Five years ago, when Melanie Furr found a neighbor’s cat toying with a chipmunk, she rescued the injured creature and brought it to the Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort. Afterward Furr, 43, began volunteering there and discovered she had an affinity for birds. In 2012 she went on her first Atlanta Audubon Society bird walk.
“I had no idea you could go out on Saturday morning and see 42 different songbirds,” she says. Furr became hooked on the walks and eventually began leading her own. Today, as the Audubon Society’s educational manager, she oversees 25 volunteer guides for the free tours, many of which take place in Piedmont Park, Candler Park, and along the Atlanta BeltLine.
Regular sightings include bright yellow American goldfinches and the blue back and red belly of the Eastern bluebird. “The birds are eye-catching, but many people don’t realize they’re here because of our dense tree canopy,” Furr says. “But once someone points them out, you start to notice them hiding in plain sight.”
This article originally appeared in our June 2015 issue.