Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
WOW - Introduction to Birding
Midwest Region, May 2, 2009
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At this year’s “Introduction to Birding” class, fisheries technician Joe McMullen had the opportunity, if only for a day, to shift gears from chasing sturgeon to spending some time watching the tree tops.  The day began early, as do most successful bird watching excursions, but all eight novice birders were on time and excited to learn about our feathered friends.  The class started with an explanation of different ways of identifying birds, such as color patterns, behavior, habitat associations, and calls.  After a short introduction and welcoming to the world of bird watching, the class made its way down the trail and into a small woodlot.  No sooner had we stopped to glass the tree tops with our binoculars, when a wild turkey gobbled in the distance.  “Our first bird of the day” said Joe as he thumbed through a field guide to show off a picture of the bird.  The class soon realized, as Joe began to point out some of the other calls and songs nearby, that birding is as much about hearing the bird as it is seeing them.  As we made our way down the trail and back, the group successfully identified many different species, including red-bellied woodpeckers, great-crested flycatchers, Northern parulas, and Kentucky warblers, just to name a few.  As the class wound down, and the students began to prepare for their next class, one student pointed out an eastern blue bird on the lawn.  It seemed a fitting way to end the class, as the proud blue bird lit upon the WOW banner and puffed out his chest as if to say “always save the best for last, I am your Missouri state bird after all.”

Joe McMullen

Contact Info: Joseph McMullen, 573-234-2132 Ext. 119, Joseph_McMullen@fws.gov
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