Birds of the ‘Burg completed its second season of bird walks at Hillandale Park in Harrisonburg. The walks were held the first Saturday of each month, April through October and were led by Kathy Byers, HMN Cohort IV; Ralph Grove, Sierra Club; and Anne Neilsen and Bill Benish, both with the Rockingham Bird Club.
The walks began last year with youth and beginning birders being our focus. Participation was generally a handful of people with not a great many children attending. While the numbers of attendees were a bit disappointing, everyone in our group felt the experience was valuable. We decided to continue in 2016.
Attendance was a bit more consistent this year April through October. While the number of children attending remained low this season, those that did come out made up for it in enthusiasm and great binocular skills! Each month was a nice mix of returning and new folks, advanced and beginning birders, and birds from robins to warblers.
The Birds of the ‘Burg team did a great job of using their individual skills to add to the success of the walks. Kathy Byers usually began with a mini-lesson about birds and focused her attention on any children attending. Ralph Grove managed our sign-in sheets and welcoming folks. Anne Neilsen shared her wealth of knowledge about birds and plants along the way. And Bill Benish was “Master of the Spotting Scope,” giving everyone wonderful close-up views of birds in the park.
The group has agreed to continue the walks next year and is already looking forward to April!
– Kathy Byers, Cohort IV, October 2016