Im-PECK-able timing: Weekday Bird-Walks return t

by Ben Slomowitz

On our bird-walk at Tyler Arboretum, we saw a tree swallow like the one perching on this metal pole. | Photo courtesy of Kent Kobersteen of National Geographic.

Spring is in the air, and so are pastimes synonymous with the season. Many people like to go birdwatching as one of the fun activities during the spring, and the Tyler Arboretum in Media, Pa., is no exception.

The arboretum hosts the “Weekday Bird-Walks” event available to all members and visitors every Wednesday morning from 8 to 10 a.m. The reason for the early hours is because birds are much more lively during that time.

The event, which is free for members and $15 for non-members, is lovely from start to finish as you indulge in the beautiful sights of the forest, the peaceful sounds of birds chirping, and the attractive smells of gorgeous flora, all of which are staples of the historic conservatory.

Each experience with the bird-walks is unique. More than 200 different birds fly to the Tyler Arboretum every year, 20 of which are easy to spot, including a woodpecker, a chipping sparrow, a flicker, and much more.

Geese flying in classic V formation were spotted during a recent bird-walk at Tyler Arboretum. | Courtesy of Ben Mieremet, NOAA Photo Library.

You will traverse through 650 acres of precious land (150 acres within the fences and 500 outside) as you and your group search every square inch for different birds with the help of one of two guides.

The person who led our bird-walk was Sue “Suzie” Lucas, who runs many of the Tyler Arboretum birdwatching events. Another guide that gives visitors tours is her co-leader, Sarah Boucas-Nato, from Brazil.

Today, our group, consisting of me, Suzie, and five other people, all seniors, started our walk through the Cistern Gardens. 

We saw a woodpecker on our way to the pond near the branch way to the Gardening Education Building. I tried to take a picture of it, but it flew away. 

I did, however, manage to get a picture of a robin hopping towards the building.

Our group then entered the Rocky Run Trail through the gates. 

Walking down the beautiful forest, we heard the memorable trill of and saw a chipping sparrow fluttering through the tall trees.

We then climbed up a highly steep hill leading to an open area while still within the gates of the trail. Looking up as we left the forest, I saw and took a picture of seven Canadian geese flying in their V-formation in front of a partly cloudy sky.

Wandering around the open area, our group noticed a single eastern bluebird constantly flying over us. I tried to get a picture of it, but it was flying too fast.

We saw another beautiful bluebird perched on a tall tree far away. I, unfortunately, didn’t bring binoculars with me, nor did I borrow someone else’s, but I was able to see where it was sitting.

Walking down to the exit gate of the Minshall Trail (not the Rocky Run Trail), our group noticed the first bluebird we saw earlier trying to get into the birdhouse, unbeknownst that another bird would be living in it. A tree swallow residing in the house wasn’t too happy about the bluebird invading its territory, so the swallow went after it.

Two other tree swallows perched by each other and guarded the gates as we left the trail. I couldn’t help but get a picture of it.

Robins are a common sighting during Tyler Arboretum’s Weekday Bird-Walks event. (NPS/Gordon Dietzman)

I slowly tiptoed my way toward the swallows so that I got close but did so without scaring them away and took the picture. It worked brilliantly, and they didn’t do anything.

As we made our way back to the Cistern Garden, our group noticed three turkey vultures encircling over something, but it was too far away to tell what they found. We also saw a chickadee perched on a tree branch.

Once we walked to the exit of the conservatory, before bidding our farewells, I asked Suzie if the Tyler Arboretum had the Weekday Bird-Walks last year. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any because of the pandemic, leaving visitors to their own devices.

If you go on a bird-walk, sunscreen and bug spray are recommended. You may also want to bring binoculars because some birds may be difficult to find with the naked eye.

The Tyler Arboretum has merchandise available at the Visitor Center Shop, featuring hats, clothes, water bottles, and nature books, including birds, for all ages and many more. They also sell snacks and drinks to keep visitors moving, which is a must if you don’t bring any with you.

If you want to learn more about birds, you’ll enjoy every moment of the “Weekday Bird-Walks” program when you flock to the Tyler Arboretum in Media, Pa.  

Contact Ben Slomowitz at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

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