Wing Tips: Bird watching offers fun for all ages – messenger-inquirer


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Mike Brown, of Lewisport, is pictured with a Bluebird nest at his home near Lewisport. Brown is a member of the Daviess County Chapter of the Audubon Society.
Two purple martins are pictured at the home of Daviess County Chapter of the Audubon Society member Mike Brown. Brown is an avid bird-watcher and wildlife photographer.
A male eastern bluebird

Mike Brown, of Lewisport, is pictured with a Bluebird nest at his home near Lewisport. Brown is a member of the Daviess County Chapter of the Audubon Society.
Two purple martins are pictured at the home of Daviess County Chapter of the Audubon Society member Mike Brown. Brown is an avid bird-watcher and wildlife photographer.
A male eastern bluebird
Whether it is being done from the comfort of home, a community park, or deep in the woods, bird watching is a hobby that can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels.
Known as “birding” amongst enthusiasts, the Daviess County Chapter of the Audubon Society provides an avenue for birders to interact and share their knowledge with each other.
Local resident Judy Adams said she first became involved with the Audubon Society about the time she retired in 2008, but her interest in birds goes back several years before that.
“When we lived in Maine, we always kept a backyard bird list, but I had never really gotten into it with other people,” she said. “This is a way to learn from others and share knowledge and experiences and just have fun.”
Adams said she recommends those just starting out with bird watching invest in a good birding book and a decent pair of binoculars.
“I started with this little pair of contact binoculars and it wasn’t before going to Costa Rica that I decided I needed a more professional birding look,” Adams said with a laugh.
For those looking to incorporate modern technology, Adams said there are now smartphone apps to help birders when they are out on the trail, such as the Audubon Birds app and the Merlin app.
“They are both excellent apps where you can look up pictures of the birds; you can look at the range maps so you know whether or not what you think you’re seeing is something that is seen in this area,” she said.
Mike Brown of Lewisport has built a bird sanctuary of sorts in his backyard, welcoming dozens of species, all viewable through a sliding glass door in his home.
Brown said he first became interested in birds as a child, when his mom would play a game with him and his siblings on cold and or rainy days where they would try to identify what birds were coming to their feeders.
“We thought it was cool,” he said. “That is what started it.”
His interest further developed as a teenager, a time when some of his peers did not quite understand how he could possibly have an interest in bird watching and the Audubon Society.
“We used to get made fun of because we were these young teenage boys and they would say, you guys shouldn’t be liking birds,” he said.
These days Brown combines his love of bird watching with a passion for wildlife photography.
“I liken it to hunting without a gun,” Brown said. “It takes a whole lot more skill, now that I am a wildlife photographer, to take a picture of a bird than it does to shoot one.”
Brown is quick to credit the late Burt Powell and Joe Ford with taking him under their wings and teaching him the ins and outs of birding when he was a teenager — a knowledge he now tries to pass on to the next generation of birders.
Laverne Bush, who is also a member of the Daviess County Chapter of the Audubon Society, said her love of bird watching goes back more than 50 years to when she was a young mother living in northwest Oklahoma.
It was the greyest dreariest, day in northwest Oklahoma and I looked out the window and I saw a couple of birds and I couldn’t figure out what they were,” Bush said. “So I kept checking and I could see them, and they were mountain bluebirds. They were just a beautiful, brilliant blue.”
Bush said the birds that can be found in western Kentucky are pretty different than what she used to see in Oklahoma with its wide open plains, flat-topped mesas and canyons.
“The dirt is red and if you have ever seen a Napa bluebird against a snow covered hillside, it is just striking,” she said.
Adams said those living in the area who would like to get involved in the birding community, are welcome to attend the monthly meetings of the Daviess County Chapter of the Audubon Society, which are the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History.
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