The Block Island Times

Through nature's eyes: Get up close with a bird

By Tom Rosenzweig | Aug 09, 2012

Ocean View Foundation intern Tom Rosenzweig keeps us up to date with what’s happening at the foundation.

Birds are really special little creatures. Block Island is home to one of the most diverse populations of birds in the United States. Catbirds, finches, swallows, sparrows, hummingbirds and kinglets — Block Island has them all. And at the Ocean View Foundation’s Bird Banding program, you can see them up close.

Kim Gaffett, the director of OVF, is a great presenter. She is able to get an audience of all ages enticed and captivated by birds of all colors and sizes. Some birds are smarter than others or have better eyesight, and they are often able to avoid the nets, but we usually get at least five or six species, plenty for a successful program.

Catbirds and song sparrows are among the most prevalent species on the island and at 8 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, when the bird banding takes place, there are lots of both of them. But whatever the species, children and adults alike are always spellbound when they are able to stroke or hold the gentle beings in their hands.

Bird banding is always fun to do twice just to see the birds again. And you never know what will fly into the nets the next time you come — maybe a ruby-throated hummingbird or a golden-crowned kinglet. You just never know what surprises await.

It is a good idea to bring a jacket to the program as it is early in the morning and can get quite chilly at the pavilion.

Come; it’s a marvellous way to begin the day.


Saturday’s Scavenger Hunt/Geocaching is an activity in its baby steps. Barely a few weeks old, the event is run with the Block Island Maritime Institute (BIMI) and involves a beach walk to find and scavenge for items on the informally put-together list.

The hour long event is, again, run by Kim, and one thing that’s on the list to find is something that stumps her knowledge of nature. This task is not easily achieved, so think of it as your weekend challenge if you have a spare Saturday morning.

A boat ride is also included on the way out and at the end of the activity. Whether you are a keen seafarer or a leisure lover, you’ll enjoy this morning. If you are interested, meet at BIMI at Smuggler’s Cove on Ocean Avenue in New Harbor — if you are new to the island, that’s also the site of Payne’s Killer Doughnuts and Del’s Frozen Lemonade.


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