The first visit to the Mickey property just happened to be in the springtime, and deep in the beautiful mature hardwood forest, the cheery songs of the ovenbird rang out clearly. Their call is a bright and loud “teacher-teacher-teacher!” and so distinctive that it is easily one of the first calls new birders learn to recognize.
Ovenbirds and nearly 70 other species of neotropical migratory birds fly thousands of miles to our region from Central and South America every spring to mate and have their young here. These birds often come back to the very same spot year after year, and they require mature deciduous hardwood forest habitat in which to nest and forage. As a result of clear-cutting and loss of this habitat type, many of these species of birds are now in decline. But, thanks to a conservation easement placed on his 65-acre property, David Mickey has ensured that this forest will remain a home and sanctuary for them in perpetuity. The forest found here is of high enough quality that it is part of a significant natural heritage area known as “Shady Grove Slopes,” as identified by the NC Natural Heritage Program.
This forest will certainly be a unique refuge in this area for these birds and other wildlife, as it is nearly surrounded by development. Located just a short ten-minute drive from Winston-Salem and High Point, adjacent properties to the Mickey Property are subdivisions full of houses and pavement. This land easily could have been sold for top dollar to become another high-end residential development. But David Mickey asks, “How do you put value on this habitat for the ovenbird or any of the other hundreds of species that use this forest and creek?” Thanks to David, this property will continue to serve as a needed home for a variety of wildlife perpetually. Transactional funding for this easement was provided by The Conservation Trust for North Carolina.