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Swamp Canaries at the Audubon Center Beidler Forest

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

Team MIG spent a wonderful day at the Audubon Center Beidler Forest. On the one and three-quarter mile long boardwalk, you may sometimes find a cluster of photographers with lenses all focused on a small cavity in a bald cypress knee, hoping to get pictures of Prothonotary warbler parents flying in and out with insects for their babies. Sometimes called swamp canaries, these birds are one of the only two warblers that nest in holes in dead wood, in Beidler most often a hole in a cypress knee slightly above water. In other parts of the state and country they nest in swamps, flooded bottomlands, or other places near water, mostly in dead tree holes sometimes first excavated by other birds, although they will use provided nesting boxes. Their breeding grounds extend to the Mississippi and as far north as Wisconsin.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.