Wondering how to beat the cold weather and get kids excited about enjoying the great outdoors? Watch for birds in your community and make them count towards the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC).
The Memphis Botanic Garden is hosting a monthlong celebration of birds with a great line-up of activities. On Saturday, February 16th, from noon until 2 p.m., bring binoculars and learn about bird identification from the Tennessee Ornithological Society.
“Participating in GBBC is a great way for both young and old to connect to the real world, be a part of something much larger than themselves, and make an impact on our environment,” notes Charity Novick, education programs coordinator with the Memphis Botanic Garden (MBG).
To encourage bird-watching, take part in the MBG photography contest, where all ages can capture birds in the Nature Photography Garden. The education department is also hosting a youth nature photography class on Saturday, February 2nd, from 1-3 p.m. and youth nature sketching on Sunday, February 10th, from 2-4 p.m.
“If you are interested in attracting birds to your yard, keep in mind any animal’s basic needs,” points out Novick. Planting trees and shrubs that offer winter seeds and berries, providing brush piles and evergreens for nesting and year-round protection, and setting out water are important in welcoming birds to your yard.
Attend the Garden Wildlife Series on Tuesday, February 12th, from 6-7 p.m. to learn how to build a sanctuary for attracting migrating songbirds. Look out for these winter visitors: purple martin, pine siskins, purple finches, dark-eyed junco, and red-breasted nuthatch. Waterfowl such as duck and geese also visit ponds and flooded fields during this time.
“Scientists are looking at bird data to better understand population trends, habitat, and movement,” observes Novick. February is particularly a good time because many people put out bird feeders, making it easier to watch and count from indoors.
The celebration rounds off with an Urban Birds Family Day Celebration on Saturday, February 23rd, from 2-4 p.m. This event engages kids in hands-on activities and gets them inspired to take part in a kid-friendly bird count.
For more, go to memphisbotanicgarden.com / 636-4119.