Even with recent snowstorms, birder Ed Thelen isn’t worried about there being birds in the area during the first Birding on the Green event 7 a.m. Monday, May 7.
“I think birds migrate on the photo period, so I think it will be the same as usual,” he said. “We get a good diversity of birds. Usually, we have 50 species of birds. You’re catching some of the migrating warblers, the fly-catchers, the swallows.”
Thelen will lead the May Birding on the Green program with Dickinson County Conservation Board naturalists. Meet at the Brooks National Golf Club in Okoboji and hop on a golf cart to rack up avian species at the Audubon-certified course.
“It’s just nice being out, and I tell you what — I’d just love to see some green grass,” Thelen said.
Birding on the Green will be held May 7, June 4, July 9, Aug. 6 and Sept. 10 and is open to all ages. Thelen and local birder Lee Schoenewe will help Dickinson County naturalists and program-goers to identify birds by sight and sound, and a variety of species have been seen in past years.
Environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman said she loves seeing blue and green herons and has also been excited to see the rare eastern wood pewee, red-eyed vireo and also a red-tailed hawk eating prey in past years.
“We do Birding on the Green in partnership with Brooks Golf Course to help them keep their Audubon certification and to get the community out and trying a different hobby and to enjoy the birds we have in the community,” Kuhlman said.
In order to have an Audubon certification, Brooks Golf Club must keep an active bird inventory, so the conservation board provides course management with this inventory in exchange for using the course for the programs each summer.
“What I like about it is just being able to get out, hop in a cart, go around and we stop at the same spots each time, and you get a trend about what you see,” Thelen said. “We’ve been doing this at least 15 years.”
Between 40-60 species are tallied at each Birding on the Green program. Binoculars are provided or people are welcome to bring their own. Each program is free and lasts approximately two hours.
“I enjoy the people and their enthusiasm for birding and strolling around the golf course in golf carts,” Kuhlman said. “I also like to know the species counts.”
Whether you’re new to birding and want some help from professionals checking species off your list or whether you’re an avid birder and want to enjoy monthly gatherings with like-minded individuals, Birding on the Green is a great opportunity.
For more information on Birding on the Green or other free Dickinson County Conservation Board programming, call 712-336-6352 or visit our environmental education page. You can also keep up on the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.