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9796upcoming Birding Class

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  • Andy Stepniewski
    Feb 4, 2014
      If any Birdyakkers are interested in taking the upcoming Birding Basics
      class, you'd be most welcome. Here is the information, including ways to
      contact the Arboretum to sign up.
      Ellen Stepniewski

      BIRDING BASICS , a class sponsored by the Yakima Valley Audubon Society and
      Yakima Area Arboretum

      Yakima Audubon Society experts will conduct Birding Basics, a class that
      will teach you how to watch and appreciate birds and their world, both at
      feeders in your yard or out and about in the rich mosaic of natural habitats
      around Yakima. Learn about the "tools of the trade," too, including
      binoculars, spotting scopes, field guides, and birding apps. In four
      Wednesday evening lectures at the Arboretum from 7 - 8:30 pm, followed by
      Saturday fieldtrips to local spots rich in birds, this class will address
      four main themes:

      The lectures are as follows:

      February 26. "Waterbirds" This lecture will focus on the wide variety of
      waterfowl, both geese and ducks, that form the bulk of the first wave of
      northbound migrating birds. More than 20 species of ducks and geese stream
      north as soon as the ice and snow melts locally. The class will focus on
      waterfowl and how to differentiate these species plus tidbits on their
      biology and habitat requirements. We'll introduce you, too the various other
      waterbirds such as loons, grebes, cormorants and pelicans. Luke Safford will
      present this lecture. Luke is an active birder and waterfowl hunter. His
      perspective will be most interesting on this much-loved group of birds. The
      field trip to Toppenish NWR will be on March 1, where the early waterfowl
      migration should be in full swing.

      March 12. "Raptors." Birds of prey always command attention due to their
      size, dramatic predatory habits, and mastery of the skies. We'll cover the
      basic groups of daytime or diurnal raptors such as eagles, soaring hawks,
      falcons, and "bird hawks." The Yakima region is also rich in owls, those
      mysterious nighttime predators. Denny Granstrand, longtime Yakima Audubon
      member, has studied and photographed raptors for over 35 years and will
      share amazing images of these incredible birds. The fieldtrip will be to the
      Toppenish NWR and nearby fields, an area rich in raptors. It will be on
      March 15.

      April 16. "The Shrub-steppe." The hills surrounding Yakima appear brown and
      lifeless for much of the year. In this lecture, you'll see this landscape of
      gray shrubs and intermixed bunchgrasses, the "shrub-steppe," comes alive
      each spring with colorful wildflowers and a variety of colorful, and
      not-so-colorful birds. Andy Stepniewski has studied the shrub-steppe for
      more than 35 years and guarantees you will come away from this class with a
      new appreciation for the "barren" hills around Yakima. The fieldtrip will
      take you to a local areas of shrub-steppe habitat will be on April 19.

      May 28. "Woodpeckers and Mountain Birds." The forests around Yakima contain
      more species of woodpeckers than almost any other region in North America.
      This is due to the mosaic of forest types-from "Wetside-to-Dryside" in close
      proximity. This class will focus on this interesting and colorful group by
      Jeff Kozma, a professional biologist and an authority on this group of
      birds. A wide variety of other birds inhabit our Cascade east slopes, some
      residents year-round, others pouring north from their winter quarters in the
      tropics. We'll introduce you to the wonders of Neotropical migrants, too.
      The fieldtrip on May 31 will be by "leader's choice" into a forested area in
      the nearby Cascades.

      Attendance will be limited. To register online use the Arboretum website
      www.ahtrees.org, or by phone contact the Yakima Area Arboretum (248-7337).
      The cost for four lectures and four fieldtrips is $65 for Arboretum or
      Yakima Audubon members, and $85 for non-members (this includes local Audubon
      membership for one year). Fieldtrips will be car-pooling affairs, with
      riders sharing the cost of gas.