Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Walking around Renaissance Park it’s not uncommon to see egrets, pelicans or great blue herons, but according to Audubon Acres sanctuary manager Kyle Simpson, there are many more species in the area that most people don’t notice while walking in the park.
In an effort to help more people enjoy the area’s native species and assist novice birders get experience, Audubon Acres is offering free beginner bird walks at Renaissance Park Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 7 a.m. and Saturday, Aug. 18, at 9 a.m.
“These walks are targeted for kids or beginners who’re looking to learn a little bit more about birding but aren’t ready to go out with world-class birders,” said Simpson. “We know it can be hard for people to get started birding, and we’re just trying to make it a fun activity for everyone.”
He said the walks will last approximately 90 minutes and be led by Dianne Blankenbaker, a longtime birder, Chattanooga Audubon Society member and exceptional educator. The walks are free to the public. Participants should meet at the pavilion on the park’s west end to begin the activity.
During bird walks earlier this summer, Simpson said participants saw as many as 30 different species of birds including indigo buntings, orchard orioles, ospreys, great blue herons, warblers and woodpeckers. A longtime birder, he said he loves the way the activity turns itself into a worldwide scavenger hunt that you can do no matter where you are.
“It opens up a whole new world to you,” said Simpson of the hobby. “Once you get into it you start to realize how much is around you that you never noticed before. It’s always amazing to see how many birds you’re constantly seeing, and learning to identify them can blow your mind at how much is around you.”
He said the walks are part of an outreach effort by the Chattanooga Audubon Society and Audubon Acres, which includes land and animal sanctuaries in East Brainerd and on Maclellan Island, situated in the Tennessee River between GPS and the Hunter Museum of American Art. Additional bird walks will be offered through the fall.
For more information about the Chattanooga Audubon Society or Audubon Acres call 892-1499 or visit www.chattanoogaaudubon.org.