Phinizy is for the Birds – And Birdwatchers too!
By Ruth Mead
Not only is Phinizy Swamp a place of incredible beauty, but it also happens to be a hotspot for birds. It would only be natural for the Phinizy Center to offer field ornithology (birdwatching) classes – and we do! In September 2014, we embarked on a challenge to offer ornithology classes with a 12 week basic field ornithology course. It was so well received that we were able to offer a spring course on bird breeding behavior as well. So, with fall about to land in our laps, it’s time to announce our 2015 Fall Field Ornithology Basics Course. Ready to register? Want to know more?
In a recent study, University of Chicago researchers discovered that people who lived in areas with more street trees not only thought they had better heath but it turns out they actually were healthier. So what’s the magic? Is it merely the trees or is it perhaps the community they bring – squirrels, raccoons, opossums, insects and….birds – owls, hawks, robins, cardinals? Is our unconscious mind taking in the beautiful songs of our neighborhood birds and possibly delighting in watching a mockingbird swooping down at a neighbor’s cat? Having birds in our lives either consciously or unconsciously can only enhance our daily outlook.
The word birdwatching first appeared in 1901. Birdwatching.com quotes birdwatching to be “your lifetime ticket to the theater of nature.” It is estimated that 20% of all Americans are identified as birdwatchers. Birdwatching, birding, and birder all have a little different meaning but basically all refer to the great hobby a lot of Americans have already found. Since the late 18th century when people started watching birds instead of hunting them, the birding hobby has skyrocketed. From enjoying watching birds at the backyard feeder to going on an Eco tour birding vacation, this hobby makes a large economic impact.
Getting started can be frustrating. You see a beautiful new bird at your feeder but can’t find it in the field guide. Where do you look? Which field guide should you use? How do you choose a pair of binoculars? You go birding with a group of birders like an Audubon outing and only see about 1/10th of the birds everyone else did. What’s their secret? Well honestly, there is no secret. All it takes is a little guidance and a lot of practice. Taking a field ornithology class is definitely one way to improve your birding skills, plus it can be a lot of fun and get you off to a great start for a lifetime of birding. Whether you are just getting started or looking for a group of folks to go birding with, we would love to have you in our fall 2015 class. Space is limited though, so register today!