On Friday, September 24th, the Chicago Ornithological Society held a morning “Intro to Birding” program at Cantata Adult Life Services in Brookfield. A total of twenty participants came out to spend a warm fall morning learning about and observing birds on their campus. Program participants received a handout with common birds of the area as well as key clues used to identify birds, which were utilized to determine the birds seen around the courtyard. While the species count was relatively low, the number of birds was high, giving participants plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with their binoculars (see photo).
Perhaps more exciting than the bird sightings themselves were the stories that were brought up from the group. The “Common Birds” handout prompted participants to think about their recent bird encounters: the Blue Jay that calls outside of their window, the Canada Geese that fly over their campus to the nearby zoo, and the Red-Tailed Hawk that resides on their campus. The program also brought up memories of bird encounters with uncommon species that participants didn’t know, such as the “very large” woodpecker seen at a participant’s son’s feeder, which was later determined to be a Pileated Woodpecker.
Conversations about a bird program at Cantata came about when Cheryle Hurtado (Director of Client Hospitality) reached out to COS in the spring of 2020. She imagined a program that could be a multi-sensory experience for residents. Birdwatching got residents outdoors, it involved the use of binoculars which made it a hands-on experience, and it was an opportunity to socialize and get to know their neighbors. Participants have even put the name of the resident Red-Tailed Hawk to a vote! Overall, the program was a success and COS looks forward to a continued relationship with Cantata.