The Florida Young Birders Club has been very busy this spring. We had monthly outings, a combined outing with the other chapters around the state in Gainesville. We also had a successful first Global Big Day event.
We continue to average between 6 - 8 kids at the monthly outings. The most recent one was to Ft. DeSoto County Park to look at shorebirds. The kids got great looks at the newly hatched American Oystercatchers, Reddish Egrets and a variety of shorebirds. The other highlight was them getting to see all 5 species of plover out on Outback Key.
On Saturday, April 22, the club had its second combined outing, at Sweetwater Wetlands in Gainesville. The young birders were guided around the preserve by several members of the UF Environmental Club. Kathy Rigling, Orange Audubon, coordinated the logistics and was with the group. Kids from all three chapters attended the outing.
The other bit of news is that the club hosted a state-wide, Florida Global Big Day for kids all over the state! We had 13 kids participate from Melbourne, Ocala, Lakeland, Orlando and Jacksonville areas. The young birders submitted checklists from that day and were entered into a drawing for prizes. Two of the kids won a pair of new binoculars from Vortex Optics during the on-line, zoom social and raffle.
Tampa Audubon and Clearwater Audubon also donated prizes for the kids. This was the idea/initiative of Charles Law, who is a teen birder and member of the FYBC advisory panel. He lives in Lakeland/Satellite Beach. We are considering doing it twice a year (fall/spring). We hope that it will continue to increase in popularity.
Our last event of the year was a visit to the special “Etched Feathers” exhibit at the Tampa History Center. The kids really enjoyed seeing the art and exploring the rest of the museum. Activities for the club will resume in the fall, so stay tuned to the FYBC Facebook page.
By Jim McGinity, Florida Young Birders Club