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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 22, 2017

Young Birders Club spot 38 eagles during outing

Feb 27, 2013
Courtesy of: DIANE PORTER Autumn Rizer, with Drake Rippey looking on, uses a spotting scope to watch an eagle on its nest.

The Jefferson County Young Birders Club took a group of youth down to Van Buren County Feb. 10 to watch eagles along the Des Moines River.

“The kids were totally absorbed being outside watching the eagles – no ‘mommy I’m bored’ on this outing,” said Trish Fenton, mom to 8-year-old club member Lily.

Youth under 11 years of age are required to be accompanied by an adult so both Trish Fenton and her husband Peter went along on the birding trip and found it to be a great outing for the whole family.

The group counted 38 eagles along Eagle Drive from Douds down to Austin Park.

“I liked seeing the eagle sitting in the nest and swooping down in the river to catch fish.” said Lily Fenton.

Most kids agreed with Lily that seeing an eagle on its nest was their favorite part of the day.

Adrian Scotton was intrigued with how big the nest was.

“He thinks it could be as big as our couch,” said his mom Anna Scotton.

Dorae Rippey, whose sons Dalton, age 12, and Drake, age 10, have been at both young birder events this year said, “They are both loving this club.”

The Jefferson County Young Birders Club is open to bird lovers age 8 to 18 and is not limited to youth of Jefferson County.

“We’d love to have kids throughout southeast Iowa join us,” said Jefferson County Naturalist Therese Cummiskey.

She and Diane Porter are working together to plan monthly birding activities: In March there will be a visit to a wetland; in April, there will be an evening owl-calling program.

“I would recommend the young birders club to any parents and kids looking for a fun time in nature,” said Trish Fenton.

Anna Scotton agreed.

“I feel really lucky that my boys are able to have such a fun thing for them to do. and they don’t even realize how much learning is happening,” Scotton said. “Really, it’s pretty magical watching their faces light up when they see a new bird or are able to actually identify it. They’ll never forget the first time they saw a live eagle in its nest.”

Porter, whose website business www.birdwatching.com, is a supporter of the program said, “I love to be part of this because I know these kids will have a great chance of carrying a love of nature with them through their whole lives. And bird watching is a lifetime ticket to the theater of nature.”

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