With the coming of spring comes the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the intrinsic beauties of nature.
At the Jamestown Audubon Center and Sanctuary, birds are an important and celebrated part of that beauty. In the weeks to come, the center will be offering numerous opportunities for visitors young and old to learn more about how to observe and appreciate our winged counterparts.
Beginning Wednesday, April 27, the Audubon will be the host of a series of four lectures on the art of birding. And beginning Saturday, April 30, the Audubon will begin offering weekly bird-banding demonstrations as well as on- and off-site bird-watching walks.
A goldfinch is seen at the Jamestown Audubon Center and Sanctuary during a bird-banding demonstration. The center is offering a series of birding lectures and walks geared toward adults in April and May.
Jennifer Schlick, the Audubon's program director, said the lecture series is a new endeavor of the center designed as part of its newly designed focus upon adult education. Weekly lectures will take place on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m., with the first focusing upon the basics of birding - including field guides, binoculars, spotting scopes and other paraphernalia - as well as where to find birds and what to expect through the seasons.
While the lectures will be geared toward adults, Ms. Schlick said, mature youth will not be turned away. Children 9 years of age or older who are interested in the subject matter and who are accompanied by a grown-up are welcome to join.
Additional lectures in the series will include Identification Tips and Tricks on May 4, Non-Visual Clues to Identification on May 11, and Identification Challenges on May 18. Ms. Schlick said that the lectures will have appeal to people ranging in experience with birding from none to a great deal.
''Birding by ear, for example, is something that some longtime birders still have a hard time with,'' she said. ''We're trying to offer something for everybody, and people don't have to take the whole series - they can pick and choose based on the topics they see.''
Dr. Scott Stoleson, research wildlife biologist for the Northern Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service, is the lead educator for the classes. Linda Ordiway, regional biologist for the Ruffed Grouse Society, Don Watts and Emily Thomas will also share classes. Ms. Schlick said that the opportunity to learn from ornthologists such as Stoleson is a special treat for anyone interested in birds.
''He just has such a wealth of knowledge, and people should really take advantage of his expertise,'' she said. ''Even advanced birders will find that they are going to learn a lot, just because of who the instructor is.''
Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars and field guides to classes. However, Ms. Schlick said, anyone who is interested in attending but does not yet own such items may want to wait until after attending the first session, during which the options of what is available on the market will be discussed.
Morning bird walks will also be held on four consecutive Saturdays beginning April 30. The first will be held at the Audubon itself; the second, on May 7, at Akeley Swamp; the third, on May 14, at Watts Flats and Heron Rookery; and the fourth, on May 21, at a to-be-determined location. Each of these walks will take place at the same time as bird-banding demonstrations at the center, during which youngsters and interested adults will be given an up-close look at how scientists gather information about birds.
A fifth bird walk has also been scheduled for the evening of Friday, May 13, at Hatch Run Conservation Area in North Warren. The sunset event is aimed to give participants the opportunity to see woodcocks taking part in their mating flights.
Ms. Schlick said the Audubon Center is hopeful that the adult-education opportunities provided by the birding lectures and walks will open up the center and its resources to even more visitors. Recent adult-education workshops such as do-it-yourself braided rugs and wreath-making classes have brought in big crowds, she said.
''During our braided rug workshop, there were several people who said this was the first time they'd ever been to Audubon, even though they'd lived in the area for years,'' Ms. Schlick said. ''So hopefully we'll draw a lot of new people down here.''
The Jamestown Audubon Society's three-pronged approach to adult education includes the do-it-yourself workshops, natural history courses such as the birding classes, and energy conservation courses. Ms. Schlick said the center is looking for more input from the community about what topics adults would be interested in learning about at the Audubon.
Registration for the birding series at the Audubon is $5 per session for members or $7 per session for non-members. Those signing up for the entire series of lectures and walks can do so for $35 if they are members, of $49 if they are non-members. For more information or to register, visit jasadultprograms.wordpress.com.
Other events around the area:
What: National Library Week: Games in the Library
When: 2 p.m. today
Where: Prendergast Library, 509 Cherry St.
Games will be held in the Children's Room for school-aged children. For more information, call 484-7135 ext. 225 or visit www.prendergastlibrary.org.
* 0.4 miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: Audubon Photography Club
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Audubon Center and Sanctuary, 1600 Riverside Road
Cost: Free to members; $5, non-members
The project time assignment will be spot color and the lesson will be camera bracketing controls. For more information, call 763-9492 or visit www.jasphotoclub.wordpress.com.
* 7.4 miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: Opening Reception for Ospreys and Bluebirds: Photographs by Michael L.?Smith
When: 5:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Roger Tory Peterson Institute, 311 Curtis St.
The exhibition - which features "The Mad Bluebird," one of the most famous bird photographs of all time - will be on display through June 12. For more information, call 665-2473 or visit ww.rtpi.org.
* 2.3 miles from downtown Jamestown.