Spring migration is heading our way! May is the perfect time to get out and start birding with kids. This time of year brings a wide variety of colorful songbirds called neotropical migrants to our area. These include warblers, tanagers, vireos and other birds that visit Rhode Island in the summer and head south for the winter.
For a beginner (young or old), this season can be overwhelming with the wide variety of birds that may be found. But with a helpful Audubon expert, a pair of binoculars, and a field guide, novices can become enthusiastic birders in no time. And with much of the new leaf growth on trees still in bud form, birds are easier to spot.
The Audubon Society of Rhode Island will be offering FREE birding walks every day of the month in May. “Not only will you get help identifying these beautiful creatures, but it’s also a great way to meet other folks that share the same interests,” says Laura Carberry, Audubon naturalist and expert birder.Â “It’s a wonderful hobby for all ages. All levels are welcome, from beginners to birding experts. Come join the fun!”
Family-friendly May birding programs offered by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island are listed below.
Details and fees for these programs are noted. Register online at www.asri.org.
Birds and Breakfast at Caratunk (Ages: 5+)
May 17, 2014; 8:00 — 11:30 pm
What better way to celebrate the arrival of neo-tropical migrants than with a morning bird walk and breakfast atÂ Caratunk? This beautiful wildlife refuge offersÂ many habitats, attracting aÂ wide varietyÂ of birds. Walks for all levels and ages are offered. Bring the whole family and enjoy bird-banding demonstrations, meet one of Audubon’s live raptors, and take a familyÂ bird walk. There will be crafts and games for the kids. Breakfast includes a delicious array of muffins, quick breads, fruit, yogurt, pancakes, juice and coffee. Come join the fun! Breakfast seatings are available at 8:00, 9:00, and 10:00 am.
Caratunk Wildlife Refuge, 301 Brown Avenue, Seekonk, MA
Program Fee: $12/member adult, $6/member child; $18 non-member adults/$9 non-member child
Start Birding with the Kids! (Ages: 6+)
May 3, 2014 from 10:00-11:30 am
The month of May is the perfect time to get outdoors and try the largest growing hobby in the country – birding. Grab some binoculars, your favorite field guide, and let’s go look for some common birds to get you started. We’ll explore the wildlife refuge, learn about spotting birds, how to identify them, and how to use optics. A great class for families with children ages 6 and up. Dress for the weather and wear sturdy, closed toe shoes.
Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge, 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield, RI
Program Fee: $8/member adult/child pair, $4/each additional member; $12/non-member adult/child pair; $6/each additional non-member
Great Swamp Walk (Ages: All)
May 4, 2014; 2:30-5:00 pm
Join Kimball Naturalist Bob Kenney for a springtime walk into the Great Swamp Management Area. Because of the very high diversity of habitats, Great Swamp supports a large variety of both resident and migrant birds. It has been an excellent site for finding several rarities over the years. Amphibians and reptiles are also awake after a long winter nap and will be active. We’ll be going in late afternoon because the management area is open for turkey hunting until 1:00 PM.
Great Swamp Management Area, 295 Great Neck Road, South Kingstown, RI
Fee: $8/member adult, $4/member child; $12/non-member adult, $6/non-member child
Birds (and Bunnies) for Beginners (Ages: 5+)
May 8, 15, 2014; 8:00-10:30 am
Beginning birders take notice. Audubon is engaged in habitat restoration projects to support the rare New England cottontail rabbit as well as many birds that love the same areas. Join Senior Director of Conservation Scott Ruhren on a search for woodland birds as well as salt marsh and salt pond specialists. Your trip leader, admittedly an intermediate birder, promises that this will be a learning experience for everyone. We will be walking on uneven terrain with occasional wet spots. Knee boots are best but other waterproof shoes will be fine. Bring binoculars and a bird guide if you have them.
Lathrop Wildlife Refuge, Route 1A, Westerly, RI
Spring Birding in the City (Ages: 8+)
May 10, 2014; 10:00 am-1:00 pm
Discover birding habitats along the Woonasquatucket River within the city limits of Providence! Surprising natural beauty lies along the bike path, come discover it on this winding walk. The walk is held to honor the late Paul McElroy, who as in inner-city child took nature walks with former Audubon Executive Director Roland Clement. As an adult, Paul was an avid supporter of both the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council and Audubon. Wear sturdy shoes for on-path walking. Registration is required and fee of $10 will be collected at the beginning of the program.
Riverside Park, 50 Aleppo Street, Providence, RI. Participants may meet the Audubon van at the entrance to Swan Point Cemetery (Blackstone Boulevard, Providence) and ride to the program, or meet directly at Riverside Park.
Program Fee: $10/person
Spring Birding Van Trip (Ages: 16+)
May 18, 2014; 7:00-4:00 pm
Climb aboard the Audubon van and explore the many birding hot spots of Rhode Island during this exciting time of the year. Warblers, vireos and other spring beauties will make for an unforgettable trip. Visit many favorite birding spots, as well as some lesser-known locations. Be sure to pack a lunch and bring your binoculars.
Departs from Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge, 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield, RI;
Program Fee: $45/member, $55/non-member
Bird Banding (Ages: 6+)
May 25, June 22, July 13, August 17, 2014; 9:15-11:15 am
Join Audubon and witness bird banding, where experts capture, band, measure and release songbirds in order to record their movements. Birds will be gently removed from tall “mist nets” set in the shrubby habitats on the grounds of the Environmental Education Center. The techniques of identifying, measuring, weighing, and banding the birds will be demonstrated before they are released. The migratory habits and life history of each captured species will be discussed. Participants are encouraged to bring a camera and binoculars. Programs are limited to 15 participants, so please register early.
Audubon Environmental Education Center, 1401 Hope Street, Bristol, RI
Program fee: $6/member adult, $4/member-child;Â $8/non-member adult, $6/non-member child