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“Anyone Can Bird!” - By Judy Boyce

On one of our birding forays last month, Mary Nettleton, wife of Episcopalian pastor Ed Nettleton, graced us with her presence. According to Lyn Lampert, this proved that “anyone can bird.” I agree. Mary, unable to see birds, heard many birds that escaped our notice. This was very helpful to me. Though I am not deaf, I am hearing impaired. I rely greatly on Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s mobile app Merlin to hear bird calls and identify them on my iPhone. Merlin identifies the bird call and then I can listen for it. I know, that may not make sense to “hearing” people, but when I am alerted by Merlin, I can then listen for the call or song and many times I will be able to pick it out from the calls of other birds. And then I can look for the bird itself. Birding is also possible without ever leaving your car. This goes to show you, no matter what impairment you are living with, blindness or hearing impairment or mobility limitations, there are ways to compensate.

The Lake Fork Valley Conservancy sponsored three birding outings in May. Two more outings were scheduled for June for Star Fest presenters and attendees. Additionally, several outings were arranged for visitors from Massachusetts, Texas, and Arizona. All these outings to many areas in and around Lake City added new birds to the record of sightings for Lake Fork Valley Conservancy’s Earth and Sky Center, Pete’s Lake, and Lake City. New sightings included Warbling Vireo, Western Wood-Pewee, Cordilleran Flycatcher, and Turkey Vulture. We were

surprised by an American Kestrel at The Gate Campground. All sightings are or will be reported on eBird, the online international avian database.

We love our birds so let’s do what we can to protect them. Bird populations nationwide are declining at an alarming rate due to many factors including loss of habitat, climate change, and light pollution. Put out water during these hot dry days. Turn off outside lights that you don’t need. At night pull curtains over windows to keep interior light inside. Even one glaring light in our valley can cause a migrating bird to lose its way. Keep your cats indoors. “The U.S. Fish and

Wildlife Service estimates that outdoor cats kill 2.4 billion wild birds EVERY YEAR in this country alone,” says the National Audubon Society.

Our next birding outing is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 19. Call me if another day would be better for you! Let’s meet at Pete’s Lake at the north end of Gunnison Ave. We’ll hope to see a couple of Fall migrants in the cool morning. If there is little activity at Pete’s Lake, we can check out another spot or two.

Judy Boyce

Lake Fork Valley Conservancy


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