The Double Stuft Orioles participated in their first Birdathon during the opening weekend, April 21-22. The team is a Daisy and Brownie Girl Scout troop (first and second grade) from the Hamilton area. We started on Saturday morning at a troop leader’s backyard where we saw some backyard birds including Chimney Swifts, Northern Cardinals and one of the Common Ravens that lives nearby. After fueling up on muffins and strawberries, four scouts and a couple younger siblings headed out to Bles Park. We hoped to see mama Wood Duck and her 12 babies, but we were not so lucky and only saw Tree Swallows and Red-winged Blackbirds at the pond. As we walked through the forest we learned to use the Merlin app to identify singing birds, which was a great favorite among the girls (and even inspired some of their parents to listen for birds around their homes). We had to hurry back to the cars to avoid the thunderstorm blowing in.
On Sunday afternoon seven scouts hiked around the farmstead loop at the Blue Ridge Center. We used Merlin to identify many singing birds that we couldn’t spot, including an American Redstart, Yellow Warbler and Louisiana Waterthrush. Down by the creek there were tons of tiny birds chirping way up in the trees, but it was beyond our abilities to identify them. We finished up with a fun session at the mud kitchen. On the ride home we were able to spot a hawk, a flying Great Blue Heron and a Pileated Woodpecker pecking a stump by the side of the road. Although troop leaders and chaperones were along on the walks, we tried not to help too much, so the girls found all 30 of their species on their own, which is not bad for a group of brand new, not-very-quiet birders! We also saw tons of beautiful wildflowers, met two different kinds of millipedes, and learned that it’s actually pretty fun to go out in the woods looking for birds.
Great Blue Heron