Despite snow on the ground, and less than warm temperatures, bird enthusiasts made their rendezvous with birds on February 7th 2009 at the Fanwood Nature Center. They came to learn how to create a backyard bird habitat and how to count for the Great Backyard Bird Count (Feb 13-16) sponsored by the National Audubon Society & Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Fanwood Environmental Commission welcomed over 90 children and adults to the workshop where they visited stations explaining how to attract birds to your backyards by providing the four essentials – food, water, shelter and nesting. Young participants enjoyed making a biodegradable pine cone bird feeder to take back for their own backyards. They also learned to identify birds through silhouette, posture, flight pattern, size, and shape and then played the Bird Id game. Last but not least, they learned to count birds for GBBC. But the fun event of the morning was the Scavenger Hunt with clues spread all over the Nature Center. Completed entries received a coupon to free Wendy’s fries or frosty.

We were happy to see participants came not only from Fanwood & Scotch Plains, but also from neighboring towns such as Plainfield, Westfield, Clark, and Cranford. Young visitors received a participation certificate and a bird patch. There were many interesting conversations over a cup of coffee or and doughnut as birding expert Holly Hoffman provided invaluable tips on identifying birds. As participants returned from their hike around the Nature Center, they reported sightings of many different species of birds, including Downy Woodpecker, Dark-eyed Junco, Male & Female Cardinal, Blue Jay, Mourning Dove, Crow, White-throated Sparrow and House Sparrow among many others.
The Fanwood Environmental Commission is very thankful to the many girl scout volunteers who handled the stations with a smile. We also wish to thank the following local businesses who donated to this event.

They are:

  • Wild Birds Unlimited (Rte. 22, Scotch Plains)
  • Parker Gardens (Terrill Rd, Scotch Plains)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts (Fanwood)
  • A&P (Fanwood)
  • Wendy’s (Plainfield)

We could not have held this event without their generous contributions.

This event was held to promote the Great Backyard Bird Count held Feb 13-16 this year. Visit the GBBC website to view results of this year’s count. Participants sent in more than 89,000 checklists tallying over 11 million birds of 609 species. Last year, as a result of counts, scientists & birders discovered that many bird species had already started their spring migrations in February—earlier than in decades past. Your counts helps to build a long-term record of where people are finding birds and how many birds there are.