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You are here: Home Corvid Crier Stories 2018-03 New Discoveries at First-time Birder Walks

New Discoveries at First-time Birder Walks

By Lori Danielson

What happens when you mix together a handful of people brand new to birding, a few minutes of instruction from Eastside Audubon members, and a leisurely walk in some of the eastside’s best birding spots? New discoveries, new friends, and a new awareness of bird-friendly communities, that’s what! The EAS first-time birder walks are enjoying great success and teaching people young and old what fun birdwatching can be. 

 

Supporting Bird-friendly Communities Initiative

The walks started in November 2017 as an outgrowth of the EAS board’s strategic plan and in support of the goal of creating a bird-friendly eastside. One of the actions identified was to add more birding activities for novices. The board’s diversity and inclusion chair, Antonio Montañana, formulated a plan for monthly walks to take place on Saturday mornings at local parks. He recruited board secretary Lori Danielson to assist with planning and leading the walks. 

 

Walks in Nearby Parks

First-time birder walks have taken place at Juanita Bay Park, Lake Sammamish State Park, and Lake Hills Greenbelt. At Lake Hills, the group was joined by EAS’s Hugh Jennings, who added his perspectives of a frequent birder at the Greenbelt and one who is knowledgeable of the park’s history. Future locations will also include Mercer Slough and Tolt MacDonald Park in Carnation. The walks are held in various locations to make them more accessible to people who live all around the eastside. 

 

Learning the Basics

Participants have ranged from grandmothers to elementary school students, with many in between. If they don’t have binoculars, EAS loans them a pair for the duration of the walk. The novices learn about bird identification, field guides and apps, birding etiquette and ethics, and how to use binoculars. A document describing all the topics discussed is emailed to each participant after the walk, so they can easily refresh their memory on what they learned.

 

New Experiences

Afterwards, some participants have joined Eastside Audubon as new members, while others have pledged to make their yards friendlier to birds. One 10-year-old participant said, “The most interesting part of the trip was watching the ducks fly as a group above the lake. They made the triangle flight formation. I had never seen ducks do that!”

 

If you know someone who might be interested in joining a first-time birder walk, look on the EAS website calendar for details. Registration is required and the walks fill up fast. We register participants in order to keep the groups small and less intimidating. Don’t miss out on this fun and easy path to new discoveries, new friends, and a new awareness of birds.

 
FTB group spotting birds at Lake Hills Greenbelt Jan2018, by Jinha Park
Photo: First Time Birders group spotting birds at Lake Hills Greenbelt, January 2018, by Jinha Park
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The mission of Eastside Audubon is to protect, preserve and enhance natural ecosystems and our communities for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people.