Sunday Science: Spring Birding - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Sunday Science: Spring Birding

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"May is the prime time for birding in Vermont. And it's the peak of migration," says Chip Darmstadt, Executive Director of the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier.

Darmstadt says it's the time of year to get out your binoculars and get outdoors, especially if you're into birding.

"The warblers are these little gems that birders go gaga over," he says.

The nature center does bird walks on Fridays during migration season, which he says are a great way for novice birders to get started.

"Hook up with someone who knows their birds," he says. "So join a group to go out on a bird walk or find a birding buddy because this time of year especially, there are so many birds coming back, you could easily go out on a day like today and you could see 100 species if you knew what you were doing."

Or if you're going out on your own -- start small. For instance, you can spot robins anywhere in Vermont. They're one of many species that are easily identifiable.

"We were just looking at a red-winged blackbird," Darmstadt says. "That's a bird a lot of people are familiar with, often thought of as the bird of spring. Even before robins you start seeing red-winged blackbirds coming back and then we saw an eastern kingbird, which is a flycatcher."

And he says to listen for songs to help you find the birds. Like this song sparrow, picking through flowers in the tree.

"A couple clear introductory notes and then this kind of rolling song," he says. "They're very persistent singers so probably nine times out of ten unless you live in the middle of the woods, you're likely to have a song sparrow in your backyard."

And enthusiasts can flock to North Branch Nature Center on May 31 for their third annual Birdfest. Bird walks and kids activities will be on hand, plus a discussion on Vermont's bald eagle population and meeting live owls and hawks.

"It's a lifelong quest because there's always something new to see, new surprises," he says.

And if you want more information about Saturday's BirdFest, visit North Branch Nature Center's website for a full schedule: http://www.northbranchnaturecenter.org/

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