Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In whose hands lies the future for birds?

Last month Nate Swick, Natalia Ocampo-Penuela and I led the inaugural "Introduction to birding for young birders" trip for the Wings Over Water National Wildlife Refuge. 

south dike of North Pond, Pea Island NWR, photo by Natalia Ocampo-Penuela
We had an enthusiastic group of 7 local area grade school students, most of whom had very little experience with binoculars.

Observation tower at the north pond of Pea Island NWR, photo by Natalia Ocampo-Penuela

Pea Island, with its abundant large and conspicuous birds, is the ideal location for getting youngsters interested in birds.

birding the beach and ocean across from Pea Island NWR visitors center

 Including seabirds spotted on the far side of NC-12 the kids were each able to see at least 50 species.

group shot, photo by mom
A fun morning!

After birding so much in North Carolina, it gets harder and harder to see new birds; with a NC list of 360, I've definitely gone beyond the point of diminishing returns.  Showing birds to younger folks is an opportunity to re-experience the novelty of birding and the excitement of each newly encountered species. 

Besides the future of these birds lies in these kids' hands, right? Let us hope that some among them may become advocates for birds and their habitats.