'Birding 101' with Audubon Rockies and a passionate group of bird enthusiasts

(Casper, Wyo.) -"I could not do it without them, they are so helpful and great about taking things off the plate for me," commented Zach Hutchinson Audubon Community Naturalist at Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park this morning.

Hutchinson, employed by the Audubon Rockies, is working to track and MAP the birds at the park and has recruited some long time, 'birdists' to help him out.

"It is so great to have this team to assist me and our efforts. We have about twenty-five dedicated volunteers who show up early to help us net the birds and then record the data and then release them. I really could not do it with out them," said Hutchinson.

"We just love birds, " said long time birder Ann Hines. "It is just so exciting, we open the bag and go to work!"

Hines has been studying Wyoming birds for forty-five years and she still loves it.

She brought out her 'Bird Bible' The Sibley Guide to Birds and showed off her list of birds.

"Every bird I have witnessed, I check it off in the book. Sibley is the guru of birds," said Hines.

In her forty years of birding, she has documented three hundred-twenty-five different birds, and she saw two hundred-sixty-eight of them in one year!

"We are not bird watchers remember, we are birdist, and we love to study them!"

With the help from Hines and his other enthusiastic staff, the team nets, bands, records the age, sex and health of the bird and then releases it, unscathed.

While we at Oil City were getting schooled on the program,the young volunteers brought a rare, Yellow Rump Warbler to the table to the delight of Hines, a perfect opportunity for Hutchinson to show us the ropes.

"First we inspect the bird, then add the band, which weighs less than a gram and does not affect the bird. Then we inspect the feathers, the tail, check it's health and weight and inspect its organs to see if it has reproduced this year, record it all and then let them fly."

Hutchinson gave Oil City Community Maven Clayton Tanner a chance to let the juvenile Warbler fly free!

To learn more about the project or the Audubon Rockies click the link.

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