The place to begin birdwatching? In your own backyard! This was the central message of October’s New River Valley Science on Tap event, “Bird Where You Live.” Virginia Tech biosciences graduate students Amber Wendler and Marissa Langager introduced some basic birding concepts and then set the audience loose on a “common local species” bird scavenger hunt that they had created right outside Rising Silo Brewery.
Some of the birds perched on manmade structures.
The numbers on the birds corresponded to a scavenger hunt form that audience members raced to fill.
The Science on Tap speakers had also created a bird identification guide for participants to use as they tried to beat the clock.
Birds were found in the sort of habitat they normally use.
Some of the participants in the bird hunt had never tried birdwatching before, while others were long-time hobbyists or seasoned professionals.
Bird hunters looked everywhere–and some had extra assistance!
After the bird scavenger hunt, the group set off for a new challenge: finding live birds going about their everyday bird business. Wendler and Langager handed out binoculars and led the group on a walk through the farmland on which Rising Silo Brewery is located.
The sun was beginning to set, but participants scanned for birds in weeds, shrubs, and trees.
Paper cutout? Or real bird? Participants were excited to see and hear some live birds!
The sun cast a golden glow on our bird finds.
With eyes looking in many directions, participants were able to find and identify a number of local birds.
And finally darkness descended and we headed back to the brewery to say goodbye.
Thank you, Amber and Marissa! Thank you, Rising Silo!