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Bird Club’s ‘whole vibe’ is about walking, speaking & recognizing species – School Information Community


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Grandville — Over a pan of freshly baked brownies, chemistry instructor Kristina Fitzgerald reviewed the principles of Grandville High School’s Bird Club for 2 college students who have been visiting for the primary time.

“The biggest rule of birding? If you see something, you say something” whereas the group is out on their month-to-month chicken walk, she stated.

… And that’s about it for the principles of Bird Club.

“It’s a pretty low-key group, honestly — but a very authentic group,” Fitzgerald stated. “I can’t tell you how many kids will show, but that’s all part of the fun. … It’s very much a club of, ‘Come bird with us! Or don’t! Either is fine.’ Which is really how birding basically is.” 

Every month whereas faculty is in session, a small (normally 5 to 10) however enthusiastic group of scholars gathers in Fitzgerald’s classroom for snacks after which heads out to the timber and wetlands behind the highschool. They walk for 30 to 45 minutes, wanting and listening for birds and serving to each other determine the species — reminiscent of a home sparrow, grackle, osprey or heron — when one is noticed. 

Fitzgerald logs all of the birds they discover into the eBird app, developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The app makes use of information submitted by birders all around the world to trace chicken migrations, hold tabs on when and the place sure species have been seen and develop conservation efforts. It additionally supplies images and audio recordings of chicken songs to assist birders appropriately ID a chicken within the wild. 

In February, Bird Club members additionally head to the Buck Creek nature path to participate within the Great Backyard Bird Count, a worldwide four-day occasion the place contributors watch and log as many birds as they’ll discover to assist scientists higher perceive world chicken populations. 

“(Birding) is a hobby that you can do when you want, how you want, if you want to be social or on your own,” stated Fitzgerald, who found her deeper love for birding in the course of the pandemic. “I like being out in nature, and I really like birds; they give me joy. So I thought I’d see if I had kids out there who might be interested in the same kind of activity and (Bird Club) kind of just fell together.”

‘I Just Think Birds are Cool’

Seniors Aly Gould and Cheyenne Grigoletti have been the primary two college students to point out up at Bird Club’s “official” (however by no means formal) first assembly three years in the past, after they have been sophomores. Both admitted they largely got here as a result of they loved hanging out with “Ms. Fitz,” however a real curiosity in birds and the membership’s camaraderie has saved them coming again. 

Evangeline Herb, left, retains a watch on a chicken she discovered whereas Josh Lipscomb tries to find it with binoculars

“I keep coming because of the atmosphere, and I also found that I really enjoy coming out here looking for birds, seeing if I can identify them,” Aly stated. “We’ve also learned what different bird calls sound like, so I like seeing if I can tell what kind by hearing their calls. I don’t get outside much, so it’s good to get out and enjoy nature for a bit.”

Junior Claudia Harder, one other long-time membership member, has loved birding since she was young and was excited to be taught she might be part of a membership of different like-minded friends. 

“I just think birds are cool, especially because they can fly and they’re so diverse — like, there’s so many different kinds of birds,” she stated. “I’ve learned a lot about my favorite kinds of birds, the corvids” — a household of birds that features crows, ravens and magpies.

“One time, me and Ms. Fitz had a very deep conversation about crows and how intelligent they are — like, they can use tools like people or primates can, and they can solve puzzles. I did learn a lot that day.” 

During its three years, the membership has constructed chicken feeders, realized figuring out options in regards to the 20 most typical birds, studied chicken calls and realized the best way to use the eBird app in order that the info they log could be most helpful for scientists. On one eventful day, they even witnessed a Cooper’s Hawk attack a cardinal (the cardinal survived).

But largely it’s about walking, speaking, recognizing birds and, simply, “the vibe,” Claudia stated.

“It’s just nerds that like birds, coming together to go stare at a little feathered creature in a tree,” she stated. “I just think it’s awesome.” 

Read extra from Grandville: 
Career options soar with high school’s new aeronautics program
Bulking up on their biology skills

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