Getting Your Beak Into Birding

Ranger Programs are going strong here at Cape Perpetua. Since we last worked on program development, I have actually developed a different program than the one I had originally planned. I am still hoping to develop my original idea, but for now, this new program took priority. My new ranger program is a birding 101 presentation that I have titled, “Getting Your Beak Into Birding.” It is intended to get visitors started on their birding journey with an introduction to basic birding skills. The first time I presented my program, it was a short 15-minute talk out on the deck outside of the Visitor Center. It has since been developed into a full 30-minute theater program that I give to visitors in the afternoon.

The Ranger Program has developed out of a bio-blitz presentation camp program. The Siuslaw Watershed Council visited the Cape as a part of their weeklong exploration camp. These campers are introduced to a variety of restoration projects and training while they learn from biologists, botanists, foresters, guides, and the forest service. Here at the Cape, they spend a morning out with our lead ranger, exploring the tide pools and learning about all the life in the rocks. After their adventurous morning, they participated in a bird bio-blitz. This is the presentation that I developed for them. The program was created in order to help them properly identify a handful of the birds living in our national forest. The camp was made up of 3rd and 6th-grade students, so I had to make it engaging enough for both of these age groups. I gave this 25-minute presentation in the theater to three groups of students who went out to do the afternoon bio-blitz. I opened the presentation with three simple steps on how to get started with birding, before going into some tips on id, and ending with 10 common birds I thought they would see or hear in the afternoon. In order to test their listening skills, I quizzed them on a few of the birds that we had just listened to and asked them to identify the species. The students did a great job learning with me, so I wished them the best on their afternoon bio-blitz. I hope that the students enjoyed the chance to go out onto the trails with our rangers and listen to all the sounds around them.

After the bio-blitz presentation to the students, our lead ranger was very excited about making this a theater ranger program given regularly at the Cape. She let me know that the students enjoyed the program and had done a good job of identifying the birds that were in the presentation. Since then, I have further developed this program and presented it 2 other times. I believe this program is a great way to give someone an introduction to what birding is like, while not overwhelming them with too much information. There are 10 birds to learn and listen to, that they can then go out and identify on their trail hike. I hope to encourage people to continue birding once they leave the Cape. It is an easy and fun activity that can be started right at home in your backyard. Anyone can be a birder, and everyone has to start somewhere, so hopefully, they can start here at Cape Perpetua!

Yselia Cortez
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