Thursday, January 26, 2017

1.26.17 Birdwatching For Beginners - Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
Brewster, MA

I never know who will show up for Birdwatching For Beginners; the presentation that I give monthly at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.  What is always interesting to me is that it is often the case that most who do, already know SO much about birds, what they're seeing, what they're hearing when outside...curiosity is the perfect lure!

I started this presentation about seven years ago when my son was at Country Day Montessori School.  I wanted to get the kids outside, looking for birds, appreciating birds, listening for birds... mostly, I wanted to get the kids outside.  Fortunately the incredible teachers at this wonderful school, which has sadly since closed 😞, brought their students out for sledding in the winter, & playing in the playground whenever weather allowed.  Again, I understand that being enthralled by birds is not everyone's experience.  You never know when they might catch the eye of someone who wasn't even looking though... especially because they can do what we can't... the birds that is... FLY!!!

I do love presenting tips on how to be a better birdwatcher and much of what I say is basic information that you already know, maybe you just never thought of before as skills to be more attentive to which bird is which.  This morning, the weather was raw and drizzly when I arrived at the museum before class, so I didn't intend to bring the participants outside.  The museum is currently closed and being refreshed for the re-opening on February 18, just in time for February school vacation!  I decided to look for birds through the Marshview Room windows - the best seat in the house!  While we were in there, spotting House Sparrows, Black-capped Chickadees and Northern Cardinals...some of the workers and volunteers were attending to the museum's honey bee hive.  They interrupted us to let me know that they'd just seen a hawk in the museum's yard, catch something (breakfast) and fly off with it. I will tell you, I am the first person to change the channel when the cheetah catches the impala...  but they can't go to Stop & Shop. Nature is tough.  Red-tailed Hawks don't go to Stop & Shop either.  This hawk, my guess a female, because she was so large... caught a smaller bird, took off when the audience grew too large, perched on a large branch across Rt 6A, and was feasting on her late breakfast.  Not so cool for the smaller bird who became breakfast, but really cool to see this hawk, doing what she does, so up close and personal. Don't worry, the photos that I got are not terribly gory, there is really no way to identify which species of bird she captured as her prey.  It was an unexpected & interesting end to the presentation though for sure!  The circle of life, that we are so intricately connected to... happening right before our eyes.  It was amazing.  (double click photos to enlarge)

Red-tailed Hawk

Happy Birding!

Next opportunity for Birdwatching For Beginners: 2.23.17 10am & another at 12:30. Included with admission to the museum.

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