerina cyanea

Indigo Buntings are returning to the greenway from wintering in Central and South America. They breed in our area and will migrate south again in the fall.

Breeding male Indigo Buntings are bright blue, and females and non-breeding males are brown. Like all blue birds, Indigo Buntings lack blue pigment. Their color comes from structures in their feathers which reflect and refract blue light.

Look for buntings in weedy or shrubby areas. Often male buntings will sing from the tallest perch of a tree.

April 2022

Eastern Towhee

Pipilo erythrophthalmus

The Eastern Towhee is a large, brightly colored sparrow that can be found on the greenway, usually scratching on the ground in the leaf litter.

At this time of year, the males sing  “Drink your tea”, and at other times call “Tow - hee”.

Males are boldly patterned with black above, orange flanks and a white underbelly. Females have a warm brown color instead of the black.

Towhees are found on the greenway year-round but are especially vocal this time of year.

March 2022

Northern Cardinal

Cardinalis cardinalis

The bright red male Northern Cardinal is one of the most recognizable birds.

Cardinals don’t migrate and are therefore found on the greenway year-round.

Adult cardinals don’t molt their feathers so the males remain bright red all year. The females are a warm brown with red accents.

Look for cardinals foraging on the ground or perched in the trees, singing.