A bird walk for non-birders: Audubon group hosts free Saturday event for ‘Beginners and Newcomers’

Walk, amble, stroll … fellow birders are welcoming newbies to the hobby this month at the Dungeness River Audubon Center.

Members of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society host “Beginners and Newcomers,” a bird walk set for Saturday, Dec. 22, that’s designed to give the non-birders of the community and their family members a chance to try out the activity in one of the region’s more pristine locales.

Set to start at 8:30 a.m. at the center at Railroad Bridge Park, 2151 West Hendrickson Road, the free walk is guided by Marie Grad, vice president of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society. Tour helpers will have binoculars available for newcomers to use.

The walk will feature birds commonly found at feeders in Sequim in the winter, winter bird feeding tips, and the opportunity to discuss other places in Sequim to see winter birds, organizers say.

“We’re trying to encourage folks who don’t know who all the birds are,” Judi White said.

The walk is along the Olympic Discovery Trail and is appropriate for those with limited mobility. White said attendees should feel okay about participating for as long as they like and not worry about leaving early.

At points during each of the four seasons, a “Beginners and Newcomers” series walk focuses on the new birds arriving in the area.

White, who serves Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society’s Field Trip Chair, said she became a birder in just the past year.

“I was looking for a hobby; I thought birding would be relaxing and healthy and interesting,” she said.

“(Birding is) an interesting hobby, a way to learn about our environment,” she said. “It’s a way to learn about safe places to walk and enjoy nature.”

White got connected with other bird enthusiasts at the Dungeness River Audubon Center.

“I was connected with the nicest group of people,” White said. “There’s a lot to learn about birds (and) they were very patient in teaching me.”

Now White volunteers by organizing field trips for the Audubon group.

“I thought that birders had a reputation for being a little strange,” she said. “I’ve been surprised by how pleasant and how interested in helping other birders they are. In particular members of Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society are really dedicated to teaching.

“It’s just a fun, low-key (group); you can be as involved as you want to be.”

The river center also hosts two-hour bird walks each Wednesday.

For more information, please see the olympicpeninsulaaudubon.org website under “Events.”