Winter Bird Watching Programs Near and Far
Winter is a wonderful time of year to go bird watching! Colorful ducks congregate along RI shores, rare birds are often sighted after seasonal storms, and it is also owl breeding season. This is the best time to hear owl hoots and screeches during the early evening hours as they search for mates and defend their territories. To celebrate these winter residents, Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown is offering several birding opportunities.
On Saturday, Jan. 8, NBS is once again offering the popular Winter Rarities trip to hotspots throughout the region. Expert birder, Jay Manning and NBS staff will lead this trip. Past trips have gone to Cape Ann, MA and coastal Connecticut but, it is always a surprise! The trip is planned to coincide with current sightings so participants have the best chance of spotting rare winter migrants. Snacks and transportation are included but participants should bring their own bagged lunch, binoculars, field guides, and should dress appropriately for cold weather.
On Saturday, Feb. 5, NBS will host the Connecticut River Eagles Trip. This adventure will take you from NBS to East Haddam, CT, and then you will travel the scenic route along the Connecticut River to its mouth at Old Saybrook. The Connecticut River has long been recognized as a winter gathering spot for Bald Eagles. Should time permit, the group will also stop at birding hot spots in eastern Connecticut or southern Rhode Island. Warm clothing and appropriate footwear are required. Please bring a bag lunch and binoculars.
Both trips will depart the sanctuary at 6:30 a.m. and return at 4:30 p.m. The cost for each trip is $60 for members and $70 for non-members. For more information and to register, please call 401-846-2577.
If you're interested in winter birds but don't want to travel, NBS has two more Owl Prowls coming up on Fridays, Jan. 14 and Feb. 11, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
These programs start indoors where you will learn about the different species of owls in Rhode Island, their unique adaptations, and then you will be introduced to Micah, the Sanctuary's resident barred owl. Following the presentation, the group will head out on the trails in search of owls, making frequent stops to listen for their calls and to participate in some fun, night hike activities. This program is appropriate for ages 8 and up and registration is required. The cost is $8 for members and $10 for non-members. Please call 401-846-2577 to register. To learn more about educational and public programming, please visit www.normanbirdsanctuary.org.