Students at Seattle Academy are enthusiastic about their favorite subjects. Some care about community service, while others care about writing. This year a group of students who are passionate about birds started the Bird Club.
The Bird Club is headed by teacher Adam MacDonald and student leaders Will Fleming ’16, Chance Johnson ’16, and Elaine Stachowiak ’16. The group meets on Tuesdays to learn about different types of birds, listen to bird calls, and discuss why Seattle Academy never represents the female cardinal, which looks so much cooler than the male one. In addition to these weekly conversations, the Bird Club occasionally hosts birdwatching trips. The most recent of these ventures occurred a few weeks ago, on May 17.
The birdwatching started very early that Sunday morning at about 7:50. Will, Elaine, Alex Jordan ’16, and I all met up with Adam in a parking lot by the Union Bay Natural Area. Alex left shortly after this meeting to go participate in a race that was simultaneously occurring, while the rest of us set out onto the trails to find some birds.
Shortly after finding the trail, which was surprisingly difficult, Adam pointed out the first bird. There was a robin hiding out in one of the bushes lining the sides of the path. Elaine put the bird onto a list, and we continued along on our hike. On that first stretch, our group was able to identify and record several birds, including an Anna’s hummingbird, a song sparrow, some herons, and a spotted towhee.
Eventually, we turned down a different path that took us towards the water. We saw some more birds out in this direction, such as a few bushtits, an American goldfinch, and a red-winged blackbird, and we also saw other birdwatchers wandering the trails. Adam initiated a conversation with a couple of the people, and we met birdwatchers Doug and Allen. Allen even tried to recruit us for a birding program that he is a part of.
As the morning progressed, fewer birds were out in the open, so our group decided to head for the parking lot. On the way back, we took a short break by a pond and watched some ducks swim in the water. We then made a quick stop by a swampy area that is apparently a good birdwatching spot, but unfortunately it was closed. Finally, we made it back to the parking lot we started at and all went our separate ways.
Birdwatching events like these happen only a couple times a year. On these trips, students in the Bird Club use the knowledge they have learned in past meetings to recognize birds or to just enjoy looking at the different species out in the wild. These trips provide fun way to get out into the community and meet other people. If you are interested in joining one of these trips next year, be sure to sign up for the Bird Club. And bring your own binoculars.