Montgomery Botanical Gardens Birding Class Provides Practice for Aspiring Birdwatchers

Jennie McConnell Stowers shows Sadler Beale McLemore (L) and Cindy Somerville (C) a bird camera.

The birds were singing on a recent Saturday when the Montgomery Botanical Gardens at Oak Park hosted a Birding Lecture and Walk. Perfect weather and skies drew thirty-three participants to learn about birding from Jennie McConnell Stowers and Shirley Farrell. The class kicked off National Public Gardens Week and was the third in a series of offerings by the Education Committee of the MBG board of directors.

Participants received instruction in the proper use of binoculars for maximum enjoyment on birding walks. They also learned how to use the Merlin app for recognizing and identifying birds. In addition to use of the app, Mrs. Stowers noted that birds may be identified by looking at size, color, field marks (wing marks, bars, eyes, etc.), behavior and habitat; and she discussed things that attract birds to yards such as food, water, shelter and places to nest.

Both Mrs. Stowers and Mrs. Farrell shared their knowledge about the value of bird watching and  offered a number of resources for learning more about birds. Their display provided examples of different foods and feeders which attract birds, feeders which inhibit squirrels from taking over feeders and bird cameras.

The next event for National Public Gardens Week will be a Plein Aire Paint Out in the Gardens Tuesday, May 9 from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM. Artists will set up their easels in a variety of venues in the Gardens and create a painting from their vision. Visitors are encouraged to come and quietly observe the artists at work and enjoy the peace and beauty of the Gardens.

The final National Public Gardens Week activity will be a photography in nature workshop on Saturday, May 13 at 10:00 AM. Presenters will be Paul Robertson, Jr., David Robertson and Billy Birchfield. All activities are free and open to the public.

Jennie McConnell Stowers instructs class participants in birdwatching techniques.

Tricia Seay practices using binoculars to track birds.

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