Classes can help aspiring birders kick off 2022 on the right wing

·2 min read

Beginning a new year often triggers new personal goals. For bird lovers, one valuable goal would be to learn more about birds and bird habitat. We've lost nearly 3 billion birds word-wide since 1970, so thinking globally but acting locally, learning about birds and the habitat vital to their survival offers an at-home means for protecting birds against further loss.

Here are three options for addressing that personal learning goal in 2022.

First, the Evansville Birding Class, in continuous educational mode since 2009, meets at 6 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month (except December) at the downtown Evansville Central Library. Typical classes include a featured speaker who presents a bird or bird-habitat related topic the first hour, and I fill in the final half hour with updates from the birding community. Dues are $10 a year, payable at either of the first two meeting of the year. The monies cover out-of-town speakers' expenses.

Second, the Evansville chapter of the National Audubon Society meets either in person at Wesselman Woods Nature Center or via video call (depending on community health) the third Tuesday each month September through June, at 6 p.m. Check the website for program details at evvaudubon.org; not every program focuses on birds or bird habitat. Meetings are open to the public. Birding field trips, also posted on the website, are free to the public.

Third, the newest opportunity for the community to learn a bit more about birds and fulfill that New Year's goal comes in a five-week non-credit class called the Bird Lovers' Class. Offered through the Center for Learning at the University of Evansville (abbreviated as CL@UE) and taught by yours truly, the goal is to help class members with the following:

  • Identify bird species by focusing not on color but on key unique body parts — head, beak, feet, wings, tail — and use birding resources, including field guides, to determine birds' identities, their summer and winter ranges, migratory routes and songs.

  • Identify habitat attractive to various bird species.

  • Describe select bird behaviors — what birds do, why and when, including, especially, migrating, breeding and molting.

  • Make yards bird friendly, using feeders, year-round water sources, and, especially, native plants that provide food, shelter, nest sites, and nesting materials.

The Bird Lovers' Class will meet at UE 1-2:30 p.m. five consecutive Wednesdays beginning March 16. Registration is $40. To register, go to the website evansville.edu/centerforlearning/clueCourses.cfm, where you will also find additional information.

Here's to your 2022 bird-loving goals!

For more information about birds and bird habitat, see Sharon Sorenson's books "How Birds Behave," "Birds in the Yard Month by Month" and "Planting Native to Attract Birds to Your Yard." Check her website at birdsintheyard.com, follow daily bird activity on Facebook at SharonSorensonBirdLady or email her at chshsoren@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on Evansville Courier & Press: Classes can help aspiring birders kick off 2022 on the right wing

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