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Falling back on Mother Nature at kids' bird count

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Dec 29, 2013 - 11:54 AM |
Anneli Junkala enjoyed playing in the snow during the Christmas Bird Count for Kids Dec. 28. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Anneli Junkala enjoyed playing in the snow during the Christmas Bird Count for Kids Dec. 28. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Event introduces youngsters to bird identification

With many bird species having fled the city's sub-zero temperatures for the winter, eleven-year-old Avery Morin only spotted a raven and “a lot of chickadees” during the Christmas Bird Count for Kids Dec. 28.

She also took note of a few birds' nests and the tracks of several different animals during the event, which involved a hike at the Sudbury Conservation Area. “I feel kind of excited, because it's fun,” Morin said.

This is the first time the Christmas Bird Count for Kids — a Birds Canada program — has been hosted in Sudbury.

It was put on through a partnership between Conservation Sudbury, the Sudbury Ornithological Society, the Backyard Birder Nature Gift Shop and Friends of Lake Laurentian.

Kids and their families listened to a talk on identifying bird and animal species common during the winter, and then went on a nature walk in the Sudbury Conservation Area, keeping track of their findings.

Upon their return to the chalet, they ate a picnic lunch, and shared their findings with the rest of the group. In the afternoon, families had a chance to build a birdhouse or a bird feeder.

The observations made during the event weren't included as part of the city's official Christmas Bird Count, which was held Dec. 21.

Instead, the Christmas Bird Count for Kids is meant to introduce children to bird identification while at the same time getting families outside during the winter, said Daniela Stuewer of Conservation Sudbury.

Randy Moratz, who is a member of both the Sudbury Naturalists Club and the Sudbury Ornithological Society, led some of the participants on a nature hike.

Besides telling them about birds, he said he pointed out animal tracks, nests and woodpecker holes. He said he enjoyed answering the kids' questions about various aspects of nature.

“If you can get them questioning what you're telling them, then it means they want to know more, and that's the great part,” he said.

Melanie Hunt attended the event with husband Arik Theijsmeijer and their kids, Ethan, 9, and Andrew, 6. She said she and her husband are trying to teach their kids about the importance of nature.

“We're just so fortunate to live somewhere so beautiful as the north,” Hunt said. “We want to show them how to get out there and access that part of their brain that's not attached to screens and videogames.” 
Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer


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