A publication of Appalachian Voices


A publication of Appalachian Voices

Celebrating Appalachia’s magnificent biodiversity.



American Kestrel

The American kestrel is North America’s smallest falcon. This bird, whose population is declining, adapts well to nest boxes installed by conservationists.


Mistaken Identity: Recognizing the northern water snake

The non-venomous northern water snake is frequently spotted at swimming holes and rivers in Appalachia — and sometimes mistaken for its venomous cousin, the copperhead.


A Magical Mycology Tapestry

The mushrooms of Appalachia offer diverse tastes and medicinal benefits for the wild forager. But be careful, since many edible mushrooms have poisonous look-alikes.


Meet The Elusive American Woodcock

Characterized by a long bill, short and stout stature, extravagant mating display and a nickname like timberdoodle, the American Woodcock would seem to be a bird that stands out. But that is not the case.


Cougar: Ghost of Appalachia

The Eastern cougar was declared extinct in 2011 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But that doesn't keep other species of mountain lions from passing through the region, leaving behind blurry pictures and occasional eerie screams in the forest.


Sumac: A Winter Spice

The bright red berries of the sumac plant add color to the winter landscape. While poison sumac has earned a bad reputation, other varieties of the plant have a long and multicultural history of use, including as a spice and as a dye or tanning agent.


The Coyote Conundrum

Coyote populations in the Appalachian region are growing, and increasingly they are adapting to urban settings. As a result, interactions with humans are becoming more common.


Mounting Threats Imperil Two Appalachian Crayfish

There are more than 300 different species of crayfish in the southeastern United States, and two West Virginia species of these adaptable freshwater crustaceans may be declared federally endangered.


Scientists Go to Bat for the Bats

Scientists engaged in the years-long battle against the devastating white-nose syndrome have found bright spots in the fight to protect bats from the disease.


Caught red-handed! Or more accurately, red-beaked

Wood thrushes — and their appetite for bright-red ginseng berries — are helping the plant spread its range further north.


Elk Make Slow Return to Appalachia

When European colonists arrived in the 1400s, Eastern elk were the most widespread hooved animal on the continent, but the subspecies was declared extinct by 1880. Today, however, another type of elk are slowly returning to Appalachia.


The Lake Sturgeon: Ancient Fish, Modern Recovery

The lake sturgeon is the largest and longest-living freshwater fish native to the southeastern United States. In evolutionary terms, this primitive fish has changed little since it swam among dinosaurs, but its continued survival was in doubt until recently.


Sandhill Cranes: A Winter Spectacle in Southeast Tennessee

Each winter, thousands of redheaded, long-legged sandhill cranes descend upon the mud flats and grain fields along the banks of the Tennessee River at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Tennessee.


Forest Fugitives

Wanted: Six invasive species accussed of trespassing on American soil and robbing her of her natural resources.


Exploring Mountain Bogs

Although mountain bogs represent less than one percent of the southern Appalachian landscape, they are pockets of immense ecological and practical importance and provide a haven for many rare plants and animals.