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Birding Bonanza Event a Huge Success at Catawba College

11/27/12 by Sydney Smith


    The Center for the Environment and Environment Catawba Outreach (ECO) held a special Birding Bonanza November 1 on Catawba’s campus. The Birding Bonanza included several special events and a guest speaker to educate Catawba’s campus and the surrounding community about the importance of birds.

    Kyra Thurow led a bird-banding session. Thurow and the participants succeeded in catching eight birds: one cardinal, three tufted titmice, and four Carolina chickadees. All birds were safely released back into the preserve after the participants took note of their important characteristics.

    Catawba student Jonathan Cooley led participants on two different bird hikes through the Fred Stanback Jr. Ecological Preserve. Cooley helped identify some common backyard birds and taught basic binocular usage skills. On one of the hikes, Cooley and the group had an encounter with a winter wren. This type of wren is rare in the wild — typically, only experienced birders are able to spot them due to their small size and camouflaged feather coloring.

    A special table was set up to show participants examples of different birds. Specimens of raptors, shorebirds, and songbirds were on display for people to examine close up. All the specimens available for viewing on the table died naturally in the wild.

    Birding Bonanza events included bird jeopardy. Participants answered questions about famous birds in history, art and literature. The winners received candy prizes for answering questions correctly.

    To conclude the event, Duke University professor Dr. Jeff Pippen spoke about the importance of birds in his program entitled “First in Flight (Before the Wright Brothers!): North Carolina Birding.” Pippen addressed numerous bird questions and discussed the differences between birds found in North Carolina’s coastal, piedmont, and mountain areas. Also, Pippen mentioned the importance of noticing and recognizing the beauty of common bird species found around North Carolina. Since they are so common, people tend to take species like the cardinal and chickadee for granted, forgetting their beauty and contributions to their surrounding environments.

    Through the events, the Center for the Environment and ECO successfully expressed the importance of birds. Participants learned that birds are a part of everyone’s day-to-day lives – whether we notice them or not. Also, birds are one of the few creatures that can be found on every continent. They are diverse in species. Without them, seeds would lose a vital mode of dispersion and transportation. Thurow and Cooley agree: “Birds are awesome!”

    Thurow noted that the event was well attended and extremely successful. The Center for the Environment and ECO plan to hold another Birding Bonanza next year. “It went very well, and I’d love to see it happen at Catawba again,” she said.

See more photos from the event.

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