NEAMN NITS (Naturalists in Training) flocked to the Crowley Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro, AR for a Birding presentation by Wendy Johnson, NCAMN. For some of us, this was a “first flight” into the world of Bird Watching. Sharing her enthusiasm and extensive knowledge, Wendy expertly led the group through birding basics and into the fascinating sport of birding. Advanced birding members in the group joined the lively discussion describing the impact bird watching has on the relationship to the health of our environment and ecosystems.
Birds forecast environmental conditions. The knowledge of birds can help us plan a better, more sustainable relationship with nature. Due to their accessibility and presence everywhere, birds are a useful tool for environmental education. Some birds, like our national bird, the Bald Eagle, are indicator species. Today, modern science still uses birds as a kind of oracle, as changes in bird populations can reflect the health of the environment and fragile ecosystems.
NITS took wing on a guided birding field trip along the beautiful observation trails at the Arkansas Fish and Game CR Nature Center. With a variety of habitats along the trail, including prairie, forest, natural plant gardens, and fresh water, the group had fun looking for and listening to the many species of birds.
There are numerous methods of record keeping available for birders, such as the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission’s ‘Wings Over Arkansas Birding Certificate Program’. The Arkansas Audubon Society is another great resource for bird spotters.
“Birding is a quest. You set out to see birds – but the prize you come back with can only be described as happiness. Learning to bird is like getting a lifetime ticket to the theater of nature.” Diane Cooledge Porter
So whether you are a hiker, backyard watcher, young or senior, you have a unique opportunity to join the most popular sport in North America. Just grab a friend, a bird field guide and binoculars. Step outside to see for yourself and listen to Arkansas’ ‘Natural Tweets‘.