I teach children about owl pellets

Birding in the Mountain Farm Museum

“In order to see the birds it is necessary to become part of the silence”
– Robert Lynd

Just behind the Oconoluftee Visitors Center, we find ourselves with the Mountain Farm Museum, a representation of an 18th century settlers mountain farm. I have to say that although its main goal is to give visitors a feeling of how it would have been to live there, it is also a great place to bird in the morning. Birds will post themselves in the roofs or fences around the farm waiting for insects to eat or singing for their breeding activity. As they are busy with their bird activities, I cannot resist myself in grabbing a pair of binoculars and admire them as close as I can. It took me a while to make a list of all the birds that commonly visit our birds in the morning and afternoons, but after I was done, I continued to print a list with their names and pictures for my program. My idea was that I would set up a bird station in the beginning of the mountain farm and as visitors entered, I would greet them with binoculars and invite them to bird with me. After we were done, I would discuss with them what birds they saw, their names, and any fun facts I know about them. Just to help me and the visitors, I printed pictures of birds I had seen visiting the farm and had their names written below the images. 

A set up of the birding station in the Mountain Farm Museum

This is my birding station at the Mountain Farm Museum

Here is the list of the birds I’d seen:

  1. Red-eyed Vireo
  2. Eastern Bluebird
  3. Carolina Wren
  4. Tree Swallow
  5. Barn Swallow
  6. Northern Cardinal
  7. Northern Flicker
  8. Red-winged Blackbird
  9. Broad-winged Hawk
  10. Eastern Phoebe
  11. Song Sparrow
  12. Chipping Sparrow 

I teach children about owl pellets

Some kids are disgusted by owl pellets, others find it amazing

Most people did not see any birds; I don’t blame them — binoculars can be hard to use, especially if its your first time using them. Nonetheless, kids enjoy using them even if it’s to view far away rocks or tress. I noticed that parents like to use them more than the kids. I guess it’s because on the inside most of us always wanted a binocular growing up. Some kids were lucky and were able to see a Red-bellied Woodpecker eating apples, a woodpecker species I had never seen before and up close. All in all, it was a fun morning for the visitors and myself, I didn’t let the fun end there though, after that I went to Deep Creek and completed a fishing program. 

A picture of a Northern Flicker feeding on apples

The first time I’ve seen a Red-bellied Woodpecker

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