By Lola Olvera, ENC Communications Intern
Native plants attract native birds and the Environmental Nature Center is home to 3.5 acres of Orange County’s flora, and, consequently, its fauna.
Native birds are in abundance at the ENC. Well over a hundred different types of birds have been spotted by our eagle-eyed visitors, including egrets, falcons, goldfinches, hawks, hummingbirds, sparrows, warblers and woodpeckers. Visitors are encouraged to document their sightings and share them with the ENC, a la citizen science. Not a bird expert? You can be.
On Saturday, May 27 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., ENC Naturalist Chris Holland will introduce a small group of aspiring birdwatchers to the art of observing birds. Holland will demonstrate how to properly use binoculars and how to take advantage of its features. He will then teach participants how to read and use a bird field guide, which help watchers identify different varieties by their unique physical characteristics, bird calls or tracks. Participants will be given a chance to put their new skills to the test on a hike in which they can encounter many of the ENC’s birds, all of which are native to Orange County.
In 2015, approximately 13.09 million people in the U.S. spent time birdwatching, according to Statista. Whether you take it on as a solitary hobby or head out as a team, birdwatching is a great way to spend more time outdoors and gain an appreciation for local wildlife.
According to the California Birds Records Committee, there were 666 different species of birds seen in California as of 2017, two species which are classified as endemic and one which has already faced local extinction. By recognizing and studying birds in the wild, birdwatchers can form an important connection with them that may be necessary to their survival as more and more of their habitats are threatened.
Attendees of all ages are welcome to the ENC’s birdwatching program but children must be accompanied by an adult. To avoid alarming the birds, the program is limited to 10 attendants so early registration is strongly encouraged. General admission is $10 and $5 for members of the ENC.