STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Tuesday was a wintry day but life was popping at Blue Heron Park. It was all happening at the bird feeders. Because contrary to popular belief, not all birds go south for the winter.
And even though it was cloudy and cold, with temps in the mid 30s, we didn’t even have to be that adventurous. The Annadale preserve has a spacious Nature Center, so in its warmth and comfort the Media Department members were able to watch the birds come and go and get quite a few photos displaying the beauty of the feathered creatures. (Check out the slide show below.)
The field trip was part of a new activity sponsored by Friends of Blue Heron Park, called the Jack Baird Bird Identification Program. It provides youngsters (and the young at heart) with binoculars, books and charts to ID the birds and chart to record the observations. Oh and a friendly ranger to help too.
“The birds come to the feeders because it is winter time, and they don’t have food, especially when the ground is frozen and covered with snow,” said Meredith A, explaining what Park Ranger Andrew told us.
“He also told us deer sometime visit,” said Kevin D.
The birds we saw included the red-bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, male and female cardinal, black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse, house finch and the mockingbird.
“I got my first photo of a cardinal,” said a beaming Meredith.
When we first got there, things got a little quiet. Then a feeding frenzy broke out and binoculars and cameras were moving among the nearly dozen feeders. As you can see by the photos, when things get quiet at the feeders, there is plenty to look at in the center, from bones and fur to turtles.
The goal is for this feeder project to become a true scientific research project for the young and curious budding scientist. By recording this data about the birds here in Staten Island, the information collected will help students, naturalists and other interested people.
The program is named in honor of the late Jack Baird, a native Staten Islander who helped create Blue Heron Park. It extends from now through April 30.
Check it out this weekend. Blue Heron Park Nature Center is at 222 Poillon Ave., Annadale.
Kathryn Carse wrote this with Meredith Arout, Kevin Distefano, Aaron Bialer and Anthony Kefalinos. Photos by Meredith Arout, Kevin Distefano, Aaron Bialer.