Eyes on the skies: Bird watchers take to Yowell Meadow Park – Inside NoVA


Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. Low 42F. Winds light and variable..
Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. Low 42F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: October 28, 2022 @ 9:56 pm
Bird watching hobbyists – called birders, meet up for the Walking, Wings and Wednesdays, as they are called on Facebook, have been meeting at 9 a.m. at Yowell Meadow Park for an hour of exercise as well as learning since September.

Bird watching hobbyists – called birders, meet up for the Walking, Wings and Wednesdays, as they are called on Facebook, have been meeting at 9 a.m. at Yowell Meadow Park for an hour of exercise as well as learning since September.
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On quiet Wednesday mornings, a small group of bird enthusiasts grab their binoculars. 
“We just walk and identify birds,” said Susan Haynes, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Culpeper. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Bird watching hobbyists – called birders, meet up for the Walking, Wings and Wednesdays, as they are called on Facebook, have been meeting at 9 a.m. at Yowell Meadow Park for an hour of exercise as well as learning since September.
While walking, attendees point various wildlife out to one another who then go on to observe the bird – or otherwise – in its natural habitat. Further research into the bird includes its diet and other facets of its life.
“It’s a way for me to learn, but also to learn from each other,” Haynes said.
Haynes also makes sure to have pockets full of peanuts for those looking to reserve some snacks for the forthcoming winter months.
For those who would like to attend, Haynes invited experienced birders or curious about the hobby. It is free to attend.
“I feel like Yowell has some amazing opportunities to see birds because there’s a combination of water and trees and just, in general, wildlife,” Haynes said.
Some of the birds they’ve seen include blue heron, crows, vultures, cardinals, blue jays, blackbirds, starlings and chickadees.
Beyond learning about the birds they see on walks, Haynes also makes it a point to inform the birders about the millions of birds that die every year.
“We’re losing birds like crazy and there’s lots of reasons,” she said.
Human-related causes include lot clearing for buildings and pesticides. 
“There’s lots of things we can do to coexist with birds to enjoy their beauty, to enjoy their habitats, let them live their lives, but at the same time, prevent their demise,” she said.
Haynes opened Wild Birds Unlimited, a franchise birding hobby store, in September.
“We love birds,” she said. “We just want to share the bird watching hobby with people and get people into it.”
She wants to bring people and nature together, Haynes continued.
Despite having a bird feeder out on occasion, Haynes became more interested in bird watching during the height of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, which kept people from socializing with one another. 
“It was a way of just admiring their beauty, admiring their habits,” she said.
 On Nov. 6, Haynes is hosting Earthquest – Wildlife Education Center at Wild Birds Unlimited from 11-5 p.m. They will be bringing owls, falcons, hawks, vultures and a special bird. Earthquest will be bringing an Andean Condor, which is the largest flying bird in the world after combining both measurements of weight and wingspan.
maria@culpepertimes.com
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Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. Low 42F. Winds light and variable.
Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. Low 42F. Winds light and variable.
Partly cloudy skies. High 63F. Winds light and variable.
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