Kids get bird's-eye view of park's feathered friends


January 08, 2002|By Debra Taylor Young | Debra Taylor Young,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WITH SNOW ON the way, the Winter Birds seminar at Piney Run Park's Nature Center on Friday afternoon was appropriately timed and provided information for anyone wishing to attract birds to a backyard feeder.

About 20 parents and children attended the seminar for children ages 4 to 8.

The program included a short story, nature walk and an opportunity to make bird treats to take home.

Naturalist Deanna Hofmann conducted the seminar.

The short story involved participation from the children playing the roles of birds and animals feeding in the woods after a snowfall.

The story concluded with a stranger helping the birds and animals by leaving them extra seeds and nuts.

Hofmann pointed out to the children that they could be the nice stranger in the story.

Hofmann showed pictures of the types of birds in our area and suggested which foods to put in a bird feeder to attract these birds. Her pictures included bluebirds, cardinals, bluejays, the tufted titmouse and finches.

Severin Sargent Catterton, 4, and Charlie Dissinger, 6, were quick to identify birds they had seen in their back yards.

Many of the children were familiar with different bird species.

The group then took a short hike to where animals and birds had been feeding.

Hofmann pointed out that many birds eat spider eggs, and found a small branch that contained eggs, which fascinated the young group.

With daylight fading and temperatures dropping, participants made a quick stop by outside cages that contain birds of prey.

The hawks and owls had sustained injuries that made it impossible for them to live in the wild, so they live in outside enclosures behind the nature center and are cared for by staff.

The children were concerned that the birds were cold.

Hofmann noted that birds need to eat more, using the extra calories to help them stay warm in lower temperatures.

Making treats for the birds was a treat for participants.

Hofmann helped the group with three projects.

One involved using a small wire to skewer fruit that could be attached to a backyard tree.

Many birds are fruit eaters, Hofmann said, and would be attracted to the yard to eat fruit that is unavailable in winter.

Foods high in fat help small birds keep warm, Hofmann said, so the group made feeders consisting of pinecones coated with peanut butter mixed with shortening and dipped in sunflower seeds.

The group made a gift basket for small animals or birds that included corn kernels, raisins and seeds wrapped up in corn husks and tied in bundles.

Hofmann told the children to hide the gifts in the back yard for deer, chipmunks or squirrels.

The one-hour seminar gave participants plenty of good information.

It encouraged children to help feed birds through the winter and enjoy watching them in their back yards.

Birdhouse workshop

Piney Run Park on Martz Road will hold a seminar to benefit winter birds from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today at the nature center.

Participants will make a gourd birdhouse or feeder and will sand, drill and paint.

The seminar is for ages 14 and older.

Fees are $10 for members and $12 for nonmembers.

Information: 410-795-6043.

Karate classes begin

Sykesville Parks and Recreation is sponsoring karate classes at 6:15 p.m. and 7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Sykesville Middle School on Springfield Avenue.

The first session is for parents and ages 5 to 7.

The second session is for ages 8 through adult.

Instructor Peter Hiltz will teach Shorinjiryu karate, a form of martial arts suited to all ages.

Weekend classes will begin at 10 a.m. Feb. 9 at Carrolltown Center's Community Room.

Information: 410-549-7437.

Debra Taylor Young's neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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