2023 Birding Workshop at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery

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Dr. DJ McNeil of the University of Kentucky instructing participants of the 2023 Bird Identification workshop on different types of bird beaks for identification purposes at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery.

Birders "flocked" to Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery to learn about birds at the 2023 Bird Identification Workshop! Dr. DJ McNeil of the University of Kentucky gave participants an informative talk about bird identification, including looking at different types of beaks, tails, and overall bird size for identification purposes. After learning some basic tips for identifying birds, the group grabbed their binoculars and headed outside to see what they could find in the area!

Dr. McNeil taught the group how to use conspecific playback to attract birds to the area for a closer look. Specifically, he chose an audio clip of several songbirds performing a behavior known as "mobbing" where a predator calls (in this case, a screech owl) and the prey species (song birds) band together to attack and push the predator from the area. Within a few seconds of hearing the screech owl call, birds began to flock towards the bluetooth speaker which allowed every one to get a much closer look at the birds and see their defining characteristics. With this workshop scheduled during the fall migration, participants were able to see and/or hear about 23 different species including American Redstart, Tufted Titmouse, Magnolia Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Red-bellied Woodpecker, White-Eyed Vireo, Prairie Warbler, etc.

McNeil also gave instruction on how to use the Merlin bird app by Cornell University, which allows you to record songs/calls and identifies what bird is vocalizing along with other features that aid beginner's in identifying birds. We would like to thank Dr. McNeil for his leadership and look forward to offering this workshop again in the future!

Participants of the 2023 Bird Identification Workshop using binoculars for a closer look at some of the migratory species at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery.
Dr. DJ McNeil teaching bird identification to participants of the 2023 birding workshop at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery.

Story Tags

Migratory birds

Recreational Activities