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New Bins for New Birders (NB4NB)

Grant to Episcopal Academy/Camp Susquehannock

Report by Win Shafer

The eight pairs of Nikon Action 7 X 35 binoculars provided by Nikon and the DVOC have provided some wonderful opportunities already both at Camp Susquehannock in Brackney PA (Susquehanna County) this past summer and at Episcopal Academy in Merion PA.

As Director of Camp Susquehannock, I was able to run a number of bird walks during July. We ran walks for both boys and girls from ages 7 to 12. Many of the children had never had the opportunity to look at birds or even to use binoculars. Although many were aware of and somewhat familiar with common species such at American Robins and Blue Jays they were full of wonder at the sight of nesting Bobolinks, Tree Sparrows, American Gold Finches and Scarlet Tanagers to name just a few of the species observed.

At Episcopal Academy this fall we took the entire 6th grade to Hawk Mountain for a day of hiking and birding. It is interesting to observe first hand the expectations of young children. On the one hand I think many were expecting to see streams of 100s of birds flying along the mountain ridge. On the other hand once they got the idea of how to spot raptors they were mesmerized and used their keen eye sight to excellent advantage. We were able to see a decent variety of birds including Red Tail Hawks, Sharp Shinned Hawks, Merlin, Northern Goshawk and Black and Turkey Vultures. In addition while the children ate their lunch on the rocks they were entertained by a banded Black Capped Chickadee.

Camp Susquehannock and Episcopal Academy are most grateful to Nikon and the DVOC for helping us to introduce more children to the wonderful world of birding!