Topeka Audubon Society Presents Wild Birds of Kansas

If you’ve stopped to watch the antics of your backyard birds, listened to a Northern Mockingbird recite his playlist, or watched in awe as a Bald Eagle soared out of sight, you know how fun bird watching can be.

Learn about how to identify birds that reside here and migrate through our region. Come to the library at 7:00 pm on Monday, April 23 to participate in Wild Birds of Kansas, a program hosted by the library and presented by members of the Topeka Audubon Society. Plan to learn something new and bring your questions!

Becoming a more knowledgeable bird watcher requires patience and a curious mind. Identification can be tricky when the lighting isn’t in your favor, the leaves block your view, or the bird is silent. You may know the regulars in your neighborhood, but temporary visitors will show up during the transitioning seasons and keep it interesting.

Kansas is in the central flyway migratory route so we’re fortunate to have a variety of birds passing through every year headed to northern breeding grounds or favored wintering spots to the south.  472 species have been documented in Kansas, and not all birds in northeast Kansas will be seen in western Kansas. So, how do you know if what you’re watching work the shoreline in April is a Pectoral Sandpiper or an American Avocet? Or if the bird you saw high up in the tree is an American Goldfinch or a migrating Yellow Warbler?

A good beginner’s guide to birds of our region – which you can check out at the library to try before you buy – is the Guide to Kansas Birds and Birding Hot SpotsColor photos, a summary of what you’re likely to see each month, and a complete species list for Kansas make this a valuable field guide. Birds of Kansas is an exceptional new book with information that will appeal to more experienced bird watchers. Visit The Cornell Lab of Ornithology to listen to vocalizations, view range maps, and learn birding basics. On your next outing to a national wildlife refuge, state park, nature center or botanical garden look for an informational kiosk near the entrance for wildlife info or stop at the visitor center to ask for a free copy of a bird checklist.

 

Taking a nature walk with an experienced bird watcher is a great way to learn more about birds and their preferred habitats. Carry a checklist and note the species observed and record the date. Notice where the bird is and its behavior. Take a camera on your walks and try to photograph the birds you’re having difficulty identifying, and bring a good pair of binoculars. If you continue to study field marks and listen to vocalizations you will be able to accurately identify more and more species. Refer to your recorded observations and check e-Bird.org or the Kansas Ornithological Society’s archives and you will soon learn when to expect to see American White Pelicans resting and fishing at area lakes and when to set out your hummingbird feeder.

photos this article:
American White Pelican, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Northern Mockingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Red-winged Blackbird

featured photo:
Cedar Waxwing

All photos courtesy of Kim Sain

 

Kimberly Sain

As a Public Services Specialist, I actively promote the Travel and Pets neighborhoods, coordinate nature-themed programs for adults and families, and serve on the Big Read planning committee. Outdoor photography, birdwatching, discovering new hiking trails, and reading nature writing and travelogues about Alaska are some of my hobbies. Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country is my all-time favorite novel.